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Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I can't sleep. An infliction that strikes me from time to time. Not complete insomnia (which, by the way, is an affliction that few really suffer from: most get some sleep), but I am having trouble falling asleep. Usually I have this issue when I have too much on my mind, but I'm on break from classes right now and am actually enjoying the bliss of peace of mind; however, as I was trying to get to sleep my mind was strangely focused on things of little or trivial importance (for instance, I started to panick about what to make for dinner tomorrow night -- I wanted to make something out of the leftover ham, maybe a soup, but I couldn't think of a soup recipe for ham off the top of my head) and then my mind becomes so fixated on that issue that I have to get out of bed to investigate (thus, I got up to flip through cookbooks: you'll be relieved to know that I found a suitable recipe that doesn't require a trip to the store).

Sleep is a cherished thing for me, and when I can't easily drift off, it bothers me; plus, it interrupts the whole next day as well because I'll invariably sleep later than usual and the whole process will begin like a sickening merry-go-round. So, after dealing with the recipe business I decided to hop online and check out sleep remedies. Mostly I found the usual: warm bath, cup of warm milk (thought has always repulsed me), cup of decaf tea, deep breathing, etc. But interestingly enough, I found some other strange ideas: sleep with your head facing north (as if! I never know what direction I'm pointed even when I'm not lying down), toe wiggling, belly rubbing, and something called "quiet ears" -- a meditation practice that requires you to focus on a remembered sound.

But along with the advice (sage and otherwise), I learned some more about sleep. I have long known, along with everyone else, that sleep is essential to good health and usually I feel as though that is the one area in which I exceed all standards of good practice. And I also knew that sleep is aided by regular exercise (not a problem -- went to the yoga class, sanded the shit out of the walls of the office), a cooler room, a firm bed, and an avoidance of caffeine. But I did learn that my favorite sleeping position, on my stomach, is the worst for you. It compresses your organs and causes back pain (but is oh so comfy for me). And I also learned that counting sheep really can help you get to sleep.

However much info I gleaned, my own methods seem to be kicking in now. When I can't sleep, I usually get up if it's been too long (recommended action: if you've been lying there for more than 30 minutes, you should get up), have a snack, and read or play around watching TV, or playing on the computer. Once the snacks set in and I have exhausted my brain with some mental stretching, I usually feel sleepy, as I do now.

Perhaps I will try to wake myself early tomorrow so I don't feel like this tomorrow night, but until then I'll just enjoy the incoming Z's.

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