To die, to sleep, to sleep perchance to dream ...
The sleep fanatics of the scientific world tell us that sleeplessness is a very bad thing and leads to all manner of dysfunction. Yet, considering the aforementioned – Mrs. T. maintained she only got about 3 hours a night – and their accomplishments, I sometimes have to wonder just how important it really is. I also think that if we obsess about its importance, we end up spending further disrupted nights due to worrying about it.
“Oh no – I can’t sleep. I’m going to die!”
“Well, if you’re dead, then you’ll really sleep, me bucko.”
Anyway, I don’t normally suffer from insomnia. Well, I do, of a sort. I awaken early, and if I am very stressed, then I awaken very, very early, like around 3 a.m.-ish. That’s not nice. There isn’t much to do at 3. I mean, I could tap my wife on the shoulder but, affectionate soul that she is, such an invitation at such a time would be unwelcome, especially if she has to get up and go to work.
Last night I had the other, and more common type of insomnia. The beginning-of-the-night sort. As I say, more common for most, but relatively rare for me. It was not an agreeable night.
First my nose got stuffed up, and then I began to sneeze. Welcome to springtime allergy season, folks. Then I had to pee. Then I told myself I mustn’t look at the clock because that would stress me once I saw what time it was. Then I just lay there and ‘thought’. Thinking is a bad thing if insomnia has visited. Then I told myself again not to look at the clock. And then I did. And that was stupid. And then I had to pee again. Or, thought I did. And that thought wouldn’t go out of my mind.
Finally, for fear of disrupting the sleep of the memsahib, I went to the other room. I didn’t do much better there. I felt like the folks in that wonderful Hopper painting, Nighthawks (shown above). I thought, I'm doing little of worth here, so I think I'd like to join those folks. I could sit next to the babe in the red dress because she's looking bored by suit-guy's conversation. Or, I could join other suit-guy who is sitting on his own. Why are they in suits at 3 a.m.?
Normally, I have some techniques to control any possible insomnia onset. I drink no coffee after 6 p.m. When I go to bed I get comfortable and I read. I read a book that isn’t entirely exciting. If it is too exciting, I get adrenalin pumped and that is counterproductive. I read until I start to nod, and then I douse the light. Sleep comes quickly – normally, that is. If it doesn’t come quickly, I have a sort of self-hypnosis technique that I have mastered and that is the ability to make my mind go completely blank. That means, no meanderings about past or present injustices, the state of the world, scummy politicians, or sexual fantasies. The latter are especially disruptive. No, I think exclusively about ‘nothing’ and it almost always works. Last night it didn’t. At 2 a.m. I still felt more wide-awake than I had at noon. I thought of giving Lady Thatcher a call, since she’d probably be up, but I refrained.
At some point Morpheus prevailed and I obviously had nodded out. Having gone back to the bedroom at one point, the clock now read 5:25. I could have slept for days at 5:25. Fat lot of good that did me.
Do you suffer from insomnia? How do you thwart it?
Labels: Scourge of sleeplessness