Tuesday, October 23, 2018


As a poor sleeper, having gone off caffeine, tried over-the-counter remedies and doctors' prescriptions, melatonin, homeopathic remedies, warm milk, liquor, and counted sheep, l still have a hard time falling asleep. 

I mostly "fall" awake.  If you do, here's what I do!

My current routine: Tuck pillows under neck and knees, mutter Shakespeare words--"Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care," and repeat the words, concentrating on the left leg, sensing the flow of blood in 10 toes, ankle, calf, knee, thigh, hip joint before concentrating on the right leg. I repeat this 15 to 30 times till my mind rebels, and a loud awareness that I am wide awake drives me out of bed.

If you try this, and are still wide awake, get a snack. Watch TV, and try again later.

Other possibilities: There's Modafinil, a stimulant that Wall street-investors use. There's a relatively new process called transcranial direct stimulation (tDCS) that zaps the brain with electricity, and keeps people up for as much as 30 hours, but tDCS currently lasts six.

Dammit, I don't want to spend my work time, trying new things that might or not work. 

Doctors say the Internet, email, and social networking are giving us shots of dopamine, a chemical the brain releases to simulate pleasure. We get this from caffeine, and nowadays we're sold caffeine in toothbrushes, stockings, soap, bath bubbles, beer, marshmallows, lollipops, coke, red bull, and bottled water. So, don't drink coffee? Do drink it? Drink it less?

Golly, we're flashed a lot of facts--about coffee, saccharin, eggs, cholesterol, omega 3, belly fat, dental hygiene, bacteria, calories, carbs, exercise--most of this is in my BB pile (bullshit baloney), where many of the latest life and death important facts fade like smoke rings.

FACT: After a not-enough-sleep night, I do my work--how well I do it depends, not on sleep, but on whether or not the topic excites me.

Therefore, I do my "raveled sleeve" routine, and sing this to myself. If you sing this a few times and are still wide awake, get a snack. Then, if you sing it again, and again, and again, you'll pleasantly tire yourself/bore yourself to sleep.

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