Like many people, I occasionally suffer from an inability to sleep. My problem is not in falling asleep, but in going back to sleep if something should happen to wake me up. Once I'm all the way awake, it takes me 2 to 4 hours to get back to sleep. It doesn't happen a lot, which is a good thing because it's all kinds of annoying when it happens. I've adapted several strategies for dealing with it. Most of them do nothing but pass the time.
1. Counting. Usually heartbeats. Most commonly every 4th one. Or use the same number for four sequential heartbeats. Start over at 100 or you'll start getting numbers that are too long. I used to try to imagine the numbers being drawn on a chalkboard, but my chalkboard hand couldn't keep up with the heartbeat tempo.
2. Breathing. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Same thing you do every day, only now you're thinking about it.
3. Plan tomorrow. I don't often use this one because I figure the more active your mind is, the less likely you are to fall asleep.
4. Mental vacation. Picture a beach. Picture yourself at the beach. Picture whoever else you want to have at the beach. Or go with a waterfall, or a rainforest, or whatever relaxing location floats your boat.
5. Talk to God. Or yourself. What was good in the day. What could have been better. Same problem with this one as with #3.
6. Word bubbles. This is actually what I do most often. Clear your mind totally, then let a random word or short phrase (no coherent sentences or thoughts) bubble up to the top. Metacarpal, dungeness, factorial, esplanade, quixotic, fundamental, fungible, retardant, multiplicity, ectoplasm, frothy, hammerhead, winnow, darling, preternatural, etc, etc. Nothing that makes sense, just whatever random thing pops up to the top. For some reason my words all seem to have a lot of sylables.
7. Blog. When all else fails, think up an entertaining entry for the blog, preferably something that will move the ABC-along along.
04 July 2009
Posted by Kathy at 8:19 PM