Going To Bed With A Smile On Your Face

Sleep isn’t easy for some of us. Apparently it’s a health issue too, and I think I now do get the five and a half hours recommended for not encouraging associated issues of this ilk. I used to get less, and it was eroding my wellbeing. Sleep is a genuine problem, for more than just the individual – Western society as a whole seems to struggle with what seems a new issue, for some reason – but we all moan to ourselves (or to others) about the fact that we are affected, “Why me?!” … and that’s a logical way to go about the problem. It’s about me, and it’s about us. It’s bloody horrible to be sleep deprived, and to have specialists say that you shouldn’t drink caffeine after a certain time in the day, as it’s a stimulant and that will make it more difficult to get to sleep, when one of the reasons people are having an afternoon coffee is to rev themselves up as they feel like nodding off signs are accumulating. And you can’t have alcohol, even though that helps you to get to sleep, as it isn’t a restful sleep. And besides caffeine and alcohol are really naughty – and could kill you. I’ve just been reading about a “caffeine nap”, where you drink a cup of coffee and then sleep for ten or twenty minutes (the nap part) and when you wake up you feel revived as the caffeine has just kicked in and you’ve had a little nap too. Well, that’s a fascinating theory, and good luck to those – and they exist – who do this regularly and report exceptionally positive results from practising the technique, but for some of us the idea of planning a nap for a specific (and short) length of time, in the middle of the day, at work even, is absolutely insane, pointless and could only lead to failure, with the possibility of tears. Really? Who came up with this? Someone who doesn’t have a problem sleeping anyway, and doesn’t need the extra boost they get from this technique on top of leading a lifestyle where they generally go about each day as if they have stepped out of a tampon commercial, rollerblading and playing volleyball and smiling all the time and laughing a lot. Life isn’t like that for me. And I’m guessing it isn’t for others either. Sleep seems elusive and precious and not like something that can be controlled and used for one’s own purposes.

There are some ingredients common to the non-drug supplements available to assist the individual to engage the sleep function, and keep it that way. Zizyphus, Magnesium, Valerian and a few others tend to appear in lists on the labels of bottles. It probably won’t make the blind see and raise the dead to use one of these, but I have found that sleeplessness – the ridiculous form of it where you simply have no chance – is much lessened. Sleep is more predictable. It isn’t something that seems reliable for me yet, but there is improvement.

Other factors are important. Apparently lower wattage bedside lights, for readers in bed, are better, and I have seen a recommendation that fiction is better than non-fiction as it encourages the planning, logical part of the brain to operate, when you want the imagination to be engaged instead. And I think I have found a very appropriate book to read, under these circumstances – my old mate Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time seems appropriate and is making me slip into another world and cast my cares, such as they are, aside … ish. I still don’t sleep so well.

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Published in: on September 16, 2010 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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