INSOMNIA



ONE WAY TO DEAL WITH NIGHTS AWAKE

A common type of insomnia is like this:

you go to sleep quickly at night because you are tired, but wake up some time later, maybe only an hour or two after you fell asleep, and then have trouble falling back asleep. It may take hours. You lie awake tossing and turning as your mind wrestles with all your worst problems, including the problem of insomnia. Often, you fall asleep, exhausted, just about the time you are supposed to get up for work.

I think it is the over-active mind that keeps one awake. It churns away, morbidly dwelling on unpleasant memories, fears of what may go wrong in the future, and all the chores one must do in the coming day. Everything takes on a more negative and serious aspect at 3 am. Just as you start to drop off, a nasty little worry flits across your mind's-eye, jerking you back to full consciousness.

This happens again and again.

You rarely, if ever, come to any sensible decisions or make any useful discoveries during these nightly thinking stints. They are fruitless and debilitating.

WHY PUT UP WITH THEM ANY MORE?


HERE IS A METHOD FOR GETTING BACK TO SLEEP WHICH IS DRUG-FREE, SIMPLE AND PLEASANT

I have found that listening to tape recording of novels and short fiction is a marvellous way of making my internal nagging little voice shut up. My brain gets distracted from it by the story on the tape. Soon, I am lulled asleep. It is not because the story is boring, far from it -- the more interesting the plot, the more my brain is able to let go of its own trains of thought. Sometimes, I only hear the first five minutes of the side on the cassette before falling fast asleep.

If I wake up again later, I simply turn the cassette over and start listening to the other side. There is off course some loss of continuity in the storyline, because I have slept through most of the other side, but this is a small price to pay for a good night's sleep. If I need to listen to the tape while awake I play it again while I am in the kitchen. I must have heard the beginning of all 4 sides of "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" about ten times before I finally heard the whole thing and was able to comprehend the plot.


SOME TIPS:


If you don't want to wake your spouse with the sound of the book reading use a tape player with those soft headphones that you stick in your ears.

Use headphones without the hard headband connecting the left and right ear speakers. Then you can just use one, in the ear that is uppermost, so the ear on the pillow is free from the pressure of that hard little knob. After all, you don't need to hear it in stereo.

Don't choose plays, or versions with sound effects - you don't want to be woken up by some loud explosion or burst of music. The modulated voice of a trained actor droning away is the goal. Some people read better than others, you will find your favourites in the end.

Well written literature is better than trashy stuff. A badly turned phrase can suddenly jerk you awake again, just as you were drifting off. So can mispronunciations.

You can listen to the same tape many times over. You don't have to hear a new story every night. Some beloved tales by their very familiarity have an extremely relaxing effect.

Insomnia

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