Posted in Of Psyche

Of Sleep

alarm clock

He who sleeps, his future sleeps as well,” roughly translated from the vernacular, is what my father used to say every time I fell asleep too early, usually before dinner, as a child. As well as, predictably, when I found it difficult to wake up on school mornings. I wouldn’t say it was very effective, except by repetition, for I had no conception of the future at such a young age, sleeping or awake. I believe Dante said something similar, except the phrase he used, again translated, was “awaken fame.”

Fame, or a moderately pleasurable future, are not what I have ended up with. In fact, I developed insomnia pretty early, resulting in chronic fatigue, vivid, horrible dreams, headaches and other perks, like puffy, dark circles around my eyes. “To die, to sleep,/ To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there’s the rub,/ For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,” as said by a suicidal prince, commissioned by his father’s ghost to kill his uncle, i.e. Hamlet in Hamlet. While I’ve faced sadness, loss, difficulties, nothing so severe has happened to me. And yet, I spend night after night contemplating some of the most famous words in literature, as if they were written to embalm those to whom sleep is never kind.

It is, sometimes. I love falling asleep while reading a book on a holiday, especially during the day or afternoon. It is only good for twenty minutes or so, as a nap, and not for the rest of the day. There is something pleasurable about it though. As if, sleep was something of a pleasure of its own, and not a compulsion that cannot be earned, despite my best efforts, on other days.

The rest of my individual history with sleep is too long and complicated to describe here. I might even end up feeling tired by it. And even if I would have talked about it, it wouldn’t actually help me fall asleep. As a child, I wouldn’t have expected the correlation I’d come to make between sleep, the future and the future amplified = fame. The future has been sleep-deprived, but there is no success in sight, only ageing cells, and a brain unable to remember things because of lack of sleep.

It is like ‘the chicken and the egg’ conundrum – which came first, the sleep-deprivation or the anxiety? Am I awake because I am anxious, or am I anxious because I am awake? Which one should I try to solve first? My doctor had given me a pill to solve both, with some anti-depressant properties thrown on the side in the same miracle pill, and I ended up sleeping for, more or less, three days. I decided not to take medicines for any of these things since then. Science was clearly too efficient in this case, and I needed something humbler, and more accurate.

That accuracy will never be achieved unless I have an entire shift of personality, a sweeping change of world view. That is, I’d be able to sleep better if I wasn’t me.

What kind of a sleeper are you? Can you suggest any remedies for the sleep-deprived?

Author:

Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

7 thoughts on “Of Sleep

  1. I followed my mom’s terrible sleep patterns. I’ve had some success reversing them in recent years; I can link a post from my smaller, quieter blog if you’re interested.

    The single best way I have improved my sleep is by lowering my anxiety baseline. The single best way I have done that is to devote a few minutes daily to the exercises in Rick H’s Just One Thing. So much peace from such a small book, it’s unbelievable.

  2. i typically sleep 8hrs a night, I recently have been using a bipap machine since i have trouble breathing at night, i go to sleep pretty fast that way. Sometimes when i drink beer that relaxes me and makes me tired haha you could try that

  3. It’s an absolutely terribly suggestion but I take Nature Made’s Sleep medicine, it works really well. I’ll lay down for an hour or so without some sort of sleeping aid.

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