May the devil leave you alone

May the devil leave you alone

Jennifer Goble
Jennifer Goble

Ernest Hemingway said, “I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”

I love sleep too, and last night I got a tiny amount. Lucy first needed to go outside at 2:00, ending my peace on the pillow. She went back to sleep, and I didn’t. My vast sleep wisdom failed: 2:00, 2:07, 2:28, 2:31, and 2:39, until I finally got up at 3:25, fixed coffee, and said the= heck with it.

I saw a quote online, and I can’t recall it exactly, but it went something like, “When I can’t sleep, my brain becomes chaotic with full-color details of everything wrong I’ve ever done or said.” The rerun movies kept churning, turning, and burning in my head. The expression, “Don’t
sleep with the devil,” had a twisted meaning.

I’m not the only one with sleep issues; I’ve only heard one person say, “I never have trouble sleeping; I’m gone the minute I hit the pillow.” I looked at her with suspicion and distrust. Maybe she was an alien?

I have written about insomnia, the #1 sleep disorder defined as the inability to fall or stay asleep. I can list the many reasons for people having trouble sleeping: caffeine, alcohol, snoring, sleep apnea, anxiety, stress, and worry, to name only seven.

I can also rattle off many ideas on how to fall and stay asleep: an entire body relaxation exercise, soft music, envisioning my brain as hollow, focusing on my breathing, imagining melting into the sheets, a consistent bedtime routine, and the last resort, promising to get out of bed and scrub the bathroom floor with a toothbrush if not asleep in ten minutes. I would like to know what works for you.

Sometimes my tactics work. This early morning, they didn’t–not one.

Sleep is necessary for a healthy body and mind, so don’t stress over where or when you sleep. Taking a nap does not rob your night of sweet dreams. If you sleep better in a chair, do it. When you have the luxury of being a passenger in a car, it’s okay to lean back and take a snooze. Nobody said your optimum seven to eight hours of sleep needed to happen in the dark, in bed, and during one continuous stretch. Catch it when you can.

It’s now 6:25, and I’ve got a full day ahead. When the lamp goes dark tonight, I get another chance and hope the insomniac devil leaves me alone.

Until the next time: Live while you live.

Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories:

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