I Can't Sleep!

Actually, I can sleep. I'm pretty good at it.

I have a lot of experience in this field. Nearly 3,910 days (10.7 years) of my life have been spent sleeping, assuming 8.5 hours per day. That's tough to estimate since kids sleep more and college age and older people sleep less. But hey, who's trying to be scientific here? Not me.

This post is a tribute to everyone that loves sleep. You treasure it. You fight for it. You guard it. You sacrifice for it. And it has been a good friend to you over the years.

But there is an enemy of sleep.

You might be thinking caffeine. True, but not where I'm going.

The worst enemy of my sleep is my brain.

Of course, I want my brain all fired up during the day when I'm trying to be Mr. Science Guy and write posts that will captivate the masses. Hurrah! Go brain!

So I push and push on my brain to give me what I want; and it, being the obstinate blob of neuronal tissue that is it, churns out garbledy gook in a flagrant attempt to mock its master.

It publicly humiliates me by sending the wrong signals to my mouth that cause me to sound linguistically challenged. It rebels against me as I squeeze its synapses to give me the name of that person I'm shaking hands with. It just smiles at me and holds my memories for ransom.

Then night time comes. I finish everything up and put the child to bed. I look forward to a relaxing time of calm rest that will seamlessly transition into blissful REM sleep.

And here comes brain.

All the memories all at once. Problems. Solutions. Ideas. Creativity and expression come bubbling up to the prefrontal cortex under pressure like a 2 liter bottle of Coke that's been kicked around the driveway.

Brain wants to write book chapters at 11:30 PM. Brain wants to solve problems and think about all my conversations from the past 17 days. It wants to reinvent plans for tomorrow and create new plans for next year. It contemplates investment strategies and recaps all forms of entertainment I've experienced in the past 48 hours. Yep, now brain is busy, busy bee.

So I think, "Great, brain will get rested tonight and recall all this brilliance in the morning so I can hit the ground running."

I wake up and hit the ground--face first.

Brain says, "Sleep to the bed need as no light wanted only pillow then eyes shut and thoughts not likely had to be."

While barely granting me the cognitive capacity to walk through a doorway, brain smirks and hides all that wonderful creativity back in the deep, dark recesses of the medulla oblongata (not really, but I just wanted to say that in this post). 

As I revive to consciousness, I realize another day has begun in which I will repeat this cycle of fighting brain and making it give me what I want.

This post might seem somewhat defeatist; but actually...

I've learned some tactics to outsmart my brain and subvert its unwillingness to cooperate.

1. Coffee

2. Pretend I'm not interested (reverse psychology)

3. Snatch every idea brain accidentally lets out during the day and record it. Once it's out, it's out. Brain can't hide it again.

4. Conversations

As for telling brain to shutup at night when I'm trying to sleep, I'm still working on that. I suppose the simplest solution is codeine, but that's uncomfortably addictive. So...

Best of luck to you and your brain.

Image credit:
Clock @ 1:59 image from http://alliandgenine.com/genine-has-turned-into-a-walking-zombie
Brain graphic from http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2013/03/23/do-big-new-brain-projects-make-sense-when-we-dont-even-know-the-neural-code/
Sleeping is dumb image from http://imgur.com/gallery/XWuRM

1 comment:

  1. The white noise of a fan helps me, but I also take 250-500 mg. of elemental magnesium. (Most of us are deficient.) It makes me sleep like a log. and I'm an old lady whose bladder awakens her several times a night. (But I always go quickly back to sleep!) I even tried the powerful hormone melatonin, but it gave me nightmares. A friend buys a magnesium cream and rubs it on he children's upper chests (clavicals) at night. It works great! As for the mental racing, prayer puts me right to sleep. Not sure if it's Satan leaving me alone, because he doesn't want me praying, or if it's just the peace that comes from trusting the Lord, or both, but it always works! ;-)