Reluctantly I am not the baby in this photo. Nor am I the dog. But I feel dogged about championing Thrive’s sleep mission. And so I run to all of you waving my Sleep Bone, like an Olympian torch bearer.
“Prepare your pillows! Sleep is coming on March 17th — pass it on!”
So the pressure’s on to take the pressure off. March 17th is officially World Sleep Day and you’d better get your p.j.s ready if you want to take part in this shut eye.
My jammies have lived through many sleepless nights. And what my jammies taught me is that no matter what lovely promise of repose a particular date conjures, it’s only as dreamy as its user. If I arrive at Bed & Blankie cranky from insomnia or an overactive mind or an inactive libido or a lack of melatonin — or whatever lullaby-bye’s me from a good night’s rest — no magical date on earth is going to reverse that. But encouragement sure helps …
I love the idea of World Sleep Day. It rallies every tired little inch of me to start relaxing. So why do I feel every tired little inch of me contracting?
Maybe it’s peer pressure disguised as The Sleep Faerie.
Truth is, this writing assignment arrived by email on the weekend when this female wanted to ditch being fe-mail just long enough to be with her male. Lover was in town and we had wonderfully non-android-system plans together. No phones. No TV. No computers. Just he and me in a sensual state of We. Sure, all our devices remained on in case of emergency. But the goal was to have no goals. To just loll in each other’s yummy company and … be.
Yet while half of me was ready to relax with my honey, my other half had sneaked a peek at the in-mails just before he arrived.
Thrive’s email peered at me like a little pixie, challenging the worst of my competitive spirit not to race to the keyboard and start spitting out whatever words I could before the Monday morning deluge. Clever little “e” winked at me knowing full well that this sleepy assignment was to write about the very subject I wanted to live, not write about living!
And so … March 17th became D-day for me as I marched to the beat-of-a- different-slumber. It was a stare-off between me and “e”. This was interspersed with a fabulous coq au vin created by my coq au man who loved indulging us in culinary pleasures. There was also an unexpected hello from a neighbor and his mother, a phone call from my best friend in France, and my honey’s unanticipated Skype call with a Japanese client. But android contact remained at bare minimum and it seemed we were headed for dreamland.
By the late evening hours my woozy little self was high on fine wine yet frazzled by time. Strange bedfellows, because in theory wine mellows. Tick tock went my internal clock knowing that “e” was quietly watching me.
The computer was in sleep mode but I was not.
I had to either fire off a great piece of fluff about Sleep (something my jammies and I were no heros at) … or just succumb to his nibbles on my pinky toes, his caress on my neck, his seductive whispers of foreign nothings in my ear — and other such annoyances which would rob me of my chance to write an opus about relaxation before its deadline.
The struggle continued as he had great sex with me (the part of me that was present and not staring at the “e”). Then we melted into sleep — mostly he, while I lay in his arms watching him peacefully drift into dreamy dimensions that I could only write about (if I decided to).
I became furious watching his tranquility. And jealous. I tried to fall asleep so hard. I tried to be relaxed so relentlessly. I tried to ignore that “e” staring at me while we made love (well mostly he). And it mattered not whether the laptop was on or off because “e” exists beyond time and space with all the other pressing distractions jockeying for my attention (or a tension, as the case may be).
I’d be tempting fate to try and delete that “e” and it probably wouldn’t even let me. I swear I heard it cooing and wooing, like a kind of calling —
“Come to me, baby. Curl up with me and let’s create something biblical”.
… or was that just my lover in the woozy-wee hours wanting us to make a baby for god sake (our combined ages are 4,730 in dog years)?!?
I dodged the absurd internal fight between Left and Right; the part of me that had so much to convey versus the part of me that just wanted to play. Shakespeare would have known what to say.
To make a baby or write about Sleep … that, is the laughable question (as if it’s even a question, you fool).
An entire Saturday night was wasted fending off my sexy-snuggly lover knowing that the looming issue of Sleep was boring into me like an anchor steeped in wet cement. The baby could wait. Sleep could not! But which sleep, alas — the real one where I actually do it … or the idealised one where I tell you how to?
I needed to relax. So he suggested a bath.
The romantic candle light. The scented, bubbly bath oils. The massage on my feet. The massage on his %$&*#@+!!!. The orgasm (his). The determination (mine). And then he disappeared … into a quiet, foamy slumber while I slipped out of the tub to momentarily peek at my f’kin’ “e”.
Twenty minutes later, bug-eyed and realising I’d forgotten him in the tub, I scooped him out of permanent shrinkage and back into bed where he then slept several times over and could have snored his way through my writing assignment.
Saturday night rolled into Sunday morning as sleep dep and “e” vyed for my attention (both won — and I awoke from anti-sleep exhausted yet expressive, writing about the importance of getting what I did not get one iota of).
“Shut eye!”, shuddered I as I pushed the send button which scurried this lulla-byline to its deadline before March 17.
Writing about resting has been exhausting.
Herewith, a few recommended sleep aids which work well if you’re not me:
- eat tryptophan before bed (e.g.yogurt or turkey — but not the whole turkey, no matter how depressed is your zombie self watching him ease into blissful alpha state).
- take melatonin one hour before sleeping (but the first results take 3 weeks to kick in). Melatonin’s also found in sun. Barbados anyone?
- turn off all electronic media 1 hour before bed (including your mind, the most powerful device known to mankind) — and move your bed to the Mongolian Steppes, which is probably the last radio wave-less bastion on earth. If the Steppes are booked, try The Falklands.
- read a book that’s interesting but hard to absorb — like Eckart Tolle’s The Power of Now, in German. The subject matter must be gripping so you’re motivated to concentrate on its meaning which will eventually fatigue you into sleep-learning … which will remind you of high school SAT exams and awake you in a cold sweat.
- have an orgasm — if you can’t find fresh batteries, your hand, or your shower head’s broken … meditate. Boredom breeds Sleepdom.
- stop stressing about it — the more you press yourself to do it the more you’ll lose it. Ease up; less is more.
- finish your dinner by 6:30pm so you aren’t digesting by bedtime — if you live in Spain, move to Finland.
The fact is, we’re all a little tired; tired of the same old trajectories perpetuated by tired leaderships borne of tired citizens who want nothing more than to repose … to rely on the assurances that their life has worth and that it will be treasured as such — by their governments, by their places of employ, by their personal sphere, and by their selves. These tenets run through World Sleep Day as they do Synchronistory, a televisionary event of the future.
On March 17th the blessed event of rest is upon us. Here’s to turkey, sunlight, batteries, and the Falklands.
(and when all else fails, write about it)
I rest my case.
Originally published at medium.com