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The Dread Before Bed

How I slayed the sleep deprivation dragon.

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Look, I know there are lots of practical things one can do to manage the dread of not being able to fall asleep like shutting down our devices, sitting in meditation, or drinking an old school glass of warm milk.  People do still drink milk, yes?  For me, though, there’s a cherry on my sleep sundae and it’s a chewable 1 mg of melatonin that does the trick.


I know what you’re thinking, shouldn’t there be some natural way to enhance my inner-harmonic, pre-bed routine?  Well, of course, but have you seen the news lately?  Polar ice caps melting, politics, and that triple cream pumpkin pie with filo dough crust on the cover of this month’s issue of Martha Stewart?!  I’ll have to double my workouts this holiday season.  Basically, there’s no time for sleep.

It’s all too much.  Not to mention the speed of life today.  I think most of us have at least two jobs plus the job of life.  Oh, you know what I mean.  There’s laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, meal prep, and picking up poop.  Yes, I went there.  I have four little fur babies and they keep me busy.  Caring for an elderly parent?  Kids doing after school sports?  And I dare not leave out drive time.  Here in Los Angeles I put in at least two hours a day behind a wheel, and I’m not talking cheese.  That’s a lot of slow driving and a lot of sitting. Starting to get a sense of it?  I know we all get the picture – we’re living it.

Recently, a friend came for a visit from France.  We were talking about some of the differences between living in France and the United States.  One that stood out for her was coffee.  As you may know, coffee is big in France.  Keeping that in mind, my friend said she’s amazed at the amount of coffee we drink here in the states, and how strong it is.  I hadn’t really thought about this, but quickly realized the truth of what she was saying.  She pointed out that we have our morning coffee, coffee after lunch, and some people like a coffee around the dinner hour, to which she added, “No wonder you Americans never sleep!”  It kind of makes sense.  Not necessarily the why of it, but rather the what-is-ness of it.  And she also noted the disposable cup waste, but that’s another conversation.

Shutting down requires help.  A team really.  Especially if you’re a coffee drinker, and who isn’t?!  My apologies to the tea drinkers.  I know you’re people too;)  And of course, I try to do all the things we know help like lowering the lights in the house, turning the television off, running a warm bath, but I always cap it with my melatonin.  No man or woman is an island onto themselves when it comes to slaying the sleep deprivation dragon.  We need muscle, or at least melatonin.

And, please, don’t judge me, I’m doing the best I can.  It’s a pill, yes, but according to my integrative doctor, it also has anti-cancer properties.  So I chew with abandon every night and sleep the sleep of angels.  I may not be as crunchy granola as I like to think I am, doing it the less than natural way, but let’s face it, there’s not a lot left in our world that is natural.  But don’t lose too much sleep thinking about what I just wrote.  You need your sleep, because tomorrow is coming, and it has your name all over it.

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