Insomnia: The Bane of Middle and Other Ages by Marjorie Dorfman
Do you find yourself tossing and turning instead of sleeping during the night? Do you talk back to the sheep that keep jumping before your weary eyes? Are you tired of being tired? Well, read on. Maybe you'll find some help. Or at least a laugh to help you through.
To sleep, perchance to dream. No, to sleep! Forget about the dream! If I should die before I sleep, I pray for the wisdom to know the difference. The Dorfman Archives
I feel totally qualified to discuss insomnia, as I am often one of its many sufferers. This affliction has brought me no fame (and even less sleep), but at least in my waking hours I know my subject matter well. Still, the questions do linger, that is, if one can stay awake long enough to answer them! For one thing, why cant insomnia travel uptown, downtown or even next door? Why does it always come to my house, my bed and my body? How many sheep must one man count before he accepts the fact that he cannot sleep? And how many times must one man (or woman) awaken during the night before he or she can see there is a real problem? The answer, my friends, is not blowing in the wind. It lies, hopefully, somewhere below in this impromptu and completely unorthodox treatise.
To understand the problem, it is necessary to learn its underlying causes. Im not sure if this statement came from the mouth of Albert Einstein or good old Mister Tooth Decay, but it does seem an appropriate place to begin. Insomnia is defined as the perception or complaint of inadequate sleep because of the following: difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep, waking up too early in the morning or unrefreshing slumber. Someone once said that insomnia is caused by the difficulties in coping with lifes daily stresses and strains. Deep, nest ce pas? Perhaps so, but the number of hours of sleep a person gets or how long it takes to fall asleep is not considered part of its dozing perimeters.
Insomnia can be classified as transient (short term), intermittent (on and off), and chronic (constant). Lasting from a single night to a few weeks, the condition is considered transient. If episodes occur from time to time, it is said to be intermittent. Chronic insomnia occurs on most nights and lasts a month or more. This type is more complex and often results from a combination of factors, including underlying physical and mental disorders. Behavioral factors can also contribute, such as the misuse of caffeine, alcohol, or other substances. Certain conditions seem to make individuals more prone to experience insomnia. These include those being unfortunate enough to have lived past the age of sixty, being female (fortunate or unfortunate) and a history of depression (fortunate, unfortunate, male or female).
My course of action will, for confusions sake, divide the waking battlefield into two major fronts; going back to sleep or waking up to face the music. All choices must be weighed carefully before you even get into bed. This strategy is meant to fool your mind into thinking that you really do want to sleep through the night. One interesting "back to sleep" option includes sleeping with your head facing north. If youre anything like me, this is no help at all, as I dont know north from south except in terms of who won the Civil War. If you are too tired to figure it out, sleep facing any direction. Believe it or not, it is said that wiggling your toes helps to reduce body tension. Try it. What can you lose? The worst that could happen is that at least your toes will get some sleep, even if you dont. Counting sheep also falls somewhere in here. Dont you ever wonder who the sheep count (or is it whom?) when they want to get some shut-eye? Do they add up those who jump fences before their weary eyes or are they content to read the words of Oscar Levant as found in his timeless best seller, Confessions of An Insomniac?