Monday, July 22, 2013

The Megastore recommends: The Not Sleeping Edition.

The people, I feel as if it has been years since I slept enough, every night, on a regular basis. I could explain, but why? There's a whole orchestra of reasons, most of which can be summarized with the catch-all word du generation: S-T-R-E-S-S.

I feel a little poem coming on.

Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of melatonin
Try a little meditation counting up some sheep
Rig your pillow so the cool side stays cool
Each night after every night
Sing a lullaby, sure go ahead and
Sing a little lullaby, cause you're an idiot insomniac.

Doesn't scan, but it does the trick, more or less. That's the situation.

This summer, I decided, would be the summer of, among other things, the Sleep Project. I was doing pretty well, too, until The Great Summer Cold of 2013. Which, thankfully, has now concluded. It was epic, but it's over. The last few nights, I've been sleeping easily and well, and therefore I do have a few recommendations to make, in case you, too, occasionally have The Troubles. With The Sleep.

1. Make your iced tea herbal. We all have to face it, the moment when caffeine, too late in the day, is not your friend. The moment when you're trying to sleep but you can feel your blood racing around like a crazy maniac. A crazy, caffeinated maniac. I recommend drinking iced chamomile tea with lavender. You can find this at your local grocery store, if your local grocery store is reasonably well-stocked. You can also go with mint tea, and you will not go amiss.

2. Stop freaking trying to do so many freaking things. This recommendation is nigh unto impossible to actually carry out in, y'know, real life. I do know people whose lives are exceedingly well-regulated, who know their limits, and who do pretty much only the things that they find necessary and/or satisfying. Here's the thing, though. Even I, a big over-achiever (I don't use this word in a laudatory sense), can do better. Peel off a few things, especially when the opportunity presents itself. Stop inviting myself to meetings. Ask myself if what I'm doing gives me pleasure or satisfaction. If it doesn't, then I should see if I can stop doing it. And if I, big over-achiever, can do this, so can you.

3. Finish something. O the very joy of finishing something! Today, my colleague and I finally finished the draft we're sending off to the editors of this one collection. (I would give you details, but it might bore me to death.) Did it give me joy to write this essay? Define "joy." Actually, by most any definition, this was not joyous writing. It was a slog and for great swaths of the writing, it did not feel worth doing. But there were moments. And then a few more moments. And hits of elation and, yes, satisfaction. And now! The joy! So: finish something. I bet you will sleep the sleep of the blessed, as I intend to do tonight.

4. When all else fails, have your Insomnia Kit ready. There are going to be some nights, let's
face it, when you're going to find yourself awake. Maybe you guzzled Dr. Pepper with your Thai Fried Rice. Maybe you have, despite your best efforts, a meeting in the morning. Maybe classes are going to start in a few weeks, but you have to worry about it right now. In this case, my friends, I recommend that you have your Insomnia Kit (TM) ready to go. For every person the Insomnia Kit (TM) will have different items. For me, it includes
  • a sheet (blanket in the winter)
  • my reading glasses
  • the current book, or possibly
  • the crossword puzzle I'm in the middle of.
Knowing where the Kit is makes it easy to take a break from not sleeping, and, after I've read a chapter or filled in a few puzzle squares or worried a little bit more or made a list, the Kit also makes it easier to slip back into bed, and with any luck, into sleep. 


  1. I really like that insomnia kit (TM) plan and will use it while trying to not simultaneously perform #3 when I should be sleeping. Thank you HT

  2. My not sleeping kit also includes the current book I'm listening to.

  3. Not sleeping is the pits! I love the idea of an Insomnia kit and, living in the Deep South, I can testify of the beauties of iced tea. I like to mix mine with a little lemonade (with no Starbucks on base, one must improvise!).

  4. It just a freaking joy to hear your voice again here. Well done, HTMS!

  5. And of course I meant "it IS a freaking joy . . . " I have a disease that makes me leave out words. OBV.

  6. Clearly the insomnia has not hampered your ability to write kick-ass poetry.



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