Offen: Dreaming of sleeping
There are, of course, two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don’t. There are also, I’m beginning to think, those who sleep well and those who don’t.
I know some people who do sleep well. My friend, Dick, for instance, is so skilled at falling asleep he can even do it when he is wide awake. He sleeps well at night, he naps well during the day, he nods off when I’m talking to him.
However, that’s not me. I have difficulty falling asleep. I have difficulty staying asleep. I have difficulty falling back to sleep and I have difficulty finding a pillow I really like.
When I was younger, I never used to have these kinds of problems. Pillows only came in one size and color and were made of only one material — pillowstuff. Now they come in down, foam, memory and strawberry. It tires me out just thinking about it — although, apparently, not enough.
Back then, even without a pillow, I could sleep all day, particularly if I was supposed to be studying for a chemistry exam. I would sleep so blissfully and soundly that the only sound that could wake me up was the surreptitious opening of a bag of potato chips down the hall, across the courtyard and behind closed doors.
But as I’ve grown older, I’ve become less able to sleep enough at night and gotten increasingly more tired during the day. Sometimes I’m so tired, I’m too tired to take a nap. In fact, I don’t even try to take a nap anymore because I’m concerned it would ruin my night’s sleep which would likely ruin my next day’s nap.
I’m also too tired to doze, snooze or slumber, although I’ve tried them all and have a particular fondness for slumbering.
The key, of course, is getting a good night’s sleep but I can’t seem to do that even though I closely follow all of the standard recommendations for a good night’s sleep.
I shut off the television (unless there’s less than two minutes to go in the game and the score is pretty close and you absolutely promise me it’s not going into overtime).
Before I go to bed, I take off my shoes.
I get most of the potato chips out of the bed.
I stop singing “We Are the Champions.”
I drink chamomile tea, although I have no idea what a chamomile is and whether it’s legal.
I start reading something extremely boring, like the history of chamomile tea, and try to cleverly lull myself into sleep. About halfway into the history, I start yawning and my eye lids get heavy. I begin reading the same sentence over and over again and it’s not even a good sentence and might have a dangling modifier.
I reach over and shut the lights off and before you know it … I’m completely wide awake.
Neil Offen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.