When Counting Sheep Doesn’t Work

Are you an insomniac? I am a huge one. Five nights out of a week, I end up staring up at the ceiling for about three hours every day before finally managing to drift off to sleep. It drives me insane. My ceiling and I, as you can see, are very acquainted with one another. I’ve probably counted at least a billion sheep in my lifetime, and look where that’s gotten me. Well, at least I’d make a very good Shepard.

If you are a fellow insomniac, here a few things to do that might a) help you fall asleep (damn counting sheep) b) put your sleepless nights to good use.

1. Do crunches /push ups/ planks on your bed. Not only will this tire you out, it will also tone up your muscles. A classic case of killing two birds with one stone.

2a. Listen to an audiobook about a dry topic, preferably read by someone in a monotone. You’ll be able to expand your general knowledge, and there’s nothing more sleep-inducing than a good romp around some horribly complicated form of economic-policy. No offense if you actually find economic-policy extremely exciting.

2b. You could also listen to an audiobook of a children’s book. Something like, “One day, little boggy-poo decided to go for a walk. She said to her dog, ‘let’s go for a walk, Skippy!’ So Skippy and little boggy-poo go for a walk.” etc. Guaranteed to send anyone above the age of three to deep sleep.

2c. Make a voice recording of a particularly boring teacher during class (stealthily, if you’re not allowed to) and listen to it at night. Finally, something good comes out of that. Or, if you’re an adult, you could take a voice recording of your meeting (unless it’s some top secret thing) and pretend you’re using it to write minutes or something.

3. Recite stuff you have to remember (a great alternative to counting sheep). For example, if you’re trying to remember french verbs, chant them in your head until you fall asleep, and hope you remember them in the morning. Then again, if you don’t, you can always try again the next day.

4. Overanalyze the day’s events. What did your mom mean by saying goodnight to you? Was she being sarcastic? (Ha.) Was she giving you an ominous forewarning? Does she know something you don’t? Like maybe she’s secretly an Avenger and she knows that tomorrow, an evil psychopathic penguin is going to take over the world. Come up with at least ten different interpretations of every sentence everyone has said to you, starting from the minute you woke up. If you’re shy and hardly talk to people this is a good reason to open up and talk to more people during the day so you have more material for when you can’t sleep at night.

5. Listen to soft, relaxing, slow, soulful songs that aren’t disgusting. Because if it is, then you might be kept awake by angry thoughts about how lousy the singer is. These are the songs I have in my ‘SLEEP’ playlist. And yes, this is shameless advertising.

  • Taylor Swift (Ours, the new Hunger Games song- Safe and Sound, Mean, Sparks Fly, Mine, Tear Drops On My Guitar)
  • Lady Antebellum (As You Turn Away, Dancin’ Away With My Heart, Wanted You More, All We’d Ever Need, I Run To You. Not their fast jazzy ones like Friday Night.)
  • Nancy Sinatra (Something Stupid)
  • Adele
  • Evanescence (Her voice is slightly creepy. But slow and trance-like)
  • Lots of random oldies
  • Other random songs that are not old, but pretty (I dunno) obscure

6a. Play iPhone games till your eyes hurt. Preferably not anything particularly exciting, because then you’ll be awake all night. I like this game called ‘occupied’, because it’s deliciously brainless. You basically sort out male and female icons into their various toilets.

6b. Read books till your eyes hurt. Similarly, not anything good. Definitely no murder mysteries/horrors/thrillers. At least if you’re freaked out by them. I, for one, had nightmares for weeks after I’d read Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Even the title is creepy and sinister. Which, I guess, is the point.

7. Get up and do your homework. Or whatever it is that you’re worried/stressed about, because apparently a lot of people can’t go to sleep because they’re worrying about something, and their subconscious is extremely stressed out about it and can’t let them sleep before the thing is resolved.

8. Make mental lists of the most obscure things ever. Like best toilets you’ve ever visited, or most common last names. Or about the hardest things to decide, like favorite type of dog, and then spend a really long time debating with yourself. You will invariably fall asleep…maybe at the six-hundredth item on your list, but then at least you’d have done something…mildly constructive.

9. Get out of bed and go rob a bank or something. Yup. There are lots of things you could do during the night. Who needs to sleep, anyway? Buy a chewbacca suit and run around the street scaring people to death.

10. Pray. I mean, might as well, right? Maybe God will get so sick and tired of hearing your voice ramble on and on about how grateful you are for his Guidance and his Love, he’ll help you fall asleep, just to shut you up. It’s worth a try. If you’re not religious, become religious. Make up your own religion or something. This is actually pretty good too. You can then come up with all sorts of ridiculous traditions and a whole ‘how the world started’ theory, plus cool stories about people getting swallowed by whales.

If everything fails, you can call me and we’ll have a slumber party. Minus the slumber.

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March 2012
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