Monday, July 28, 2008

Need a Good Night's Sleep? Read this...

The Over-Stimulated Mind

I've learned the hard way not to read a scrapbooking magazine before bed. The ideas buzz 'round and 'round in my brain and I don't drop off to sleep. Has that ever happened to you? Ever get so wrought up about a project that you can't sleep? And I don't mean worried. It's not's more like creative overdrive. The ideas fly around like popcorn in a ripped bag in the microwave.

I mentioned this to my sister, Jane. She works in a sleep lab. Honest! Her job is to help people figure out the reasons behind their insomnia. According to her, insomnia is a national epidemic, one that never happened until our nation went to 24/7 television.

At she's posted a list of great tips for getting a good night's sleep. One being never to use your bedroom for anything but sleep and sex. (No idea books allowed.) She shares her blog with another sleep tech and a doctor who specializes in sleep issues. Visit them for all sorts of ideas on sleep--gleaned from decades of working with the problems that keep us from catching those much needed ZZZZZZs.
Here she writes about Courage, her delightful Chihuahua and what we can learn about our sleep from his...and how what we think about can give us--or keep us from--a good night's sleep. (The lovely young lady in the photos is my gorgeous niece, Lexie.)
The Courage to Sleep Like a Dog
by Jane Campbell

And he does, bless his heart. He's a happy boy. Cheerily dragging one of my nieces' Beanie Babies down the hallway, through the kitchen off into the netherlands of the laundry room. Checking out the cat's food and ignoring his own. Pouncing on Spike, the only 20 lb cat with claws in the house, eager to play. When he wants to play, he does, when he wants to eat, he does and when he wants to sleep, down goes the eyelids on those huge Chihuahua eyes. Wherever there's a bed, he lays his head. 180 count sheets or 500, Ralph Lauren bedding or Dora the Explora, 11 o'clock in the morning or 11 o'clock at night, down he goes. He never has "one more thing to do," one more email to check, one more deadline to meet.
Courage trusts. Courage believes. Courage has no fear. That when he shuts his eyes, he'll sleep, opens his eyes, he wakes.

All this is nice and poetic and politically correct. But in my heart of hearts, I know there is another reason why sleep comes so easily to him. He has a clean soul. (Spike sleeps well too, but clean slate? That's another story.) Courage is a little furry piece of Paradise dropped down from heaven in the form of a very, very small dog. Yes, I know dog=God spelled backwards. And so must he. I look at him wonderingly as he sleeps, paws pointed heavenward and know, just know, he's never lived with regret. No "what ifs" and "should haves." He never has a day where he hates himself or life or when he has to convince himself the purpose of it all. He shuts his eyes and sleeps and as I rub his ears or stroke his fur when he snuggles up against me, he shares with me his Peace.


Terri Thayer said...

There's a lot to be said for learning to be more like your dog or cat. Although, I know I'd sleep better if my cat didn't announce the four AM hour by pouncing on me.

The funniest part about your post was the time it was posted. 3AM! I know there's a time zone issue, but shouldn't you have been in bed???

Joanna Campbell Slan said...


Nah, really, I've been trying for 3weeks to get the automatic scheduling function to work on blogspot. And it hasn't. Every Monday, I do what my family needs done first thing, then get to the computer and discover the post I spent an hour working to schedule hasn't shown up. ARGH.

Actually I was up at 2 a.m. and slept 'til 6:30 a.m. My soon-to-be-off at college son was out driving in a rainstorm without windshield wipers so I was lying there terrified in my bed.

See? If I were a cat or dog, I'd eat my young.

Betty Hechtman said...

I must be a dog at heart because most nights I'm falling asleep as my head gets near my pillow. And Terri, one of my cats likes to pull my hair in the middle of the night. I discovered that leaving some dry cat food in his bowl before I go to bed gets him to leave me alone.

Camille Minichino said...

Can't do it. Can't end the day any other way than reading in bed, no matter what comes before :=)) It has to be fiction, not work, but still it has to be.

I seem to be able to get by with 4-5 hrs., sometimes less. As Joanna says, the ideas won't go to sleep even when I want to.

Camille Minichino said...

Nice to "meet" your sister, Joanna!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Yeah, Janie's pretty cool. She once saved a guy who was hit by a car while on a bike. She happened by after the accident. Without worrying about her own health, she gave him CPR--she's also a respiratory therapist.

And she knows a lot about sleep!

(By the way, isn't Spike a big honking cat? He's quite the neighborhood bully!)

Kathryn Lilley said...

My kitties and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to sleep--the more we get, the better!