A confab of the sleepless souls


I asked for it, and you let me have it.

When I wrote about my bout of insomnia earlier this week, I asked for your recommendations. The number of responses reminds me that just about everyone has trouble sleeping now and then. From the ridiculous to the sublime, your words poured in.

Eddie, a good neighbor just down the street in this community of retirees, suggests a late-night meeting at the community clubhouse. “Maybe we can have everyone out here with that problem meet at the clubhouse at 1:30 every morning. After hearing the same old stories over and over, we will probably all fall asleep. I’ll bring the coffee!”

Your thoughts vary on whether age plays a part in insomnia.

“I hate to tell you this, but I think our age has a lot to do with our insomnia!” writes Bobbie. I’m not telling her age, but she was a classmate in high school.

On other hand, “Sorry you are having trouble sleeping,” writes Robert, a church friend who turned 80 years old last month. “Many of us, including me, have the opposite problem: sleeping when we should be listening!”

Allen, a seasoned prankster and all-around good guy, wonders whether my daytime foibles are contributing to my night time ferment.

“As my father said to us young’ns, ‘If you have problems sleeping, you must not be working hard enough!’

“And, ‘Do not love sleep, lest ye become poor.’ John 3:17.”

Maybe he’s got something there. I remember sleeping like a baby in my teen years, when I spend a lot of time baling hay, choppin’ cotton, suckerin’ and cuttin’ tobacco. All I need is to find a farmer willing to pay a 68-year-old arthritic has-been more than he’s worth and I’ll be asleep in no time.

A couple of friends, including one I’ve known almost 50 years, intimate the problem may be between me and the Good Lord.

“Here’s a couple of suggestions,” writes Janet. “Get a white noise app and listen to that. Also, if you have a bible app that reads the scriptures out loud, try that. The one I use is You Version. Both of these apps are free, and I bet that melatonin works better than you think. I would get the 5 mg, not 3. Gummy ones are the best.”

Patsy is more direct: “You know, Noah had an ark to escape the flood.  We have an ark to escape eternal death; Jesus is our ark.  Are you on board?  Are the people you love on board? The most horrible thing I can think of is for someone I care deeply about to be knocking on the door of the ark when it is too late.  Let’s get everyone on the ark.”

Patsy also touts melatonin, dishes on cell phones one hour before bedtime, and hopes I’ll share all the recommendations you send in.

“I guess we just keep looking for what works for us,” she writes, “but keep sharing any ideas, please.”

And like Patsy, Dan also says he’s heard that cell phone use in the last hour or so before bedtime is detrimental to sweet dreams.

And like Janet, Linda also recommends white noise.

“We bought a sound machine at Bed Bath & Beyond, and now we can’t sleep without it,” Linda writes. “Love it love it. We put ours on relax and the snoring starts. I don’t sleep good at all, lucky to get five hours. Now it’s eight to ten hours. Yeaaaaaaaaaaa.”

Shelley is a read-’em-and-sleep advocate: “I take a couple of Tylenol, get up and read and work cryptogram puzzles for 45 minutes to hour, until I can’t hold my eyes opened.”

Of all the responses, Hampton seems the most clinical.

“Sorry to hear of your malady,” writes Hampton, another one I haven’t seen in 50 years. “Perhaps the following site can offer some suggestions for improved sleep. Be Well, JHK”

Hampton then gives me this address on the well-known WebMD website.

All great advice. I’m now testing podcasts to sleep by, which was my doctor’s recommendation. So far, “Welcome to Night Vale” seems to be working … when I set it up correctly.

Twenty minutes on the timer; I’m usually asleep before it starts. Last night, though, I somehow had the timer set to 90 minutes instead of 20. I’d wake up and it would still be playing. At about 3:30 a.m., the Bluetooth earbuds ran out of power, so now it’s 3:30 in the afternoon and I’ve been awake 12 hours. Should sleep well tonight.

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