Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What Do You Do When You Can't Sleep?

That is my iris, by the way.

This morning, I awoke at 4:00 and knew I was going to need to make a withdrawal from the "safe thought" bank if I wanted to go back to sleep.

Because when all typical strategies for falling back asleep fail, I resort to thinking only of the safe things--no other thoughts allowed.

Right now, I know you're leaning forward in your chair, cocking your head and asking, "What are these 'safe thoughts' of which you speak, Lid? Are they some kind of new thinky-dink religious schtick like that one where if I want a parking space close to the store, I simply visualize the mothership, Oprah, who will then consult with the universe, which will then draw the primo parking spot unto me the same way 'The Think System' supposedly gave kids musical talent in 'The Music Man?'"

No, Grasshopper. And you have apparently had too much caffeine.

Maybe I can explain safe thoughts by contrasting them with what safe thoughts are not. (Within that one sentence, I managed to both show off my English degree by using "contrast" and also defame it by tossing out terrible sentence structure.)

"Non-safe" would be anything that evokes any emotion, such as frustration with a certain office copier or a slight sense of remorse after crushing a bug earlier in the day. Also, I cannot allow myself to get too happy about anything, such as planning a birthday party or going out with girlfriends.

No, I must remain emotion-free. By the way, like the emotion-less guy on the left over there, I can raise my right eyebrow by itself, too. And that would be a great example of a "safe" thought.

So at 4:00 a.m., I'm thinking:

30 days hath September,
April, June and November,
All the rest have 31,
Excepting February alone.
Which only has but 28 days clear
And 29 in each leap year.

"Why, oh why, has this awkward poem been ringing in my head since childhood? Who could go back to sleep after repeating that awful thing? I think I could do better."

Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November.
Some are dreadful; some are fun
We are the class of '81!

"Now that's more like it, but that narrows the interest group quite a bit and loses some pertinent info about months, so what else do you have?" (Notice, please, that I actually asked myself a question at 4:00 a.m.)

How about:

Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November.
Pentecostals must wear hair buns, but all the rest may wear 31.
Hairstyles, that is.
Except in February, when everyone, regardless of denomination, may have only 28 'dos.
Except in leap year, in which case I suggest a classic upsweep which celebrates the 29th and offers a gesture of unity by putting a new twist (French?) on the bun.

What word rhymes with February?
I have brother whose name is Larry.
He should stay away from dairy
Maybe except in February.


The word "Larry" carries emotive qualities.

Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November.
Some are dreadful; some are fun
All the rest have 31
Except the month of February
Did I ever mention I've met Dave Barry?

No, no; here's a better part 2:

Except the month of February
When you must woo the one you married.
With 28 Valentines of hearts and doves
Romance daily the one you love.

Oh no. "Love" = Emotion.

What do you do when you can't sleep?

Bonus thought:

On the next Oprah: Oprah offers to heal insomnia through the laying on of hands on the TV camera lens.


Becky said...

You are a serious goof! I love it :-D I also love Dave Barry! i would love to meet him! I would love to be at home asleep. I would love to stop using the word love. i love that reading your blog brings out the love in me...

BTW, I tagged you x 4 :-)

Chatty Kelly said...

Have you ever considered ambien? Just kidding!

Your mind works more at 4 a.m. than mine does all day.

When I can't sleep, I pray. (not to be able to fall asleep, just praise God or pray for others.)

sara said...

when I can't sleep (which happens more often these days)....one word....ambien.....it's a beautiful thing. BTW, I have a brother named Larry too! :)

Mrs. Who said...

Funny that you should have this posted this morning because I did not sleep well last night! Sometimes I just have a night last night; menopause, I guess. Annoying, though. It averages out though - I'll probably sleep like a rock tonight. I try the thinking thing too but I always wander off into thinking about stuff that requires me to REALLY think. Can't help it!

Anonymous said...

You have one busy mind at 4:00 AM! Those thoughts would keep me up till the crack of dawn.

Smilingsal said...

When I can't sleep, I go into my office and boot up the computer! Might as well get some work done.

Tabi said...

I always just give up and get up! Might as well be productive in my restlessness! So, come one over to my site and join in on the fun if ya want! Your it!

Tabi said...

Haha, think I tagged you with the same tag as Becky!! Enjoy!

Susan said...

Oh Linda! I've been tossin' and turnin' for several nights now. Maybe I should have tried the "Monts of the Year" poem! Even having a humorous thought would be better than having restless thoughts.

Thanks for a great laugh.



Dena @ Green Acres said...

Too funny, although the scary thing is that our high school actually DID have a poem very similar to that. We ended with: "Some months are boring, some are fun. But we don't care, 'cuz we're done in '81!" Oh yea, we were a deep poetic bunch.

The Bayou Belles and Their Beau said...

You definitely need some sleep. LOL.

ann said...

This is hilarious! Just two nights ago I was laying there wishing I could turn my brain off so I could sleep, and even getting irritated with my husband, sleeping so soundly, because he can turn his brain off and be asleep in a matter of SECONDS!

Noggin songs by Moose A. Moose usually go through my mind when I can't sleep. So annoying. Gotta quit watching so much Noggin.

Brenda said...

When I can't sleep, I read. It might not get me back to sleep, but at least I'm doing something I enjoy. You, on the other hand, might enjoy making up poems, so keep on with that, if you do.

Laurie Ann said...

I know what I won't do when I can't sleep at night. Read your posts! They crack me right up and I'd wake not only the spouse but the dog and the bird with my laughter. Even the sea monkey's would take notice! LOL!!!!!!!! I love it! Great post, Lidna!

samurai said...

Wow... and I thought I had issues when it came to getting back to sleep! LOL

I am sorry to read about your painful experience... but I am glad you shared!

Ballerina Girl said...

Funny post Linda! I was laughing at your thoughts on this rhyme...I also repeat it often trying to remember days of the month!
my ending was always a little simpler (and unfortunately no rhyme at the end which made me have the feeling of just...well, just wrong...I like yours!):
all the rest have 31
except Feb. which has 28
Period...that was just how we always finished...
so. abrupt.unfinished.
Ah, I also can't help much either in the sleep department...I pretty much am out 'till the next morning, don't even remember my dreams most of the time!

My ADHD Me said...

Chatty Kelly asked if you had considered Ambien. I'm thinking maybe Adderall. (for ADHD). It works for me....haha.....barely. Unfortunately the FDA says I take the highest legal dose. My doc says that's too bad because I could probably benefit from a higher dose.
What was I talking about.....

annie's eyes said...

I've learned to embrace 4 a.m. It is my friend. . .and I know it well. Look in your email. I sent you something hysterical on the very subject. Love you, Annette

skoots1mom said...

very cerebral...using your word of the day.
I usually cave in a get up and log in...play a few games of majong (the little tiles clicking makes me sleepy and i like to look at the little pics on the tiles)
I can honestly say I don't think about oprah in the middle of the night...but i do think it appropriate you put her on a page with Mr. Spock...everything must be logical, right? Although she goes places emotionally that his character wouldn't comprehend...dog=child, visualize it=it will be, tv world=real world

i was born in February and have always hated the word February, I like May much better...you don't sound like you have a mouthful of marbles when you say it : )

Lelia Chealey said...

Oh Lidna, you are too funny!! I wish I could help you out! Call me next time you can't sleep...we'll talk about our She Speaks memories! ;)
On a recent comment you left you asked about me being in hospice...yep. 15+ years. Thinking of going back for awhile. It's such a beautiful thing to spend time with someone dying...lots of grace.
LOVE ya!!!!!

Jodie said...

The only time I'm awake and can't sleep is when I've been forced awake by others. I don't have an insomnia problem. The only reason I can't sleep is THEM! :)

By the way, all that thinking and re-writing rhymes totally makes my brain hurt and would only keep me more and more awake. I'd rather just read blogs and fill my friend's facebook pages with funny paraphrenalia. (I may have misspelled paraphrenalia.)

Anonymous said...

When I'm awake at 4AM, I'm thinking, "Why won't this baby go back to sleep?" LOL

I've never had such deep thoughts that early in the morning.

Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

Oh Lidna,

You should write your books at 4:00 AM. CLASSIC Linda stuff here.

The Pentecostals pushed me over the edge.

Mary said...

Well, I most certainly needed the Safe Thought advice. My thoughts undoubtedly turn toward very emotional annoyances. "Did I leave the garage door up? If so, someone could walk right in and get me!!" "When am I going to find a job?" "Why can't employers realize what a great find I am?" "I should work out tomorrow." sigh - I'll have to figure out a Safe Thought. I don't think I'll ever remember the months poem. :-)

Kristen said...

I am LOL! When I am awake at 4am I do the best that I can to turn off the "chat room" in my head. When nothing works, the television comes on and I watch something totally brainless like an infommercial... usually works like a charm.

Maggie - Mom of Six said...

Thanks.....I just got that rhyme out of my head and now it is back....great...LOL!

When I can't sleep, I do laundry. It is the only household chore I can do without waking anyone else up and I can read, pray, write, think, etc. with no interruptions. There are nights I almost welcome the lack of sleep. Sure do miss it the next day though.

Diane said...

You are too funny. I have those nights. But, I get up early for work (3am), so I can't turn off my internal clock somehow. I only work part-time (2-3 days/wk), but STILL, I'm usually awake. I understand Melatonin works well. Hubby used it when he worked nights.

Lynn said...


You are nuts and I love it. Also, LOVE Spock and wanted to Marry Captin Kirk. Hugs.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

Should I be terribly frightened that I COMPLETELY followed your thinking process?

Yeah.....don't answer that!

Insomnia STINKS!

Anonymous said...

During perimenopause/menopause I have found that xanax is a girls best friend for those sleepless nights!

sara said...

You are so funny and obviously sleep deprived!! I was just letting you know that this dish was very Ken Lee for me. (I'm not sure anyone else who reads my blog would understand that) You would not have recognized the recipe because it came from someone else! You make me laugh!

Praying for sleep for you tonight! :)

Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

Ok, this was FUN-NY!! And I can seriously relate to trying to get your mind into a neutral place in order to sleep. That's why I turn the T.V. on at night. Drives my sweet hubby crazy, but it works.

I did get a little scared though at the shots of Oprah. She's looking a little rough nowadays. Maybe she needs to think positive about those Hefty bags under her eyes? :D

Genny said...

This had me laughing!

Thanks for popping by and letting me know about the video event...I'll be back to check it out.


Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Ha!!! When you started out with "thinking safe thoughts", it totally sounded Oprah-esque. I wouldn't be surprised if she rips off this tagline from you and works it into her next show. :D

Anonymous said...

Please add this to your "Things that Made Me Laugh" side bar thing..It is great.
I, too, have a hard time sleeping..Tylenol PM works sometimes,
if not....Solitaire on the computer can keep me entertained sometimes 'til 4 am


Edie said...

Cracking up as usual!
The only reason I'm ever up at 4:00am is because I haven't gone to bed yet.

I do like Spock btw. I think you need to take a pictue of yourself with just your right eyebrow raised to prove that talent. You could have done that when you took that picture of your iris.

I have a brother named Larry too! Actually it's Larry Dean. He was named after my dad who was also named Larry, but I called him Papa.

Oprah pics are very scary. I wouldn't go there if I couldn't sleep and didn't want to experience emotion.

I haven't bought that camera yet but maybe. I can take quick videos with my camera but w/o sound. Hmmmm.... (lightbulb moment)

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Beck said...

I imagine that I am falling asleep inside an igloo, or that I am laying down in a rowboat, drifting down a gentle stream - very restful thoughts.....

Marina said...

its call menopause and I don't like it!!

Ambien it works ")

It seems like the older you get the more thinks you fine to think about that drive you crazy or is it b/c our bodies are changing all over again? love. marina

Diane said...

I think "how many more hours of sleep will I have if I fall asleep right now?". Then I proceed to stay awake until the ten minutes right before the alarm goes off, during which time I sleep like a baby.

Now, however, I may get up and surf back to this post, and at least be mightily amused!

Debbie said...

Trying to rhyme things would undoubtedly keep me awake longer...

I usually close my eyes and imagine I'm on a raft in the ocean (or pool) relaxing and trying to get a tan (the tan part helps me ignore any hot flashes)and go back to sleep pretty quickly.

PJ said...

I am literally falling asleep now, but you can be sure that at 4 am I will be wide awake. I lost the habit over the summer..but school has started so it's insomnia time. (That would make a song...can you think of a tune??? Insomnia Time...Insomnia time) LOL You are hysterical with you Non-emotive thoughts. Hey would emodium help? Just kidding. Lately I've been getting up and getting to work for an hour. Non-emotiona thoughts wor for me about as well as they do for you!!!

And I'm thinking about that video. I WILL do that one!!!

Nicole said...

The few times I have woke up in the middle of the night I remembered my grandma once telling me that maybe God wants to speak to me or wants me to pray for someone or something. I don't know if that's why you woke up or not but just a thought. Now, I realize this thought might include emotions so I'm not sure how that would work:) Your post was very comical. If you were typing that at 4 in the morning then you were more awake than I am now.


PJ said...

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! You have cured my insomnia. I was so tired last night when I caught up with your blog. I just sort of snorted in the back of my throat when I read this -- too tired to laugh. THEN...I woke up at 3 AM with that familiar wakefulness that means either slogging to my computer and do something useful (or not useful, like blogging)or lie there and struggle to sleep. BUT I REMEMBERED YOUR BLOG. Then...is remembering this blog evoking emotion??? And I started to giggle and the next thing I know, it's morning. Ya put me right to sleep!!! That might be a good way to advertise your next book....it will put you right BACK to sleep!!! ROTFL I mean that in the best possible way!!! Laughter IS the best medicine!

Kim said...

Hi Linda,
I recently came across your blog & love it! Is there anything more frustrating than laying in bed totally unable to sleep??? Thanks for the fun posts....

Sing4joy said...

Well, I'll tell you what - I think I'm going to be sleeping a lot more when I get your 'safe thoughts self-talk' down! Sometimes, I visualize a computer screen and 'type' sleepsleepsleepsleepsleepsleepsleep all the way across and down until the screen is full. I think it works. I can't remember.

Brenda Susan said...

Ha! You are one HILARIOUS WOMAN!!