Saturday, October 21, 2006

It's 5 am on Saturday,

and I'm wide awake.
I have a series of experiments going on at school, and we have a grant due Nov. 1, so for the past few days I have been popping awake at 4:30 or 5 am wondering whether I should have calculated the number of cells before I put them in culture or whether I should test the hemoglobin assay before I run real samples or how I can remove the adherent cells or...............
Normally I sleep like the dead - I don't move, I don't make any noise, and I generally sleep so deeply that I don't remember dreaming about anything. I am becoming more and more like my Mom in that I requre a good 9 hours per night. But if my sleep pattern is disrupted for some reason, that's when anxiety makes it's appearance. I'm not saying I don't get stressed out during the day, I do, but non-specific worry shows up immediately if I awaken when I shouldn't. I think it just sits around, somewhere in my lower stomach area, and waits for 5 am to roll around when there isn't anyone else to talk to.
I was talking with my Mom and Dad last weekend about what they do to fall asleep again. My Mom is a counter, concentrating slowly and carefully on each individual number. My Dad imagines a blank sheet of paper, which must be so boring that eventually it puts him back to sleep. For some reason, I've always typed: if my thoughts are racing, I will attempt to slow things down by in a stream-of-consciousness sort of way. Sometimes I type out the title "The Things that I hear" and then type out a list:
R. snoring
crinkly sound of my head on the pillow
refrigerator noises
and so on.
When I was in high school and undergrad I used to work in a doctor's office, and I filed a lot of patient charts. Back then I would think of a patient whose last name started with A, type that out, move on to a last name starting with B, etc. I don't remember ever making it past R or maybe S.
(In case you're wondering, my mind is typing not on a computer keyboard, but on an old fashioned typewriter).
What do you do to fall asleep again?
What are your techniques for drifting back to sleep?


Anonymous lipcan3 said...

I love the illustration at the bottom of the BBC article- you can see where the sheet wrinkles under the body.

I'm a soldier & foetus nearly equally, though I wouldn't say my arms are 'pinned to my sides' if I'm on my back.

10:25 AM  

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