I didn’t get any writing done last weekend. I meant to. I even brought my computer out into the woods. But the hike up to Grouse Butte took a lot more out of me than I expected. By the time I got back to the trailhead, I was ready for a nap.
I didn’t take a nap, though maybe I should have. I’m not very good at napping. Especially when I have only a small amount of time in which to sleep. I find that I can’t relax enough to fall asleep, because I’m too worried about waking back up on time. That’s why I can never nap during my lunch hour at work.
Sometimes, I’ll lie down quietly and try to nap during the lunch hour, on days when I’m particularly tired, but even if I set an alarm, I get paranoid. I just can’t relax into sleep. Very unlike my husband, who can drop off at a moment’s notice and feel refreshed after a nap as short as a minute. But he was in the military, so I suppose that’s something he learned there – get sleep when you can.
I’ve gone through different phases in my life when it comes to sleeping. Times when I needed to have some light on, and times when I needed absolute darkness. Sometimes, music that is barely audible, others, a movie (also barely audible), other times silence. Though even wearing ear plugs isn’t getting me anywhere near silence lately. And not because of my husband’s snoring! No, these days, I sleep to the sound of fans, air conditioning and the dishwasher running.
Actually, the dishwasher is pretty good at putting me to sleep. I don’t know what I’ll do if I ever get one of those new, efficient, quiet models. Maybe I can play a recording on YouTube of a noisy dishwasher.
My brain likes to come up with new tricks to keep me awake despite my best efforts. Spinning on thoughts that I can always think about the next day. Focusing on aches and pains. Considering whether my bladder should be emptied again for so long that it actually does need to be emptied again…
I don’t always have a good way to get around those tricks and fall asleep. There’s a book that I like, Quarantine by Greg Egan, that has an interesting bit about sleep. The book takes place in a future where neural implants are commonplace, and owned by the main character. There is a neural implant called Boss, and it allows one to literally choose to sleep with the “press” of a “button” in your head. But that doesn’t cure insomnia. You still have to choose it.
I wonder, if I had the ability to choose to sleep like flipping a switch, would I use it? Or would I wallow in my spinning thoughts, putting off the choice? I’d like to think I’d choose it. Nights when all I want is to fall asleep, but my mind won’t quiet, I’d definitely use it.
At least, I think I would.