Ten Things That Help Me Sleep

Photo taken by Ani Laya M. Estopace, 6.

I WAS a walking dead when I woke up late morning.

My shoulders ached and my feet refused to shuttle me to the bathroom with half-open eyes and slow neurons. Since I was gifted with the insight of the three stooges, I immediately concluded lack of sleep was the culprit; except for the slow neurons -it’s natural.

I remembered two friends of mine had the same experience –lack of sleep, not being zombies: a professor in a Church-run school and a writer as prolific as yours truly (based on my unintelligible standards, of course).

Anyway, I wrote up this list to help me remember what to do and what to avoid so I can avoid these late morning realizations and go back to doing what I do best: sleeping.

[Caution: May contain contents inappropriate for my 14-year-old daughter and people like her who are smart enough to see beyond the couched seriousness, which are few and far between, of contents.]
[Disclaimer: No scientific evidence offered; sarcasm abundant. These forward-looking statements are based on the experience of the author and should be regarded as professional advice only by idiots.]

1. Engage in a physical release of body fluid. Ooops; for sensitive readers: it’s a three-letter word that starts with the letter S and ends with the letter X. It’s neither a contraction of the word saxophone nor the word “sucks,” although both are tools for satisfaction. Whether and however one does this, with the presence or absence of willing participant or participants, is the least of my concerns. But based on my limited knowledge of the subject, it works! Doesn’t it, dear? Heh.

2. Clean the house. Do the household chores if there’s nobody to do it to. But sweep the floor or scrub the toilet tiles with little noise as possible, especially if neighbours or housemates are already down the rabbit hole at 12 midnight.

3. Walk, or do some exercise. I’ve recommended this to my friend who teaches journalism and has been yawning almost every afternoon at the office. Since I live inside a university campus, walking outdoors is safe. I also get to see the place where somebody recently dumped a corpse as well as meet a group of young informal settlers (read: squatters) out to have fun in the unlit recesses of the tree-filled fields.

4. Read a boring material. If the requirements for the first item in this list are absent, especially the consenting partner, grab a book or material you’ve put off reading a century ago. Go for titles like “The intricate life of a mite trainer.” I also recommend reading notes to annual reports, disclaimers appended to financial statements, and end-user license agreements. I guarantee not finishing the second sentence.

5. Watch a boring movie. If you’re not fond of the intellectual exercise called reading (which makes me wonder how you got to this point so far), then try watching television to sleep. TV shows today are so helpful in deadening the mind and shocking the brain to a stoic state. I’ve done this while in hotels on an overseas business trip and after #s 1, 3, and 4 remained ineffective. Of course, expect to wake up either with a white noise in the middle of an eerie morning or a sky-rocketing electricity bill to shock you back to sleep.

6. File things. Maybe it’s time to arrange in chronological order the receipts you’ve stored in nook and crannies. Maybe it’s time to put in alphabetical order the calling cards you’ve amassed for the past decade. I’ve done this and remained effective in making me go from A to Zzzzz even before I reach B.

7. Soak in a tub or take a warm bath. I've done this in a hotel that had a bathroom with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. There was a satisfaction of looking at the landscape of Singapore at night while naked under water and suds. Also good as a prelude to #1 in this list, or after cleaning or filing. This is also an opportunity to clean using cotton buds almost every body orifice. I said, almost! But I won’t stop anybody getting a kick of sticking cotton buds in the nether regions, …yuck. I can’t even finish the previous sentence.

8. Paper works. Some fall to sleep after bringing an attaché case full of paperwork from the office; others, just the mere thought of extending slavery after eight hours of number crunching lulls them to stupor. There’s also origami, which I do, because there’s certain calmness in folding paper. Also, I’ve been recycling papers that have one side bare: cutting these into pocket-size pieces and, using superglue, make them into notepads.

9. Empty the mind. There’s nothing like freeing the mind from worries, especially when and where to reach the first item on this list, as a better sedative. Some count sheep; others count backwards from ten or until there’s nothing except blankness of thoughts. “It is a dimension that's as vast as space and as timeless as infinity”…nunininununini... I heard some politicians have perfected emptying the mind since there was nothing to take out from it in the first place.
10. Surf blog entries like this. Wow. If you reached this stage, you really need to see a sleep doctor since I never expected such boring entries like this can keep you up. However, the Internet is a sixth dimension of sorts that offers a lot of mind-numbing tools. However, I’d rather you get a life.

Many things -such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly- are done worst when we try hardest to do them.
to C.S. Lewis, author of “The Chronicles of Narnia”]

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