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Insomnia: The Bane of Middle and Other Ages
by Marjorie Dorfman

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The following alternatives may give you the illusion of control over the situation. Upon awakening, immediately arouse your pet and /or pets and spouse and/or spouses and make them play with you. You pay rent. You have the right. If you live alone, play with yourself. This may help to pass time, but it will not aid you in returning to sleep. You must also completely accept the fact that you are awake. To toss and turn is a waste of time and energy. Make a pot of coffee instead. Also, make the bed as soon as you get up, even if other people are still sleeping in it. This is not the time to be considerate and if you remain in bed, I promise that you will toss and turn for hours, only to fall into the deepest slumber imaginable ten minutes before you have to awaken. You will not only be tireder than you were before you went to sleep, but also tireder than you ever dreamed possible. Stay awake if you have to prop your eyes open with toothpicks! Do not consider passing time by calling your friends unless there is someone in your entourage whom you do not like. In that case, why not give them a call? This will not help you get any rest, but at least you will have the satisfaction of knowing that someone you can’t stand is awake now too and by your own hand as well!
count sheep
Try to make constructive use of this new-found time. Perhaps there is an old movie you’ve always wanted to see somewhere on television? Or, (and this is not advised because it might curtail the problem), try to understand what it was that awakened you. A dream about the problem? A problem about the dream? Self-analysis can be helpful in these wee hours, as everything is less painful to contemplate when one is semi-conscious. Consider every mistake you have made over the course of your entire life (Include recipes that went wrong and sales items that didn’t fit or work when you got them home.) In this way, the next day is completely set up for a host of negative disasters and thus, another sleepless night.

All kidding aside, there is some hope at the end of the sleepless tunnel. With relaxation therapy, you can learn specific and effective procedures that can reduce or eliminate anxiety and body tension. As a result, your mind can finally stop racing, muscles can relax and restful sleep can occur. It usually takes much practice, however, to learn these techniques and to achieve effective relaxation. Sleep restriction can also help because many people spend too much time in bed unsuccessfully trying to sleep. If you have a friend who can’t sleep, engage him or her in the process. Have him or her wake you up if you go over the allotted time for sleep on any given night. Sleep time is gradually increased until a more normal night’s rest is achieved. Consider reconditioning. This means going back in your brain to recondition the association of the bed with bedtime and sleep. This also means putting those clothes and Christmas ornaments back in the closet and not using the bed for any activities other than sleep and sex. Go to bed only when sleepy even if you have to stay up until dawn to get there. Avoid naps and go to bed at the same time each night.

sound asleep Despite all of the above, there is really no cure for insomnia. At best, you can only hope to reduce the symptoms that cause it. However, habits and life style changes are certainly a step in the right direction. Suicide is not recommended in most instances, although it is a sure-fire way to guarantee that concern for waking in the middle of the night will disappear forever. Changing your vocation to accommodate the malady might work. Consider renting yourself out as a wake-up service and make a few extra bucks in the process. This will also aid in reducing hostility, as you will be forcing your own problem onto others. I have no other answers or suggestions. I have temporarily alleviated my own insomnia by writing this article. You find your own way. Now I’m tired. Good night!

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"Age - something that doesn't matter unless you are a cheese."
. . . Billie Burke Ziegfeld, 1884-1970

"No man is ever old enough to know better."
. . . Holbrook Jackson, Ladies Home Journal, 1950

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