We’ve all experienced it at one time or another: the inability to fall asleep. I’m not talking about full-blown insomnia, just the occasional restless, fitful sleepless night, the kind of night that finds your mind racing through all the events of the previous day and all the upcoming responsibilities of the next. I have that kind of night more frequently than I would like, but I have found a couple ways of coping with that restless mind and coaxing it into sleepyness.
Often, when sleep seems particularly illusive, I focus my mind on finding the next, so far undiscovered, unnamed color. I am convinced that somewhere out there in nature there is a new color that man has yet to see and experience. It is a combination of Nature’s finest efforts, multiplied and intensified beyond our imagining, then muted subtly into a visual creaminess that will wash over our optical sense, blanketing us in a contentment so far unknown. Focusing on that search works to focus my mind so that all those intrusive and upsetting thoughts are swept into the corner, left there to gather dust unnoticed. Sleep usually follows quickly after my mental color safari begins. I have yet to even come close finding that new color, so the search continues on those nights when a restless mind means to get the better of me. I hope I never find that perfect color, for if I do, I will have to find some new quest to take its place in order to get the sleep I need.
Another favorite technique for inducing sleep out of the restless fidgeting that follows an overly active day is to play a flawless round of golf on the perfectly groomed golf course in my head. Teeing off with a laser-like drive 300 yards down the middle of the impossibly verdant fairway starts me on an imaginary round that is nothing but perfect drives, long iron shots to tight pins, soaring wedges that stop dead next to the hole and never-missed putts of any length. Perfection is possible on that golf course in my head. Usually by the fifth or sixth hole I have drifted off to a contented sleep, safe in the knowledge that I am the world’s greatest golfer. At least as long as dreams last.
So those are my two sure ways to wrestle sleep from the clutches of latent insomnia. They work for me most of the time. When they don’t, there are always drugs or the flock of sheep that somehow manages to leap the fence one at a time in orderly disciplined fashion. Or when truly desperate, the more natural sedative of “War and Peace” or an enervating slog through anything written by James Joyce will make you sleep or, if you are not careful, comatose.