Saturday, September 14, 2013

A sleep trick that works for me

I know from the email messages I receive and from talking to people at conventions and other appearances that quite a few folks who read my work suffer in various ways from PTSD.  Many people with PTSD have sleep troubles.  Some have a hard time falling asleep.  Others have a hard time staying asleep, often waking many times in the night.  I have both issues.  What a surprise.

On this most recent trip, though, by pure happenstance I found a trick that helped me fall asleep, so I thought I'd pass it along in case it could help others. 

I need to explain first that my normal facial expression ranges from what I think of as neutral, which many call "angry," to what I think of as annoyed, which many call "Who the fuck are you looking at?  I'm going to kill you."  Put differently, I'm not the sort of person who walks around all the time with a smile on his face.  (I do laugh and joke a lot, but we're talking here about my face at rest.) 

The first night of this past trip, after turning out the bedside lamp, I thought of something that made me happy, and I involuntarily smiled at the thought.  I was exhausted, so I was lucky enough to fall asleep quickly, the smile still there. 

The next night, I was also exhausted, but I was having my usual trouble falling asleep.  I wondered why the previous night had been different, and then I recalled that I had smiled right before I fell asleep.  I figured, what the heck, it couldn't hurt to try again.  I thought about some things that made me happy until I found myself smiling again, and then I fell asleep quickly. 

This trick has worked for me on every night since then that the room I've been in has been quiet.  (It doesn't help in a noisy space, but that's a different issue.)  Admittedly, that's less than a week, but it does seem to help me and be repeatable, so I'm passing it along in case it works for you.

To my own surprise, I now plan to always try to fall asleep smiling. 

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