Tuesday, November 1, 2016

How to Shut Up a Chatty Brain

Before I begin: Episode 3 is out! 

Praise the Lord, my bed is my sanctuary, as opposed to my torture chamber, as it would be for those struggling with insomnia. For them, "going to bed" is as onerous a task as, say, "going to the gym" would be for me: a dreadful fate to be avoided. 

There are some nights, however, that sleep is elusive. If there is a next-day to-do list, "the monkey mind" repeats the same information over and over. At times, while I am exhausted, I am still tense, unable to "let go," even when there is no conscious reason for my discomfort. 
After I read "The Insomnia Machine" by Pagan Kennedy, I recalled that if a shiur is playing in the car, I drift into a happy place and invariably doze off (obviously, when I'm a passenger). If on edge under my blankie, shouldn't the same premise apply? 

There came one night soon following when tossing and turning were present. Bleary-eyed, I reached for the tablet (which had kindly suggested a nightly automatic blue-light flick-off) and tapped open a shiur on torahanytime. In short order, my brain's hysteria was lulled, floating peacefully to the ebb and flow of my calculated yoga breath. I turned it off, rolled over, and slid into delicious sleep. 

Another night, I tried a TED talk, with the same results. 

On Dr. Oz, in a segment about the above, the "Sleep with Me" podcast was suggested—listen to this guy for five minutes and I was passing out, and this was midday. 

On motzei Shabbos Chol HaMoed I found myself sleepless, but there was a snoring nephew in the next bed. I don't use headphones in general, and I was gazing longingly at the tablet. I eventually risked it, moving the volume down and pressing the speaker to my ear. I embraced the machine-ka, soothed by Pico Iyer and whatever the heck he was reasonably talking about. 


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