I have never done this before. Honest. I'm not sure I should be doing it now. On the other hand, I'm truly interested in what others are experiencing in these most difficult of times.. and especially how hard times are affecting their good night's sleep.
So here's the first question. It's one that John Lennon famously posed, in song--supposedly to Paul McCartney.
1) How do you sleep at night?
Is your sleep affected by the national angst? Do you drop off easily, as you always did? Or does it take a while to get to sleep?
I was talking with a widely-respected financial whiz, the other day, upon whose judgment my wife and I have relied heavily over the years for our financial well-being, and he confided in me that he is losing a good deal of sleep over the current economic crisis and the plummeting stock market. There can be few people in America who remain unaffected by the downturn, and we ourselves--at an, um, respectable age and no longer reliant on such good things as a reliable income--are concerned about the years to come, and particularly about the length of time it might take for the economy to recover. It was hardly encouraging, in this circumstance, to learn that even a cool, wise head like this one has been losing sleep. In his NYT column last Friday, Paul Krugman wrote: "things are so bad that [even] the summarized musings of central bankers can keep you up at night."
I'm normally a fine sleeper, aside from the one or two nightly calls of nature to which I must respond. Lately, though, I have noticed that getting back to sleep is harder than it used to be. My mind is occupied, not necessarily with the global economy front and center, but perhaps--no, I'm sure--somewhere in the background. A general sense of dread. So...
2) What strategies, if needed, do you use to get to sleep? Pills? Sheep? Late night television shows? And/or...?
For me, counting sheep is useless and irritating. And breathing, watching the breath, is no longer a good option: my mind has learned, through meditation practice, that watching the breath means Wake Up! Be Alert! Not exactly conducive to the return to dreamland.
3) Do you wake up in the middle of the night, plagued by obsessive thoughts?
Actually I wake up for that trip to the bathroom. It's when I get back that the obsessive thoughts kick in. And if so...
4) What strategies do you have to get back to sleep?
Hmmm. I have to confess that, once in a while, I resort to popping half an Ambien. Otherwise, patience...
5) Are your dreams affected? Are they more anxious than before? Do they wake you up in a sweat? Or are they peaceful, innocent, undisturbed by the general malaise?
I have, yes, noticed that I have been having anxiety dreams. I have never been too at remembering any of my dreams, though. I'm lucky if I wake up with the tail end of a thread to start unraveling. Last night, a snatch: I was scheduled to give a lecture, and was boarded in a kind of dormitory with a single long corridor. I had the choice of two bathrooms for a shower before my lecture. My friend--I knew him well, but had no idea who he actually was--took one of them... and I found myself locked out of the other. So the anxiety is definitely there in the dreams, something that hangs around after I wake, in ways difficult to describe.
So how are you doing? That's what I'm keen to know. And I thought it might make an interesting meme. About a year or so ago, I kept coming across these strange beasts on the blogosphere. Not so much any more. Maybe everyone is bored with them. And I'm frankly unsure how they work, or if they're just a burdensome nuisance. But should you find it appropriate to address this theme, I'd love to read some entries on your blog sites in response.
I understand that a meme needs rules. Mine are:
Answer the questions
Link back to the original meme
Tag others to participate
I'll understand perfectly should you consider this rude, intrusive, or inappropriate. But in the spirit of authentic meme-ing, I'm tagging, herewith:
A Quiet Watercourse
Let It Be Lindsey
Marko Polo (even though he's in Greece!)
Principle of Uncertainty
When This Is, That Is
Please let me know...
And, needless to say, any other of my wonderful blogger friends are welcome to participate as well.