To Dream, Perchance . . . of Placebo Sleep?

I have a confession. I have an embarrassing affliction.

One that happens in the bedroom. Now get your mind out of the gutter. My sleep is bonkers. I can count on one hand the number of nights since I was a kid that I slept seven hours in a row. I sleep walk, sleep talk and even sleep shop. Even my doctor gave up on me. When he diagnosed me with chronic sleepus interruptus, I zombied my way home . IPad ping

The night before, I finally became lost in slumber, after hours of fitful tossing and turning. Then a sound jolted me upright. What was this noise? A clap of thunder? An ambulance siren, wailing outside my window? A mass murderer holding a kitchen knife ready to slit my throat? (Yes, I know I watch too many late-night horror movies and read too many murder mysteries. But you have to do something to pass the time at night or you lose it.)
The egregious sound? The ping from my iPad, as it registered I had a Facebook notification. This tiny sound made it 30 feet down my hall, past my closed, wooden bedroom door, and right through my earplugs. That was the straw that woke this living dead.

Sandman’s curse

I think the sandman has me cursed. I’m pickier than the princess and the pea in bed. All she needed was a measly twenty mattresses and twenty eiderdown featherbeds to sleep. Me? I sleep naked, on sheets smoother than a baby’s bum, with three duvets, two non-feather pillows, blackout curtains . . . and I put tape over the display on my digital alarm clock. Then there are the aforementioned earplugs. Sadly, the only ones that work make me look like Frankenstein, except with spongy neon-orange head bolts.


Some nights, in sleep, my legs move like a Celtic dancer on meth. And more than one lover has been scared off by the Exorcist-gibberish spilling from my lips while we slept. I also sleep with one eye open. Now, my dad said my mom did that because she wanted to keep an eye on him at all times, lest he stray. I have no idea why I do.

I know it’s getting worse. A few weeks back, I awoke upright in my bed holding one of my son’s three-by-four foot, framed, oil paintings. Seems I took it off my bedroom wall. Perhaps I’ve invented sleep redecorating?

Placebo sleep

Then I read new research into “placebo” sleep. It seems if you think you are well-rested, you’ll feel better, sleep or not.

I like it. If it works, it could be useful for other things I’m bad at. Think placebo income-tax filing. Or placebo holiday visits to lame relatives. You never know. Perhaps I’m placebo writing right now. Frankly, I’m too tired to tell.

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