Hello my sneer friends. Recently I went through an eye-opening and scary time, and I wanted to share some of my experience with you. My hope is that anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation will be prepared if this ever happens to them.

I’d been watching the Gordon Ramsey-led reality television show “Hotel Hell.” The sound of an Englishman yelling at people for keeping a refrigerator full of beetles or for making a placenta mural in the foyer really brings me down and gets me to a place where I’m ready to sleep at night. Sometimes in my dreams Gordon is riding a giant horse, and he trots up to the field where I take my picnics, and he showers me with warm beef wellingtons. The crust hits my cheeks with an audible crunch and I beam with pride at my famous man pastry cow circles.

Then it happened. One night, unable to quite make my way through an episode, I paused the show, to continue later.

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A startling visage now lay before me – I knew it was human but there was something wrong – a feeling deep in my spine, a tingle in my feet and a sense of dread rolled through me all at once. If this frame of the show really belonged here, what could possibly happen next?

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I love sleep but I often feel like I do not get enough, and I don’t really have any experience with successfully falling asleep with any regularity unless I am exhausted. However, I have little tricks to help me get in the mood for sleep. Often, these tricks involve YouTube or Netflix.

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Once upon a time, I could not sleep if the television or radio were on, because I’d want to pay attention to it, whatever it was. But along the way, I have discovered a few shows that I have seen so often, or have been watching when I was already exhausted often enough that I have made a mental link between the two, that I am lulled into snoozeland within an hour.

There are a few television shows with live actors that I can sleep to, sometimes against all odds, such as Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I can let that play on Netflix for days and be soothed, despite the fact that they never stop screaming or being unbelievably hostile. But I find that what really does the trick are animated shows. It isn’t that I am returned to an age where I could sleep easily, because these are all shows I have watched in adulthood, mostly. Nevertheless, they possess a quality, each one of them, that guides me to where I want to be. Maybe they can do the same for you? Plenty can be found in YouTube in full, but in some cases, you’re going to have to find them yourself. Good luck.

 

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From time to time, I lose my mind and become convinced that I drink too much coffee. I know people are always doing some sort of martyred brag-lamentation about the truly colossal amounts of coffee that they drink in a day, but I’m not one of those. I drink very small amounts of coffee, only two to four cups a day, but I drink it EVERY day. Sometimes I notice that if my coffeedrink routine gets messed up, my personality takes a turn for the worse. Sometimes when I notice that, I become indignant! How dare coffee treat me like that! So then I resolve to show it a thing or two about dependency and I quit it.

I have heard of people quitting all of caffeine, but I have never done that. I just sometimes quit drinking coffee but then switch off to heroic amounts of tea. As great as tea is, it never seems to be a good replacement for the coffee caffeine that my body apparently has grown to need. Tea is there for drinking after the coffee has been finished for the day. Therefore, I have probably not even experienced actual caffeine withdrawal to the fullest extent. Even so, once when I quit only-coffee for two weeks, I had a seven day long headache that did not respond to medication, as well as feelings of impending death that lasted for the same length of time.

Maybe you have been thinking that you could use a break from coffee? Perhaps you are like me, and resent that you are apparently HOOKED. Perhaps you would like to prove to yourself and your coffee that you can stop any time you want. As a seasoned veteran of quitting the bitter bean, I am here to help you. Quick! Take my tremoring hand as I take you down the dark and frightening path to potentially healthier living!

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Sleep doesn’t really come to me easily. I am regularly snubbed by the Sandman, and I have been for many, many years now. I’ve tried a lot of different methods to promote a peaceful slumber, regular sleep patterns, or even just a block of snoozing that winds up being semi-restful. Some things work for a while, but apparently my unconscious mind hates routine as much as my awake mind does, because it eventually gets bored and rejects it. Boo hoo all I want is to sleep!

This is all I ever want!

However, over the past few months, I have discovered the joys of hours-long YouTube videos with ambient sounds! It actually worked for me to drift off while listening to ten hours of rainfall, eleven hours of rushing stream, or twelve hours of ocean sounds. When I realized that hours of moving-water noises might actually mess with my sleeping bladder, I tried nifty things like eight hours of forest and six hours of English countryside and dear lord even eight hours of a cat purring. Those sunny ones were both good for having that midday nap feeling and the cat one somehow begins to massage the center of your brain… I have even dozed happily to twelve hours of ambient engine noise from a Star Trek ship, even though I do not really ever watch that show!

Tibetan bowls, lakes, white noise, the sounds of busy restaurants, and binaural theta waves – there are so many excellent videos on here just to make our lives more restful. Thousands of hours just sitting there, waiting for you to discover and test out. But, there are some that just don’t do it right. The first couple of times were accidental, but I immediately noticed that they affected me as I slept. I’ve gone and tested a few in the name of SCIENCE and I’ve come out a changed person – a more cautious person. I am here to tell you to not do these things. Do not do as I have done.

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