Perchance to Dream
November 27, 2021 8:02 PM   Subscribe

Sleep - so essential for body and mind, and yet sometimes so elusive. Can’t sleep after too much revenge bedtime procrastination? No need to stress. Grab your favorite teddy bear, and snuggle in.

If your bedroom is too quiet (or not quiet enough), myNoise has your solution, whether you prefer one of the many shades of white noise, rain on your tent, a Japanese garden, something more melodic, or one of the more than 200 other customizable generators.

Fancy practicing yoga lying down? No, not that yoga. Allow Jennifer Piercy to introduce you to the gentle practice of yoga nidra. You can freely indulge via two releases on Do Yoga with Me - Yoga Nidra with Jennifer Piercy or Yoga Nidra Sleep Sessions.

You’ll find more of Jennifer’s guided meditations on Insight Timer along with more than 4,700 other free sleepy time meditations, music, and talks.

If you prefer a bedtime story, two beautifully crafted tales are available every week thanks to the good people at the Get Sleepy podcast. Premium subscribers enjoy a third along with access to a growing back catalogue of over 140 episodes. Walk in Monet’s garden, follow the flight of a butterfly, visit an ancient city in the clouds, or listen to the story of Cora’s perfect day.

Looking for a few more chapters? Elizabeth Grace from Get Sleepy lends her divine voice to classic literature on The Sleepy Bookshelf. Choose from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Pride and Prejudice, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and others, with more to come. The Romance of Jedediah is a great starting point.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s past my bedtime.
posted by ReginaHart (21 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite
5mg of melatonin always does the trick for me. Speaking of which…
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:33 PM on November 27, 2021 [3 favorites]

The Nothing Much Happens podcast is a lovely way to relax. It's presented as a sleep aid but I find it more useful as a soothing, gentle thing to listen to when I need a break during the day.

Agreed with the recommendation of Jennifer Percy's Yoga Nidra as well, and thank you to the Mefite who recommended it to me . It manages to use beautiful, poetic language in a way that doesn't trigger my woo-dectector.

I found this interview with her very interesting, especially when she talks about our expectations about sleeping, "wakeism", and how important it is to recognize that sleep problems are not just something to solve on an individual level, but are a symptom of larger problems in our society.
posted by Zumbador at 9:06 PM on November 27, 2021 [3 favorites]

Thank you so much for this. A couple weeks ago I found myself crying at the end of (NYT) “Did Covid change how we dream?” It wasn’t the piece itself (though well-written and interesting), it was the feeling that I had traveled so far away from my dreaming self and felt lost and disconnected without my dreams. It has been a long time since I have been able to consistently have deep enough sleep to dream. I am just beginning to understand how important dreaming is to me so this post came at the perfect time.
posted by CMcG at 4:51 AM on November 28, 2021 [5 favorites]

An insight I had while reading Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep”:

There is now a scientific consensus that, while you are asleep, your brain is doing various important maintenance tasks. But I still operated for years under the perspective that first you fell asleep, and then this neurological-maintenance started to happen. Now I think that adds a step. Sleep is just what it feels like while your brain is doing this work instead of processing your surroundings.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 5:15 AM on November 28, 2021 [5 favorites]

This is a tech useability derail rant.

I keep the phone in the bedroom for one or two family numbers that are the just in case/rare but important category.

Why in friggn hells can the code not suppress all other sounds, pings, vibrates except for JUST two numbers? (I know a lot of the reasons) Wouldn't just that be a feature that would sell lots of phones? I do actually know how to track down all the various hidden options within long chains of settings, tedious but doable, but there is always one more odd exception. I would pay well for a reliable 'app' add on to do this. So many thousands of useless fart apps, millions of man hours for a bit of attention grabbing glitz, why not one simple (ya ya messy messy architecture) feature to make folks sleep better?
posted by sammyo at 5:40 AM on November 28, 2021 [5 favorites]

I had never heard of "revenge sleep procrastination" before:
  • I do this! I stay up late because I want that extra 10, 15, 30 minutes of not-at-work time.
  • I didn't know there was a term!
  • I thought it was just my own strange habit. There are others like me!
Was work always like this, or did it just get this way in the past thirty years or so?
posted by MrGuilt at 5:44 AM on November 28, 2021 [12 favorites]

Sammyo, iphone does this in sleep mode and do not disturb. Just turn emergency bypass on for the contacts you need to get through.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 6:26 AM on November 28, 2021 [5 favorites]

Yoga Nidra is great for sleeping, but is also a technique used for self/body separation, when practiced with the intent of staying awake during the process. (Apologies to those allergic to woo-woo.)
posted by kozad at 6:43 AM on November 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Sammyo, I think this is called 'do not disturb" on my Android phone, and you can set up the times, or turn it on at any time. You can set it to allow "starred" contacts through.
posted by eustatic at 6:58 AM on November 28, 2021

I have an agreement with myself that when I start to worry about something, I make an appointment with myself to worry about it at 10:00 am the next day.
posted by Peach at 7:01 AM on November 28, 2021 [6 favorites]

Joe Pera Talks You to Sleep
posted by knilstad at 7:10 AM on November 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

I keep the phone in the bedroom for one or two family numbers that are the just in case/rare but important category.

I do too, but I keep my phone on do not disturb with a few people marked as starred contacts that allows them through. I've also let a few other family members know that I keep my phone "silent" overnight but that if it's an emergency, calling twice in a row will ring through to it. Both ways work. (And I can tell you from times my family has had emergencies, they call a few times if I don't get the phone right away, so even without being told that's a pretty natural tendency.)
posted by blueberry monster at 9:11 AM on November 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Since treating my sleep apnea, my sleep has improved tremendously. Before I thought I was sleeping OK, 8 solid hours. But I was tired all the time and taking long naps during the day, sometimes unplanned. I finally put two and two together and got an oximeter which told me I was having serious breathing problems. After a real sleep test I got a CPAP machine and the difference is just amazing. I have so much more energy! I can read books again without falling asleep! My blood pressure is lower!

Apologies for going somewhat off topic but it's amazing what a huge difference this has made in my life. If you think you might have trouble breathing when sleeping, please get it looked into. Glad to talk offline too. I wrote a blog post about my experience as well.
posted by Nelson at 10:37 AM on November 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

There is now a scientific consensus that, while you are asleep, your brain is doing various important maintenance tasks.

Likely true; however, there's now compelling evidence that sleep pre-dates brains, with the discovery that jellyfish not only sleep, but have a hard time the next day if you keep them up all night [Current Biology, 2017]:
Do all animals sleep? Sleep has been observed in many vertebrates, and there is a growing body of evidence for sleep-like states in arthropods and nematodes [1-5]. Here we show that sleep is also present in Cnidaria [6-8], an earlier-branching metazoan lineage. Cnidaria and Ctenophora are the first metazoan phyla to evolve tissue-level organization and differentiated cell types, such as neurons and muscle [9-15]. In Cnidaria, neurons are organized into a non-centralized radially symmetric nerve net [11-17] that nevertheless shares fundamental properties with the vertebrate nervous system: action potentials, synaptic transmission, neuropeptides, and neurotransmitters [15-20]. It was reported that cnidarian soft corals [21] and box jellyfish [22, 23] exhibit periods of quiescence, a pre-requisite for sleep-like states, prompting us to ask whether sleep is present in Cnidaria.

Within Cnidaria, the upside-down jellyfish Cassiopea spp. displays a quantifiable pulsing behavior, allowing us to perform long-term behavioral tracking. Monitoring of Cassiopea pulsing activity for consecutive days and nights revealed behavioral quiescence at night that is rapidly reversible, as well as a delayed response to stimulation in the quiescent state. When deprived of nighttime quiescence, Cassiopea exhibited decreased activity and reduced responsiveness to a sensory stimulus during the subsequent day, consistent with homeostatic regulation of the quiescent state. Together, these results indicate that Cassiopea has a sleep-like state, supporting the hypothesis that sleep arose early in the metazoan lineage, prior to the emergence of a centralized nervous system.
posted by heatherlogan at 10:37 AM on November 28, 2021 [11 favorites]

Yoga Nidra is the only thing that gets me back to sleep after I wake up at 4am (every dang day). It’s very effective for me.
posted by asimplemouse at 11:25 AM on November 28, 2021

I have never made it more than 10 minutes into this documentary.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:20 AM on November 29, 2021

Wasn’t there a study where people slept worse if their phone was in the bedroom (even if was off)?
posted by gottabefunky at 9:57 AM on November 29, 2021

Spoiler/PSA: This is a test of the Emergency Rickroll Threadmonitoring System. @jeffanaphone’s link is NOT a rickroll. In the event of a real rickroll this post would provide emergency information. This is only a test. We now return you to your regularly asynchronous thread reading.
posted by drowsy at 12:02 PM on November 29, 2021

I have an agreement with myself that when I start to worry about something, I make an appointment with myself to worry about it at 10:00 am the next day.

I used to be able to do this, but lately the briefest, quickest thought of "did you for to file that/overlook that deadline/contact that person like you should have/forget the produce now decaying in the fridge/not water the garden" pushes me into a hot flash. It's incredibly annoying and (surprise, surprise) doesn't actually seem to be helping me get more organized to get stuff done, sigh.

I'm not sure if it's helpful or not that my watch lets me check the next morning to see just how badly I slept. Last night: bad!

(Those little USB-powered rechargeable fans that are ubiquitous in Kpop behind-the-scenes videos are a lifesaver, IME.)
posted by Lexica at 1:34 PM on November 29, 2021

Last night was the first in weeks I didn't revenge bedtime procrastinate, to which my body responded by waking me up from 4:30-5:30am. Why???
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:24 PM on November 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

I urge anyone who has trouble getting to sleep to look into the cognitive shuffle. Here's my own personal take on it, but there are other approaches, apps, and so on:

Pick a letter of the alphabet.
Start counting your heartbeat.
Every eight beats, think of a word that begins with the letter.

I started doing this a couple of years ago after struggling with getting to sleep my whole life, and now I can sleep when I want to. I can nap. Naps are amazing.
posted by MrVisible at 9:20 PM on November 29, 2021 [5 favorites]

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