Someone in the house has insomnia. And it isn’t me. For a change.

Since I stopped trying to run the world more efficiently and focused on trying to make myself happy and productive, I tend not to have insomnia (except for the occasional that-wasn’t-decaf issue). However, C’s gotten into the vicious cycle of waking up a few times a night, getting annoyed/anxious, and then repeating the next night, now even more sleep deprived.

I have to admit, I’m getting a little tired too.

When I was little and had trouble going to sleep (always Sunday nights, even today it is Sunday nights that are the hardest), my mom tried to tell me that there was a spell for going to sleep, just like the spells we’d read about in Witch World and Xanth books. She said that I had to concentrate for the spell to work.

First, I had to find a comfortable position, so comfortable that I could take ten deep breaths without wiggling (in fact, if I wiggled at all, I had to start the whole spell over again).

Next, there was a song I had to recite in my head, taking the same breaths I’d take if I was singing it very slowly, like chanting it. The song:

Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are,
You’ll be sparkling through the night, I’ll be snuggled up so tight.
While you’re smiling at moonbeams, I will see you in my dreams.
Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.
When the light of day is near, you just seem to disappear.
Why do you hide and where do you go? There’s so much that I don’t know.
Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.

Ok, that isn’t the song. I forgot the song long ago. But that is the song from the Soother I worked on at LeapFrog and it is the song I mentally sing to myself now. Though there are a few other songs too. And poems.

Anyway, back to the spell: concentrating on a song, remembering it is a good way to fall asleep. It is hard to worry about all the things I worry about and think about breathing and remember a song.

But wait, there is more to the spell after the song. If you are still awake. I don’t remember what it was… maybe think of ten things… For example, think of ten red things or ten things that puppies play with. No wiggling. This is all mental.

Ten is a funny number. Most brains hold six items easily. Ten is harder, especially when you are sleepy. This definitely drives out all the other things to stay awake to think about.

Sometimes I change this up and multiply 2 x 2 x … 2 x 2 until I get to a new number, ideally not just through my arithmetic errors. Bonus points if I can simultaneously count how many twos this is (as in the N in 2^N).

Still awake? That isn’t so good. You can do this spell three times, switching out poems and mental exercises (or not). But if you are still awake after the third time, just get up. Sit quietly and accept that sleep isn’t going to happen. Maybe get a drink or a snack but don’t force it. Read a book, listen to music. Just don’t try to sleep for an hour.

Finally, not every spell works for everyone every time.

But this one worked pretty well for me.

Sweet dreams.