Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Going toes up

I have begun using a technique to fall asleep and it works miraculously well. I start with my toes. I think about them, from the outside, from the inside. Then I work my way up my feet, my legs, doing the same at every pause. As I do this often one of my legs begins to spasm. It starts in my knee and it tenses up momentarily and then let's go again. I find it works best to just go with it. It's doesn't hurt and it doesn't last long.

I have never made it past my waist with this exercise. Almost as soon as I start my mind quiets and I see the blackness in front of me. The comforting blackness of sleep, that is. Sometimes when I'm trying to fall asleep I tumble into the blackness and that's not frightening but it's also not restful. It doesn't lead to a satisfying sleep. When I work my way up my body from my toes I enter the blackness gently but also confidently.

Sometimes, like last night, I'll be beyond the threshold of the darkness, more than halfway asleep, but something will be amiss in the waking world and I will have to come back out. This time it was that I was too hot. I could have ignored it but I decided not to. As soon as I had made the decision to wake up again I was fully awake (and a bit sweaty), except that I felt calm because I knew I would fall asleep again easily. I lay there for a few minutes fanning my face and then I turned over to the comfortable sleeping position and started over at my toes again.

The most comfortable position, by the way, is on my right side, hugging a soft squishy pillow, left leg bent and pulled up. When I'm feeling restless in bed often just assuming the position can be calming. I couldn't say for exactly how long that has been the case but definitely a number of years. When I was a kid I slept fully on my stomach but I weaned myself of that habit since it's bad for the back. Granted, the comfy sleeping position now is pretty close to stomach sleeping but not quite. It's hard to wean oneself off of the most comfortable sleeping position. Honestly I have no idea how I did it all those years ago. I would be loathe to give up this one. I can sleep pretty comfortably on my back, although it can make me feel like I'll stop breathing and ideally I'd like my head cradled so that it doesn't loll to one side. I imagine something like my airplane pillow could work but I never think to get it when I'm not in bed.

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