"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Anatomy of a Safe Slumber

Things you will need:

-A Bed


-Socks (preferably thick)


-A nightstand (for band-aid storage)

Ever since writing Anatomy of a Snuggle, I’ve been musing about what self-help issue to address next. Not many nights ago, the right topic presented itself. Take note, good reader. The following instructional post is based on personal experience.

I would like to offer my specialized knowledge on an activity that is required for human survival: sleep. I’ll say it again. We humans require sleep. Not just quantity sleep, mind you. We need quality sleep.

Now I put this question to you: how can it be quality sleep if it is not safe sleep?

When I say “safe sleep”, I’m not talking about checking under the bed for monsters. Nor am I going to debate the pros and cons of owning a guard dog, firearms, or a home alarm system. These instructions assume that your bed is located in a reasonably safe, monster-free environment. Instead, I will focus on how to prepare one’s mind and body for safe sleeping. How can we ensure ourselves sleep that is relaxing, recuperative, and above all else, non-hazardous? Follow these steps:

1) In the hour before bedtime, avoid watching action programs, especially thrillers or sports. Also refrain from consuming caffeinated beverages. Instead, meditate on concepts like calmness and stillness.

2) Place band-aids in your nightstand.

3) Secure your sheets with well-tucked hospital corners. Ideally, also sleep under a thick comforter. Doing so informs your body that tossing and turning are undesirable.

4) Put on a pair of thick woolen socks.

5) For maximum wellbeing, I recommend sleeping on your back. Why not on your side? Remember, this isn’t just about the body. It’s about the soul. Sleeping on your back is an optimistic choice--what the sages call sanguine. You end your day looking upward.

6) Resist the urge to kick out your blankets as you drift off.

7) Don’t dream about playing soccer, especially if you are sleeping on your side and have failed to don thick socks.

8) If you are unable to avoid a dream about soccer, at least try to dream that the ball doesn’t come to you.

9) In the event that you have skipped one or all of the above steps--the result being that you are sleeping on your side, barefoot, with your feet sticking out of the sheets, all the while having an elaborate dream about playing in the World Cup--whatever happens, don’t dream that you kick the ball.

10) The sound of your foot impacting the nightstand with full force will probably awaken you. If the crashing sound doesn’t wake you up, the sharp pain in your foot certainly will. In any case, waking up is the next step.

11) Assess the wound or wounds your foot sustained while kicking the ball--that is to say the nightstand--into the opposing team’s goal.

12) Apply direct pressure to stop any bleeding.

13) Resume sleeping.

The above instructions, though not foolproof, increase the chances that you will sleep safely--even if you find yourself dreaming about a sport you haven't played since you were seven.

Lastly, I am including the below photo of a properly bandaged kicking foot. Safe sleeping, folks!


  1. Well, sounds like pretty good instructions to me. My inability to sleep safely usually arises from the multitude of obnoxious kids' toys scattered about in precarious places around the house (like the bottom of the steps for extra fun).

  2. Formidable hazards to be sure. I wish you well. As for me, no new soccer dreams...yet.