Wednesday, January 28, 2015

25. Getting a Good Night's Sleep

The only way that I can fall asleep, now that I am back in the real world, is to listen to Jim Dale reading the Harry Potter audiobooks. It's a mere shadow of how Whistle would read to me on the trail, but it's somewhat similar. As soon as I put on the audiobook, I am zonked out in less than 5 minutes. I wouldn't say that I am a worrier, but my brain is easily clogged with all my responsibilities and to-dos as I lay down to sleep, and I have a hard time quieting that part of my brain. But who needs Ambien when you can drift off to sleep to the dulcet tones of a brilliantly talented Englishman telling you stories about magic? 

These are the privileges of modern technology that we take for granted! IPods and microwaves. Seriously, microwaves are miracles. Hikers have no access to microwaves, we don't have one in tiny house and I don't miss it, but I am fascinated by them. Frozen burritos are amazing, and you can't recreate that chemical preservative taste with fresh ingredients. You just can't. When DT was a kid, his friend had a microwave that was broken, such that it would still run even if the door was open. He and his friends would dare each other to stick their hand in the microwave for as long as possible before freaking out. He said he only made it about 5 seconds before screaming and running out of the room. Heaven only knows what latent mutant powers he has because of that.

DT can tell you that I have always been a sleep talker, but that more than anything I am a sleep laugher. Apparently I totally crack myself up in my sleep, and he will often wake up to me chuckling or hysterically cackling. I like to think that this is a good omen in regard to what I must be dreaming about. I like to think that my brain tries to give me nightmares, but my dream self just laughs at the monsters and teaches them to dance. 

If you've ever done any sort of day-long strenuous activity (running, biking, arguing with a 2 year old about bringing the cat in the bath), you know how good it feels to just face-plant directly into your bed at the end of the day. You have a lovely, delicious, dreamless sleep, and you wake up refreshed and ready to hear the yowls of the cat and the screams of your 2 year old. If you spent a long day chock-full of mental strain, but no physical strain, you may find yourself utterly exhausted but incapable of sleeping. Even though your brain is ready to shut off, your body didn't get enough of a chance to expend its energy, and so it funnels that energy right back into your tired brain, but your brain is in no fit state to manage that energy logically. Instead you find yourself wide awake at 3 in the morning, worrying about the mere possibility of a snow plow accidentally smashing into your car, parked perfectly innocently out on the street.

Before I started the trail I was sincerely worried that I wasn't going to be able to sleep. I was afraid that every night in a new place would be too much input, and my brain would be overstimulated. Instead, I always slept fabulously. Here are the reasons:

1. Hiking for 15 miles a day will left me TOTALLY POOPED.

2. Even though the tent is in a new place every night, the inside of the tent itself never changes, and being inside of the tent immediately triggered the part of my brain that said "Yippee! Sleepy time!" This is also why it was very hard to just "hang out" in my tent, because my brain would automatically go into shut down mode.

3. I didn't have to-do lists.

4. The outdoors are silent, or have the most wonderful white noise of nature.

I miss the sleep of the woods, but I laugh in my sleep no matter where I am.

Clever Girl

You will notice that there are not a lot of photos of people sleeping in their tents. This is because Dumptruck is not a creep, thank goodness!

1 comment:

  1. Do not put a Harry Potter CD in the car stereo when Clever Girl is driving. Danger, danger, danger.