Looking for sleep in all the wrong places

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LORI WELBOURNE/Guest Columnist

My mother-in-law has trouble falling asleep. I, on the other hand, have the opposite problem.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been nodding off against my will. It started back when I was in high school, snoozing head down on my desk and I’ve been doing it ever since.

I could be typing at my computer, attending an important business meeting, watching a terrific movie, or driving my car and I suddenly feel exceedingly tired, my eyes begin to close and my head starts to bob. I had to pull over to the side of the road a few days ago and have a little cat-nap before I could safely drive again.

“You don’t get enough sleep,” my friend counselled when I arrived at her place. “You need more rest.”

But even when I get lots of sleep I still struggle with staying awake when I’m sitting still for long periods of time.

Not only can it get dangerous, it can also be embarrassing. I’ve suddenly woken up with a snore and a snort during meetings, startling everyone in the room including me. That’s not exactly the great impression I want to make.

Yet I wasn’t worried about nodding off when I started seeing a hypnotherapist. On the contrary, I figured I could get a little shut eye while seeking guidance and focus in my life. But Byron from Kelowna Counselling Hypnotherapy Centre said it didn’t work that way.

“You are actually in an awake state during hypnosis,” he explained. “You’re just in a state of relaxation to give you a rapport with your unconscious. To fall asleep wouldn’t serve you.” Bummer, I thought, as my eyelids became heavy and I began to nod off anyway.

Of course, I’m not always that tired. But today I’ve had three cat naps, two more than usual. I feel like my father-in-law.

“It’s probably a lack of something in your diet,” another friend told me. “You must have an iron deficiency.”

“But I eat more spinach than Popeye the Sailor Man,” I responded, convinced that the culprit was something else entirely.

“Sitting still is what puts me to sleep,” I said. “That’s why I eat.”

My rationale there is that the act of eating will keep me awake since I’ve never fallen asleep in the movie theatres while still shoveling popcorn into my mouth. (Though I have been known to nod off while an M&M melted on my tongue.)

Now I try to come prepared for those times that I anticipate an unwanted siesta and will make sure I have a coffee or snack to keep me occupied for all the times I’m required to sit still.

Like now. While writing this column I have consumed a glass of ice water, a bowl of cherries, and a spinach salad so big that it would’ve brought tears to Popeye’s eyes. Now it’s time for a well deserved cat-nap.

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