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Friday, 13 December 2013

Musings – Crying at Weddings and Right Brain, Left Brain, and Getting a Good Night's Sleep….

by Pat Thomas




I confess: I am emotional at weddings. The whole fairy tale thing and the promise of a happily ever after often bring me to tears.

A friend suggested I could stop the tears easily if I did the math – mental math.


 Tears, or mental math? A no brainer, right?

Adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing – I tried them all and can report that doing the math works for me.  Since I’ve consciously turned on the left side of my brain I don’t cry at weddings. And there’s an added bonus I’ve discovered: Math at bedtime helps me sleep better.

How so?

For years, I’d read a novel before going to sleep – usually a romance to sweep me away from the daily grind. I love Bev Pettersen’s racetrack mysteries…with hints of romance, and those regency romances like To Marry The Duke and My Own Private Hero or the contemporary Color of Heaven Series by Julianne MacLean. Reading books like these took my mind off the wagons that circled and tired me out.

Still, when I closed my eyes, my mind didn’t want to relax. It roamed and worried and plotted long after the books closed and I’d have fight to get to sleep, sometimes for hours. Many weeks I averaged three to four hours a night, did my housework in the middle of the night when I was awake and was tired most of the day. My doctor said sleeplessness is common as we age; that it is normal for me to sleep less as I grow older.

Yikes! His assurances didn’t make me feel better.

If I accepted that sleeplessness comes with ageing, then there’s no remedy because I wasn’t going to stop that process. So I read later into the night and sometimes when I put my novel aside I’d close my eyes and pray for sleep. Often, my mind raced over life’s problems, bills, and worries about family and things I had to do… deadlines to be met.


I’d done some research after the math remark and learned the right side of the brain works through scenarios, runs over plots, and I figure that’s also where all the worrying happens.


I wondered: If I focused on math after the reading, and rested that creative side before closing my eyes, would I get a better sleep?

Yes, it worked and here’s what I do now. I still read those great novels at night, but afterwards I spend five or ten minutes on Sudoku. The math seems to stop impatient and worrying thoughts from taking off to the right when I turn out the light.  

A bedtime Sudoku works amazingly well for me. If you’re having trouble getting the hours of sleep you deserve, why not try this?



And why am I not surprised?

As a child, my mother used to tell me to count sheep if I couldn’t sleep and my father would suggest I count backwards from one hundred – more than once if it didn’t work the first time…

Did they have insider information back then? Not likely, but the tradition of counting sheep and counting backwards is still offered by  parents of children who can’t get to sleep at bedtime.


My revelation is that doing a Sudoku at night helps me get a better sleep in the same way counting sheep might work for a child.

So my suggestion to you is this: If you’re not getting enough sleep and have to fight to get there, I suggest you try a bedtime Sudoku or do math problems after you read or watch TV. See if that helps. What can you lose?

Not sleep.


To be continued in Part Two Blog: Musings – crying at weddings and readers’ emotional connections to text…right brain, left brain, and getting a good night’s sleep….
Monday, Dec. 16th 












Visit Pat at her website

16 comments:

  1. I love this! Now I understand why I always fell asleep when working on stats. And what a simple way to stop tears at weddings. Thanks, Pat!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Bev. We do need our sleeps. Right?

      Pat

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  2. HAHA Pat that explains why I used to sleep so early and for so long when I boarded at your house during my math sabbatical! This was not so successful with my recent Masters because that involved reading and writing. In all seriousness...I still need a LOT of sleep to work full time, at the age of 60, as a physics teacher. I have to turn on the fan for white noise...click the TV to something mindless and put it on a timer...sometimes I take 1 mg melatonin, but not too often...and sometimes...I have to resort to small does of Ativan to sleep. If I do get at least 7 1/2 - 8 hours I might as well not show up for work...that simple. It takes feeling really well to work effectively as a teacher. I cannot accept the doctor's "Oh, that's normal." If it were, I would not feel so ill if I did not sleep. I find age has not allowed me to function on any less sleep then before.

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    1. Wow, Robyn! I hear ya. I'm sleeping double-time now. Drop in sometime on your way to or from Halifax. Or just to stay a couple days.
      Best of the season.
      Pat

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  3. Great advice, Pat. It makes sense to me. Will definitely try brushing off my mental math, and will suggest it to one of my kids, as well.

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    1. It's changed my life. Even if I do wake during the night I go right back to sleep for another four or five hours with another math puzzle. Good luck.
      Pat

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  4. Great idea, Pat. Thanks for this. I've switched to reading non-fiction at bedtime, but mental math might be even better, and it's something I should practice anyway :)

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    1. I think the mental math might be similar to reading some straightforward non-fiction. Might try that but hate to ruin a good thing.
      Have a nice holiday, Janet.

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  5. I'm definitely going to try this. I bet it helps with preventing dementia too. I find concentrating on my feet helps me get to sleep. And melatonin. My husband thinks we'd both sleep better if the cat didn't sleep in between us every night but my theory is that the purring is therapeutic.

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    1. I laughed out loud. Great to make people smile as well as giving us some good advice.

      Pat

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    2. I laughed out loud when I read this. Thanks for that and for the advice.

      Pat

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  6. Great idea and loved the article, Pat.

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    1. Thanks, Jeanne. Have a great holiday season. Get lots of rest.

      Pat

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  7. I've been doing Soduku for the last year before I go to bed. It really does work!

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    1. A wise woman. Glad it's working for you too.
      Have a nice Christmas Season.

      Pat

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  8. Great suggestion, Pat! Math for weddings and sleeplessness. Hmm... sounds like a book title. :)

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