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Insomniacs give new meaning to the phrase “Sleep like the dead”

The killer insomnia cure that slayed me.

Don’t look now, but there’s an axe murderer behind you and he’s about to break into a lullaby. CC/Flickr photo by Alyssa L. Miller.
Don’t look now, but there’s an axe murderer behind you and he’s about to break into a lullaby. CC/Flickr photo by Alyssa L. Miller.

What could be more relaxing and conducive to a restful night’s sleep than picturing a murderer standing over you ready to pounce at the first sign of movement? There are people who swear by this method of overcoming insomnia.

Here’s how it works, according to Deadspin deputy editor Barry Petchesky. Pretend there’s a killer in the room who’s trying to determine whether the lump on the bed is a “living, breathing, potential victim” as opposed to a pile of bed clothes. The idea is to lie perfectly still, breathing deeply and evenly, until the murderer gives up and merciful sleep arrives in his stead.

Conjuring the killer supposedly works because the brain takes cues from the body, so acting as though you’re in a deep sleep will make your brain slow down and eventually shut off.

In all my battles with insomnia over the years, I’d never even thought about conjuring a bedside killer. However, I do imagine scenarios I hope will put me to sleep, and they are not as serene as they are sanguinary. Here’s my method. Pretend you’re in a war zone and it’s your turn to sleep while someone else stands watch. Your comrades are counting on you to sleep well because soon it will be your turn to watch over them and you’ll need to be alert. You must sleep soundly because the slightest movement will give your position away to the enemy. (Or to a lion if you’re engaging in jungle warfare. There’s room for creativity.) When you start to imagine the feel of the cold hard ground and the imminent threat of attack, you’ll appreciate how comfy and safe your bed is, let down your guard, and fall asleep.

I’m open to new ways of doing things, so I gave the imaginary murderer an audition. I don’t recommend this method. It put me to sleep but not before priming the nightmare pump. The killer didn’t depart when I entered dreamland but invaded one bad dream after another, at one point astride a rabid alpaca. Titter if you must but it was frightening AF and when I woke up in the wee hours I was scared to go back to sleep!

I’ll go back to playing GI Jane to put myself to sleep, or maybe try some sensible tips like doing a Corey Hart impression.