- you lie down (preferably on a bed),
- you close your eyes,
- you fall asleep.
There. That doesn't sound difficult, does it? I mean I'm not having any trouble with either point 1 or 2 (in fact I am increasingly doing these anywhere and everywhere, which is particularly disturbing for passengers in my car) - but point 3 seems to have me stumped. Instead of falling asleep my mind churns with thoughts and ideas and lists. Like did Daughter No.1. remember to take her library books back? Will she be able to talk her way out of the $250 fine? Is that rumbling noise at the far end of the house a possum on the roof or somebody with nefarious intent sliding the door open? Is Only Son going to do himself lasting damage with a diet of two-minute noodles? Did Daughter No.2. set her alarm? Did I remember to write a speech for that talk I'm giving tomorrow? What will I wear? Does anything still fit? Oh, christ, is that really the time?
And as anyone who has ever had trouble getting to sleep will tell you, it's all over the moment you start stressing about the time. Because it then becomes part of a vicious catch-22, where growing anxiety about your likely level of tiredness the next day (doing frantic calculations about how many night-hours are left now... and now... and now), makes sleep even more unlikely. So that eventually you become just a mass of nerve-endings, shedding frustrated tears that are illuminated only by the little numbers that are relentlessly flipping over on your bedside clock.
Yet a quick calculation tells me that, give or take a few dozen nights in my teens when I didn't sleep at all, I've been doing this for around 18,370 nights. That's a whole lot of nights. And they say practice makes perfect? Bah humbug.