The Science of Sleep

This post is inspired by conversations that end with Zzzs

A long time ago, I used to suffer from really, really bad insomnia.
Really bad.

Night after night I would lay awake, staring at the ceiling, waiting for the sandman to take me and yet night after night I’d be lucky if I scraped two maybe three hours at best.
Not good.

A few days of this is enough to drive anyone crazy, but this went on for months.

Jack‘ nailed it best when he said:

With insomnia, nothing’s real.
Everything is far away.
Everything is a copy, of a copy, of a copy.

My then partner, who no doubt was being kept awake by my incessant restlessness herself, was fantastically supportive and eventually, when it finally started to have a knock-on effect on my working life, she insisted that we sorted this out as – if my work was going wrong, then the next thing after that would no doubt be our relationship…

So.

First thing first – We took the TV out of the bedroom.

I know this seems like a no-brainer, but at that time I didn’t even think about it. I could quite happily sit on the bed, watching TV, (back in the days when I actually watched TV anyway), for ages… It had a built-in video player so on the nights when the insomnia was really bad I’d just stick some Blackadder on or something. Yeah, ‘cos that helped.

After that – Lavender

Lavender spray on my pillows. Lavender bubble bath before bedtime…
Just lots and lots of lavender.

Next – Kalms… or more specifically, Valerian

We found the latter while doing research into natural treatments for sleep troubles etc… I steadfastly refuse to take any form of sleeping tablets and herbal remedies are about as far as I’ll go. The only thing that we could find in the UK that had Valerian in it were these tablets called Kalms. Two of those before bed every night to ‘relieve worry, irritability and stress’ and you’re sorted. Well I say ‘sorted’, I’m not entirely sure if they helped that much, but everything was so gradual.

Finally, and this is one of the biggest things for me by far – Associations.

So what does that mean?

Well, I’ve already mentioned that I took the TV out of the bedroom to aid in my search for slumber. That helped a lot. Not only with not keeping me awake via mere distraction but what it also did was stop me from just sitting on the bed… i.e.: Sitting and not SLEEPING.

Let me explain, y’see – when you allow this to happen, your brain kinda gets used to your bed being just another chair, or a rather in this instance; a big flat sofa, (one for sitting on, not for sleeping).

Once I’d realised this I point-blankly refused to go to bed unless I was so so so so so so SO tired I was falling asleep on my feet. That way, by eliminating all other activities bar sleeping, (TV, Reading, Nintendo etc.), from the bed I managed to train myself associate that physical environment and situation with sleep. Brilliant.

Looking back, this was probably the best thing that I did to get over my insomnia. Obviously the other ideas and actions were also contributing factors… But really, learning to move my work and play away from my place of rest was without doubt the best thing I could’ve done.

You might’ve noticed that the name of this blog is ‘this is my happy place’…
That stems from a number of reasons – all of which resonate quite nicely with the kind of guy that I try to be – but one of those reasons actually relates quite nicely to the accompanying picture…

I like sleeping.

Having had it gone from my life for such a long time I now have the utmost respect for sleep as an activity… and dedicate proper time to it as often as needed.

This isn’t to say that I am lazy, not by any stretch. I just know when I need to rest.

Tying off with associations is a good way to bring this back to my inspiration for this post. I have this habit, when talking on the phone late at night, of falling to sleep mid-conversation.

I kid you not.

I must’ve lost count the amount of times I’ve woken up to find a phone in my hand wondering what the hell was going on. It makes me laugh every time it happens but the caller on the other end tends to get quite miffed. Heh.

Word to the wise – if we’re speaking late at night and I say:

‘Ok, cool. Just headed to bed, will call you back shortly…’

Just. Say. No.

The chances are I will fall asleep…

πŸ˜€

Night night.

The Mobile Geeks of London

Hello all,

Following on from an earlier post – allow me to tell you a story…

It started as a simple question ‘Hey, we both live in London, do you fancy a drink sometime?’
That question was asked from one avid Jaiku fan to another.
(Yours truly and a guy named Romek)

From there – it snowballed…
We found a channel on Jaiku specifically for UK Jaiku users – called JaikUK

Then – upon finding that channel – I decided that’d be a great idea if we had a Facebook Group too.
And so Mobile Geeks of London was born…

It was, at first, made as a ‘base of operations’ if you will for me and a few fellow ‘mobilists’ who I knew lived in and around our great city to come together and chat…
And then, word got out that two of the members were meeting for a beer.

“Sod it!” I thought “Why not make it a full-blown facebook event?!”

And so I did.
Next thing I knew – SMS Text News picked up on it and ran it as a story – and overnight the group went from around 10 members to 110!

The Date: Thursday 26th July
The Event: The first ever Mobile Geeks of London meet up
The Place: A Pub in London
The Attendees: Mobile Geeks!

It. Was Great.

The whole evening had this kind of unofficial theme of ‘Show & Tell’

Some folk were there showing off new software – some other folk were throwing new mobile ideas around and some folk were just showing off their various handsets… an iPhone even made it along!
Hehehe…

However, I must admit, I think that was probably the main lure for peeps coming along in the first place!

Everyone wanted to touch it!
Hehehe – Here’s some photos from the evening folks – enjoy!

Geeks – Phones – Beer – Heaven

James Body. He of Truphone fame.
With my iPhone and his E61i.
Which one do you prefer?

My new friend Peter (aka Romek).
He was the guy that originally asked me out for a Mobile Geek drink!
It’s all his fault I swear it!

iPhone-tastic!

All in all the night was a resounding success and I’ve received lots of messages of praise for organising it all.

I couldn’t have done it without my good friend Technokitten who was on hand to offer assistance when the whole thing started getting a bit out of hand!

So – if you’re a Mobile Geek and you live in London – why not join the group and maybe we’ll see you at the next meet!
πŸ™‚