The Class-M homeworld of the humanoid Bajoran race is Earth-like in appearance with large, blue oceans and seas that appear a little more greenish than Earth's from orbit. A 'day' is a 26-hour rotation on its axis, and it has at least five moons, although two may be rogues."

There have been times in recent years when I thought "The Bajoran life for me"; during my recurrent bouts of insomnia, the idea of going to bed two hours later every day, admittedly making it difficult to keep a day job, seemed like a possible solution. It is possible in our species to adjust the circadian rhythm by a few minutes either side of the usual 24 hours; research has suggested it may be possible to adapt to a 24-hour, 39-minute cycle, corresponding to the period of rotation of the planet Mars, which, based on what I know about the Alpha Quadrant, is a hell of a lot closer to us than Bajor.

For the moment, I am mostly out of my insomniac phase, which I attribute to slightly more regular bedtimes and a ridiculous quantity of drugs, administered as follows:

  • 30 minutes before going to bed: 25 mg amitryptiline; 300 mg gabapentin.
  • 5 minutes before going to bed: 5 mg melatonin; 10 mg zolpidem; 40 ml Vicks Zzzquil.

By any reasonable standard, this is a hell of a lot of drugs to ingest in a 25-minute period. What's more, the label-recommended dosage of Zzzquil, which is basically diphenhydramine plus 10 percent ethanol, is a mere 25 ml. Bedtime, on weekdays, is 11:03 pm, a time chosen because it allows me a first look at the daily offering of Meh. On weekends — or on nights when the Thunder are playing on the Left Coast, all bets are off, though Sunday night presents no particular problem resuming the cycle. Following this routine, I am usually out in 20 minutes or so, and will wake up at least once somewhere between 1:30 and 4 am. If it's closer to four, I may be experiencing one of the weird dreams for which zolpidem, aka Ambien, is famous.

For several years, I strictly enforced a No Caffeine After 5 PM rule. I started slacking up on this after noticing that it didn't seem to make much of a difference. Still, this variable is easily controlled.

Whatever was on my mind earlier must be dispelled for this combo cocktail to work. For this purpose, I review whatever otherwise-useless fantasy I might have been entertaining of late. One that has recurred a couple of times: my Inner Child, previously identified as a nine-year-old girl, turns 10 and is trying to persuade authority figures, or just herself, that she has this whole Growing Up thing under control. She doesn't, of course, but if you tell her so she won't believe you. (Sounds like me, as inevitably she must.) During baseball season, I have the option of late ball games; at Dodger Stadium, the first pitch will be thrown about 9:07, and I usually won't last through the seventh-inning stretch.

There is, alas, a side effect, and it's a big one; while I have no particular difficulty rolling out before seven, and I'm fine through about 9:30, some vestigial grogginess kicks in, and I'm running at maybe 60 percent efficiency until lunchtime. This isn't a factor on Saturday and Sunday, as I didn't bother to get out of bed until 9:30, if then. I trace this tendency to the days when I did my own yard work; I considered it bad form to run the lawn mower earlier than about 8:15. Not everyone in this neck of the woods is similarly persuaded.

For all I know, this routine is shaving minutes, or months, off my life. To be honest, I don't care, as long as I'm getting some sleep.

The Vent

  10 March 2018

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