|Parker the cat who knows the value of an afternoon nap.|
Books and magazines offer solutions to what seems to be a global affliction. One can go the drug route complete with little flapping butterflies hovering over one's prostrate body, the health conscious route that advises a light evening meal and a brisk walk afterwards, or the natural route which involves chamomile baths and spraying one's bed linens with lavender. I avoid drugs whenever possible and prefer my butterflies out of doors so I tried first the healthy route. Summer evenings are fine for an after dinner stroll around the neighborhood but winter nights fall fast and early. A brisk walk to the end of the driveway involved hat and coat and boots and mittens. Just dressing and undressing made me tired and I'd tumble into bed earlier and earlier each night. My ability to stay asleep did not increase, however, and I would find myself awake and semi-alert well before dawn. By mid-morning I was desperate for a nap!
Lavender on my bed linens smells heavenly but does not put me to sleep. Chamomile baths are out of the question as my tiny cottage has no room for a tub, but chamomile tea does not put me to sleep either. Nor does warm milk, a small glass of wine, or gentle yoga just before bedtime. I've tried reading in bed, counting sheep (and blessings), and meditation, none of which make me fall asleep more readily or stay asleep once I've nodded off. I'm beginning to suspect that the folks who come up with these remedies stay up all night thinking about them.
My latest tactic is to enjoy the pre-dawn hours, to rise slowly, make a cup of steaming tea, sit where I can watch the sun rise or the rain fall, and breathe in the new day as it unfolds. When I wind down around three in the afternoon, I take a nap. So far, that's working just fine.