Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


A friend told me recently he'd been having trouble sleeping.

I asked why, he told me he was upset and unsettled about too many things in his life. His divorce, being single, not being exactly where he wants to be in life at his age, wondering-

I felt badly for him.

Then I thought about how much we discuss sleep. "Did you sleep well?" "Have a good night?" "You look well rested."

There are even songs written about sleep.

Most of my life I sort of shunned sleep because I didn't feel like I needed a lot to function. I felt I had too much to do. After all life is short. I preferred to be doing something. Something positive. Working, writing, creating, singing, drawing, painting, playing with the pets.

I didn't sleep well when I was a kid for a number of reasons - moving 17 times by the time I was 17, I don't believe I ever felt settled or like I was in familiar territory. The result can be a lot of anxiety.

And, I was always concerned I might miss something - something exciting.

Then ... I learned to love sleep.

I got one of those fantastic yummy memory spongy tops for my mattress. It is so soft, I snuggle into it and feel like I fit there. It holds me in the so so soft palm of its hand nightly.

Comforting, that's what it is.

It helps that my dream catcher hangs over the head of my bed. A dream catcher is an indigenous tribal hoop that catches bad dreams and nightmares, allowing allows the good dreams through.

Two of my three dogs sleep with me. The third has his own little bed next to mine because he is still in an intense training period and dogs are easier to train with an extra boundary. The kitty has her own little tent at the foot of the bed, although she also loves to snuggle up and purr in my face in the middle of the night for a short time, then she's out light the proverbial light.

Me, too.

All of which is mentioned because my bed mates all behave themselves impeccably. They know I need my sleep and for the most part, unless someone is sick, they cuddle up next to me and - OK, other than their snoring - sleep soundly until I get up, no matter how many hours I put into dream time.

I like the dark.

I wear a Tempur-Pedic eye mask (night mask) that keeps my world pitch black with the greatest coziness. I like that I can open my eyes without the mask touching my eyelashes or lids. There are plenty of places to get them at a discount.

I perform a brief spiritual ritual before turning my life over to the sleep shepherds, so it normally takes me about five minutes to fall asleep.

Unless I'm in the midst of solving a problem of major proportions, in which case I may slumber as many as two hours - and be fine the next day. When I have to get up in the middle of the night, I seem to remain in a half-asleep trance because when my head hits the pillow I resume my repose instantly.

I like to average 7-8 hours of sound sleep a night. Sometimes 9!

Animals need many, many hours of sleep a day or they will get sick. Cats can squeeze in some 18 hours and still feel they want a couple more.

Feeling rested is not just a goal for me, but generally a fact.

Getting exercise during the day also helps send me into dreamland, and I like to meditate.

When I'm directing a film, sleep can be hard to come by, so I take advantage of it when I can. If I need to sleep for sure, I take a small dosage of melatonin, a natural hormone secreted by the body in larger quantities when we're younger that helps us fall asleep.

I like falling asleep with a goal in mind that I'd like to have my dream state help carry me through; whether it's a problem to solve, a new way of thinking about or seeing something, a mental task to complete, or a way of building something I'm creating.

When I was in high school I actually dreamed up a debate case that I won every time I competed. My classmates did not want to hear that I woke up with a winning case.

I don't normally analyze my dreams - for the most part I don't tend to remember them. When I do remember them, it's usually a very clear message about something going on in my life and how I perhaps should experience what's happening - rather than the way I am perceiving them in the light of day.

My brother loves naps.

I consider the nap a new level in my relationship with sleep.

I'm told power naps are energizing and refreshing. My fear is that I'll nap too long - I've done that, only to be groggy the rest of the day. But there are ways to prevent that - like setting a timer.

I believe there's another universe we visit when we sleep - I'd like to be more aware of it. It must be a fascinating place.

We catch a bare glimpse of it when dreams are recalled. But what about the rest of the time we're sleeping? Dreams invade our consciousness for only seconds, just moments before we awake.

I think it would be exciting to hang out, to experience the rest of the time we're asleep in the galaxy of our sleeping minds.

I believe one important reason I tend to sleep well is because I'm not one to worry. And I'm not an angry person. I don't hate anything. I feel I'm being true to myself and those around me; I feel I live with as much integrity as possible and I don't feel guilty; I'm not dishonest with or mistreating anyone, nor do I have anything to hide that would haunt me in my most private and vulnerable moments.

I'm not sure why I was moved to write about sleep, especially my sleep thoughts and habits. Except that it actually is bedtime, and at this point the subject has bored me enough to slip into snoozeland.

Nite nite.

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