The Big Think

October 13, 2004

You’re Getting Very Sleepy (or not)

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 2:49 pm

Toshiba has announced a new “sleep measuring device” to measure the quality and quantity of your sleep (via blood O2 levels and respiration/pulse rates).

from the website:
“Technically speaking, Toshiba plans for this to be a wristwatch-type device, which is wirelessly connected to your PC. The software can show you your levels of sleep, from “deep” to three different levels of “shallow.” But perhaps even cooler than being able to monitor your sleep is being able to do something about it; Toshiba plans on conjoining this technology with that of air conditioners, lights, and even stereo systems to create a “pleasant sleeping environment.”

As a chronic insomniac, this could gather some very interesting data. I sometimes take up to 3 hours to get to sleep. Average is probably 90 minutes or so, and once or twice a month I’ll get to sleep in a half-hour. It’s VERY uncommon for me to go to sleep in anything like a “normal” amount of time (10-15 minutes). About once a week my body will just refuse to stay asleep and I’ll end up getting two or three hours. It’s weird.
Compound this with the fact that, as a composer/arranger, I listen to music a lot. Actually, I’ll listen to one song over and over every day for hours at a time sometimes. Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? I mean, have you ever had a song stuck in your head so badly you would gladly do the spoon-and-straw routine on your own grey matter to get rid of it? Welcome to my world. And let me tell you, trying to sleep with the dulcet strains of “The Love Boat” in your ear is no easy feat.
Over the years I’ve tried just about every insomnia remedy you can imagine: hot toddies, melatonin suppliments, seratonin suppliments, dietary changes, sleep pattern changes, environmental changes, you name it. The only thing that ever worked for me was a single test Ambien I tried out a few years ago. It worked wonders, giving me the best sleep I’ve had in years, but I don’t want to start depending on any medication- plus it was a little unnerving: I don’t actually remember going to bed that night. I remember sitting at the computing thinking “I have to get to bed soon” and waking up the next morning in bed. It’s acts like a mild amnesia-inducer, and I’m not comfortable with any chemical that has that effect.
I’ve pretty much made peace with it, though and the fact that I work at home helps greatly. I’m always really miserable when I have to do short term jobs (like the film a few months back), that require lots of early mornings.
The most exasperating thing is when concerned friends and family try to fix the problem with suggested remedies- all of which I’ve tried. I mean, hey, if I can’t solve the problem in the 30 years I’ve been aware of it, chances are pretty good it’s not an easy fix, y’know? They mean well, but if I hear another “well, if you didn’t go to bed so late you wouldn’t have this problem” I shall well and truly scream. The problem is not that I go to bed late, that’s the symptom.
Sorry, just cranky. Late night and all…


  1. Lydia and I both turn to ibuprofen and diphenhydramine hydrocloride (a.k.a. Benedryl – see for our sleeplessness. Often, the source of my insomnia is something irritating… either soreness or allergic… and either the pain reliever or antihistimine does the trick.

    On the ibuprofen, I’ll usually take two. If I take Benedryl, generally I’ll take half of a benedryl tablet.

    The plus side is that when they’re buy-one-get-one-free at Kroger or in bulk at Sam’s, they’re incredibly cheap… pennies or less a pill.

    (Not that this is a solution for Jason – just if others hadn’t tried it who read the blog.)

    Comment by Patrick — October 13, 2004 @ 3:57 pm

  2. well if you didn’t go to bed so late…

    “When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, ‘Did you sleep good?’ I said ‘No, I made a few mistakes.'”
    -Steven Wright

    “O sleep, O gentle sleep,

    Comment by durb — October 14, 2004 @ 12:36 pm

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