Nights of Agony and Bliss

The New York Times’ Sunday Magazine a few years ago featured a series of drawings by the artist Christoph Niemann. Titled “Good Night and Tough Luck,” the series contained text but communicated so much more than the words themselves—and it was funny, too!

The New York Times’ Sunday Magazine a few years ago featured a series of drawings by the artist Christoph Niemann. Titled “Good Night and Tough Luck,” the series contained text but communicated so much more than the words themselves — and it was funny, too!

Here’s one of my favorite drawings in the series.

sleep agony bliss

I’ve got a couple items to add to Niemann’s lists:

Agony: Husband leaving door to basement open and water softener switching (roaring) on at 2:30 a.m.

Bliss: Laughing in my sleep.

Care to add an item or two of your own? Please comment here or on Facebook!

Better Than Marijuana Brownies

Let’s be honest: the holidays aren’t always easy. The whole thing can stress you out to the point where all you want to do is eat, eat, eat. But you can’t exactly indulge yourself — it would look unseemly for you to scarf down all the Christmas cookies you yourself have baked.

Who knew that the solution to these inopportune food cravings lay in Ambien, America’s favorite sleeping pill?

Let’s be honest: the holidays aren’t always easy. Yuletide spirit, family togetherness, gathering ‘round the festal board night after night … Well, it can get to be a bit much. Especially if you’re the one doing most of the cooking, the whole thing can stress you out to the point where all you want to do is eat, eat, eat. But you can’t exactly indulge yourself — it would look unseemly for you to scarf down all the Christmas cookies you yourself have baked.

Who knew that the solution to these inopportune food cravings lay in Ambien, America’s favorite sleeping pill?

Writer Paul Simms knew it, and he told all. If you missed these recipes from the Ambien Cookbook when they first appeared in the New Yorker in July of 2006, maybe you’ll find them helpful now.

Sorpresa con Queso

Ingredients:

7 bags Cheetos-brand cheese snacks

17 to 19 glasses tap water

5 mg. Ambien

Place Cheetos bags in cupboard.

Take Ambien, fall asleep.

Wait 2-3 hours, then sleepwalk to kitchen, tear cupboard doors off hinges in search of Cheetos.

Find Cheetos, eat contents of all 7 bags.

Fall back asleep on kitchen floor.

When awakened by early-morning sunlight, get up and say, “What the—?”

Wipe orange Cheetos dust from fingers, face, and hair.

Drink 17 to 19 glasses of water from kitchen tap.

Return to bed.

Icebox Mélange

Ingredients:

Entire contents of refrigerator

1 Diet Snapple

5 mg. Ambien

Take Ambien, fall asleep.

Wait 2-3 hours, then sleepwalk to kitchen.

Devour everything in refrigerator (including all fancy mustards and jellies, iffy takeout leftovers, and plastic dial from thermostat).

Belch loud enough to wake wife or girlfriend. When she enters kitchen, bellow, “Can’t you see I’m working here?”

Fall asleep on kitchen floor.

After 4-5 more hours, wake up on subway, fully dressed from the waist up, drinking a Diet Snapple.

In Praise of Sleeping on the Couch

Sleeping on the couch isn’t always a bad idea. Some insomnia sufferers are light sleepers prone to high-frequency brain activity even during the deeper stages of sleep, or so the experts say. We pick up on information in the environment that normal sleepers readily tune out.

The problem may be that there are disturbances in the bedroom itself.

It’s a telltale sign of denial in people with insomnia, as far as sleep experts are concerned. To sleep anywhere but the bed is to avoid facing up to your real problem with sleep: namely, the fact that your bed has become Enemy No. 1. The frustration of going to bed and being unable to sleep has become associated with the bed itself, so that merely setting foot in the bedroom can make you anxious. Just thinking about B-E-D makes your stomach clench.

Hence, the cowardly retreat to sleeping on the couch.

Well, OK. Most of us would rather sleep in our beds, and if the bed triggers negative associations, there are treatments you can undergo to relieve the situation and they’re worth checking out.

But sleeping on the couch isn’t always a sign of denial. Some insomnia sufferers are light sleepers prone to high-frequency brain activity even during the deeper stages of sleep, or so the experts say. We pick up on information in the environment that normal sleepers readily tune out. The problem may be that there are disturbances in the bedroom itself.

•  Snoring husband? Now, which is the more rational approach to sleep, arguing with an unresponsive husband (“Turn over, you’re snoring.” “Was not.” Were too.” “My head’s already under the pillow.” “Is not.” “Is too.”) or tiptoeing out of the bedroom and into the arms of a nice mute couch?

•  Thrashing wife? Same thing. She may be fighting tigers in her dreams, but are you going to stick around to discuss the fact that she may be the one with sleep problem and shouldn’t she finally go in for that sleep study after all? No way. Head for the couch.

•  You wake up roasting in the sheets? It’s time to take a leaf out of Ben Franklin’s book. Franklin knew heat could sabotage sleep and had a second bed to go to when the first got too warm. Why toss and turn amid sweaty sheets when you can stretch out on a nice cool couch?

•  Moonlight awakens you at 2 a.m.? Is it your fault that your partner leaves the blinds open so he can awaken to sunlight and an alarm clock chanting, “’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe?” No, señor! The simple way to solve this problem is to head to the couch in the den.

A couch with all the right accoutrements can be a godsend for insomniacs in a pinch. Do not underestimate us, sleep experts. Sometimes we’re smarter than you think.