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Sometimes I sleep just fine. Other times I just can’t seem to get comfortable, or I can’t find my brain’s off switch. Some nights I drop off quickly, but then I wake up at three a.m. after a disturbing dream. Instead of dismissing it, rolling over, and drifting back to sleep, I start wondering what the dream meant, and I analyze each item or person. Hmmm. Was that toilet in the dream a symbol that I need to get up and use the bathroom, or perhaps it has some deeper, more disturbing meaning? Perhaps it is an omen. Is my life about to go down the toilet? Anxiety rises. Stop! None of this is helping me to go back to sleep. After a quick trip to the bathroom, I lie down again. I glance over at my husband, envious of his oblivion. Lucky guy. Should I wake him up for a back rub? Nah. One of us needs to be able to work in the morning.
I try deep breathing. In. Out. In. Out…
Wait. What was that noise? Is there a burglar in the house? Oh, it’s just the wind blowing and the house creaking in protest. But what if it’s a ghost? Oh, no. I should never have watched that TV show about the ghost haunting King Arthur’s castle! (Merlin, season 5, in case you’re wondering) Okay, back to deep breathing. In. Out. In. Out. This isn’t working. All that oxygen is making me hungry. Perhaps a piece of toast and a mug of hot milk with Ovaltine…
Ten minutes later, I’m back in bed. Now I’m really awake. Sigh. I might as well read. I click on my nightlight, pick up a well-read book and start reading. The theory is that since I’ve already read the book, and I know what happens in the end, that my brain will turn off, and I’ll wake up in the morning with my lamp still shining and my face imprinted with page edges. The book is Dragonhaven, by Robin McKinley. I love this book and have read it many times. I know what will happen. Surely I will be able to go to sleep now… But somehow I get caught up into the story of Jake and his dragonlet.
Oh, no. Is that my alarm ringing? Yawn. Oh, well. Good morning, everyone. Next time I’ll try reading a textbook.

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