You know that moment when you realize that something you’ve done your entire life isn’t as “normal” as you thought?
For example, this morning my sisters and I were discussing various sleep woes. One sister mentioned that she had a bad habit of staying on her phone til she was dead-tired. Another sister said that she plans her next day as she falls into dreamland.
Wait, you guys don’t tell yourselves stories? I thought everyone did that!
Since I was about 6 years old, I always had a story to work out in my head as I lay my head on the pillow. As soon as the light turns out, no matter where I am, be it in an airplane, couch, or my own cozy bed, I begin to plot some imagined scene. I usually fall asleep before the scene ends.
Because I fall asleep quickly, I often spend months reimagining the same scene each night, with only slight variations. If I finish a story or get bored of it, I start something new.
The stories I fall sleep to don’t often make it into my daytime writing. I like to keep them in my head because that way they remain an alternate world I can fall into every night. Everything in that universe is completely within my control.
I think it started when my older brother told me he could control his dreams. I had a lot of nightmares as a kid, so I was pretty keen to learn my brother’s trick. I started planning the dreams I wanted to have before I fell asleep, hoping it would change my actual dreams. It didn’t, but the habit stuck.
So basically, you tell yourself bedtime stories?
Yeah, pretty much.
It isn’t as productive as planning the next day’s activities, but it is a relaxing way to decompress. It saves me from cringing at the mistakes of my day or dreading the tasks of the morrow.
Now I am curious, how do you fall asleep? What do you think about in the moments before The Sandman takes you?