I have never been a good sleeper (my mother  a’h said that even as a small child, I never wanted to miss anything going on, and would stay up into the wee hours).  But as I age, my insomnia seems to be getting progressively worse.  I’ve tried  herbal and nutritional supplements, melatonin, Benadryl, Zzzquil and Nyquil (the latter works the best but I don’t want to take it on a regular basis because I’m a zombie the next morning, and it has a high alcohol content).  My doctor would not prescribe Ambien, and I found the sounds on a self-hypnosis relaxation tape to be annoying.  Even if I do manage to eventually fall asleep, I often awaken in the night and then remain awake for hours and hours.

Someone said my problem is “too much chatter” which totally makes sense to me.  My mind is always, always working and doesn’t know when to shut itself off.  As I stare up towards the ceiling or toss and turn, I am thinking of that day’s events, sights, sounds, smells; politics, relationships, Israel; health, the meaning of life; and from there I go off into some pretty crazy tangents.  Last night at 4 a.m. I knew I had hit bottom when I came up with the following halachic shayla (question of Jewish Law):

A right-handed person has a terrible accident and loses his  right leg, G-d forbid.  He  gets a natural-looking prosthesis.  Which shoe does he  put on first, the right or left?  (According to kabbala, one is supposed to put the right shoe on first – – but what if it’s not a real foot?)

I mean, come on!  Where the heck does my brain get this stuff, anyway????

(P.S.  If you know the answer to the shoe question, be sure to write in!)

2 responses to this post.

  1. I’ve gotten some interesting comments on this post that were emailed to me privately, so obviously I am not printing any names:

    “I do remember reading in jewish press of a case (recent — maybe 15 yrs ago) in France where they had to do chaliza and the man was an amputee, of the foot that he has to do the ceremony, and it was a shilah how it could be done . . .”


    ” . . . re: insomnia – here are ones that work sometimes for me:
    1) Saying Shema al hamita (which you probably already do) helps me quiet and give tzuros to HaShem for enough moments to fall asleep. HaShem, dear Father in Heaven knows best, He has His plan in mind. Bitachon, emuna are muscles I’m exercising more and more this year, please Gd.
    2) Torah on the line phone# 323-939-tora (8672). I press #2 for English, #1 for chasidus, #4 for yom yom etc. It’s a calm resource in the dark.
    3) I repeat recovery/emett spots: calm begets calm, situation is phasic not basic, temper is a luxury I can’t afford, I’m not right or wrong, just average, temper is intellectual blindness (gaiva) to the other side of the story, take the secure thought (yetzer tov), mental health is worthy goal , endorse for effort, success is up to HaShem, etc. . . .”


    ” . . .Oh, and as for Ambein, I’ve used it. I had a strange experience with it, too. I took one on a Friday night. The next morning I got up and found that a unopened can of whipped cream had been opened. I asked my daughter if she had used it. Both she and my wife swore they didn’t touch it. Apparently, I had been sucking on the can that night and didn’t know it. But it got even stranger. When Shabbos ended I turned on my computer and I found out that I had ordered a bunch of books from Amazon and didn’t know it. I would never order something on a Friday night. And I always turn off all the computers in the house before Shabbos starts.”


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