I tried counting sheep but I couldn’t see them

“Let your worship keep count of the goats the fisherman is taking across, for if one escapes the memory there will be an end of the story, and it will be impossible to tell another word of it.”–Don Quixote



I am an odd traveler in that I can fly on a red-eye, not sleep during the flights, land and literally hit the ground running. I like to keep on the go. I need to move, move, move. That is actually the hardest part of flying for me. Well, besides the turbulence.  I used to get extremely anxious during plane turbulence. Then I ended up traveling every week and my mind could not afford to be so anxious at every turn.  Ok, the hardest part for me now is not being able to walk around the plane. I need to move. My legs are constantly shaking back and forth. I recall, one of the first times I went onto a stage as part of panel, someone told me quietly to stop the leg shaking. Apparently it was distracting.  I also bite my nails a lot. My son does so as well now. Fidgeting is inter-generational.


Because I am always on the go, my mind tends to race a lot at night. I have had a harder than usual time falling to sleep in Durban, South Africa. When I was in Melbourne, a few years back, I would fall asleep and wake up at 3am and just keep going. At least in Melbourne, there was a gym. Here, I have no gym access and thus my legs are even more fidgety than usual.  I can’t seem to fall asleep here. The other night I stayed up till 4am and then woke up at 8:50am so that I could go present my research. How, I didn’t fall asleep during that I don’t know. My body is just fighting me on the sleep front.


I have taken Benadryl to make me drowsy. Yet, I stayed wide awake. It had no effect on me. Yet, when I have to take Benadryl at work, I can barely keep my eyes open at subsequent meetings. Ok, I think we all know what that is about. I have taken Benadryl. I have had wine.  I have taken extremely hot showers. I have had only two cups of coffee (sometimes just one) a day.  I have played the Civilization game on my iPad. You know how many wars I have started across my games? I have watched bad television shows, including CNN’s early coverage of the Republican Convention And nothing, nothing, is making me sleepy.


I got so desperate at my state of alertness, that I decided to try something I have never done before.  I decided to count sheep. I have heard of such a thing. I really don’t know if anyone really does that. I don’t think I personally know anyone who has. I tend to know people that for some reason have no trouble falling asleep. And when they do, they use sleeping pills or lots of alcohol.


After several days of having a hard time falling asleep, I decided to try counting sheep. How lame of me, I thought. Yet, I went for it. I closed my eyes and tried to visualize sheep. I wondered what should they be jumping? Are they to jump a fence? Is that the norm?  I thought of getting up and googling how one counts sheep, but thought that would be even more lame than trying to count sheep itself.  I closed my eyes and tried to visualize the sheep. I was thinking of an equestrian event where sheep would jump through all these silly barriers. I tried and I tried. Yet, no sheep would come to my mind’s eye. I tried for about 15 minutes. I saw no sheep. I could see not a single one. I wondered what was wrong with me that I could not even visualize, imagine seeing, sheep. After fifteen minutes I had to stop for I have always remembered that if after 15-20 minutes you do not fall asleep you should get up and do something to readjust.  I got up and checked my email. Boy was that a mistake. There has got to to be a better way for me to find my sleep path.  Maybe on my upcoming red-eye I will try counting sheep again now that I caught a few on the road as I made my way to Mandela’s Capture Site up north from Durban. The sheep were cute but I am not too sure they have the power to dull me to sleep. Let me go and try one more time.




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