Painting Sleep

dadfixes | 3:53

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"I'm telling you, I can't get past 10 before I'm asleep."

Insomnia Counting for Sleep Sesame Street Workaholic Bedtime Routine

Story Transcript

I sometimes tend to work a lot and I can get really caught up in my work, and I work long hours. I wouldn't call myself a workaholic. But I do get really involved with my work, and it takes over my mental state. And as a creative person, I'm just really deeply into what I'm doing. And what happens is, I'll work late at night. And then when it's time to go to sleep, I just can't sleep. I'm spinning about work, and there's a million things going on in my head. I'm not sure if you can call it insomnia, but it's close. It's where I can't really, I can't stop and slow down and get my mind off of work. And I feel like there's probably a lot of people with that same problem, whether it's work or dealing with the family or whatever it is. So I've come up with a technique that works every time for me, guaranteed every time to go to sleep. And it's called Mad Painter. And the reason it's called Mad painter is because there's this old character, this is where it came from... and I didn't just set out to figure it out. It just kind of happened. When I was trying to go to sleep I started out by counting, so I just counted. I'd say, let me see if I can count up to 300. Typically I'd get to 150 or 200 before I would fall asleep. But then I started getting bored with that, and my mind would drift off to other things, and I added a little spice to the game in my head, and it was inspired by this guy called Mad Painter. Or he's also known as the Number Painter. It's from when I was a kid in the seventies on Sesame Street, a television show for kids. There was this guy, this character, that would go around and paint numbers on things. So you have a number of the day, like number 4 is the number of the day, and he'd go around with a giant house painting paintbrush and a bucket of red paint, and he'd paint 4 all over the place. So that would be their little segue from one skit to another that showed the Mad Painter. And he'd paint a 4, like on a park bench. And then he would scurry off behind the bushes and somebody would come and sit down with their newspaper on the park bench, and then they'd get up and walk away and they'd have this backwards 4 on the back of their jacket or something like that.

So I just remembered that guy, probably because, that was an early sign of me being very visual and loving the idea of this graffiti in painting and everything. But what I do in my game, so how I incorporate that is, I lay in bed and I picture numbers in my head, starting with one. And every number is timed. So you have a very short period of time. You have to keep it moving and you count through the numbers and each number has about three seconds. But as you think of the number in your head, you have to picture that number on something or being used somehow. So, for example, a number one for me might be on a Dukes of Hazard car. There's a number 01 painted on the side of the car so I might see that car and see the number one and then I move on to number two. Number two has to be entirely different. The number two might be two peas on a plate. Number three might be my daughter's third birthday. She's blowing out three candles. Number four might be the number four painted on a park bench by the Mad Painter, and so on. Number five might be the door of a hotel room with the number five on it. And I find that because I keep moving through the sequence, my mind doesn't have time to think about anything else. And it continues to change every time there's a new number, so you don't have time to even explore whatever it is that that one vision is. You just have to keep moving and keep moving. And I'm telling you, I can't get past 10 usually before I'm asleep. Sometimes I can get up to 20 if it's really, really bad, I'm really spinning about something maybe in the thirties, but it works every time it puts me right to sleep. It's the pace and the rhythm of it that doesn't allow your mind to go in other places. So you're just re-centering yourself on this one thing and it just works. And I'd love to hear if it works for anyone else, I would encourage anybody to give it a shot.