Sunday, July 24, 2016

fiction as a soporific

As all things are footnotes to something else, so I found this footnote interesting ... and applicable:

The other day, while poking around in the old myth that people need seven or eight hours of sleep per night, I skimmed almost without noticing across the suggestion that when going to sleep at night, reading is a pretty good aide.

But not non-fiction, the suggestion ran -- read fiction.

Fiction slips you away to a credible-yet-wispy world akin to the anything-can-happen of dreams and thus segues naturally into the universe that, with luck, will shortly be a reality: sleep.

I'm not sure if it holds up as a generalization, but it certainly fits with my experience. It's not forced. It's light. It's like a puff of wind against the cheek ... a suggestion ... a hug-less hug somehow.

Anyway, I like it and it seems to be true, though it's a bit hard to tell with the increasing capacity to sleep at the drop of a hat.


  1. Perfect. Nothing like a story to ease one into sleep. Lately I have been returning to old favorites (in old age), sometimes opening them at random and reading along rather than going cover to cover. Have been there before and can just resume. ("Anna Karenina" is by my bed now. One of my first loves read it aloud to me almost fifty years ago, just before sleep.)

  2. PS: Since then I have reread it many times, always with his voice in my mind's ear. Forgot to mention that earlier.

  3. I like history before bed. Wild enough to be fiction and i find a humorous relief in it regarding the human condition. We're funny monkeys who've always been idiots. I definitely don't read the news before bed though, that chews the other end of that bone and pisses me off.