Slaying Your Anti-Sleep Gremlins 

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I tend to wake up after a few hours of nighttime sleep. I mean wide awake. But it’s generally not a big deal. For the most part, I’m able to fall back to sleep in a reasonable amount of time, provided I don’t do anything that’s anti-sleep crazy.

And what constitutes anti-sleep crazy?

Here are a few of my personal anti-sleep practices. What’s crazy is knowing they’re not the path back to sleep and engaging anyway. 

  • Scanning my favorite news outlets for important headlines. What if someone famous passed while I was sleeping? I would surely want to know that before nodding off again.
  • Grabbing the remote for some “quick” channel surfing. Maybe one of my favorite movie classics happens to be playing. “I won’t watch for too long;” I promise myself.
  • Giving my powers of mental math a quick spin to test my late-night alertness? Am I really as wide awake as I feel? Am I too tired to work out the product of two, random, three-digit numbers? I’ll just give it a quick try and then check the results on my phone’s calculator. (Somehow this one never ends with one quick calculation, but inevitably results in a sleep-killing cascade of meaningless contemplations.) 

And then there’s my latest battle: Midnight Wordle.

That’s right, midnight Wordle. I wake up, glance at the clock and find that it’s past 12:00 AM. That means there’s a new Wordle-word waiting to be solved. If I solve it quickly and efficiently, then no problem, it won’t keep me from falling right back to sleep in short order.

But what if it’s not a quick solution?

What If I’m racking my brain for the best possible word at guess number two, to help make sure I can solve by guess three? Or what if I missed at three and I’m desperately trying to stave off a disastrous score of five guesses, or six, or maybe even a total miss? 

Yep, hate to admit it, but I’ve let that anti-sleep Wordle-Gremlin rob me of more than a few nights of otherwise reasonably restful sleep. But last night I found the silver bullet for slaying the Gremlin. Forget about opening with TARSE, my favorite, fully tested, super starting word. Instead, I went with speed-Wordle, using my 5 magic words to solve the puzzle in less than 30 seconds. 

It wasn’t an elegant victory, and it wasn’t particularly clever. At the end of the day, it was merely a quick, brute force way to claw away the Wordle-itch. But it did the trick. Ding-dong the wicked Wordle-Gremlin was dead, and I was blissfully back to sleep in short order. 

So… what’s the moral of this story? Simple. 

Avoid AT ALL COSTS any kind of late-night rendezvous with your anti-sleep Gremlins. Unless you have a sure-fire, silver bullet method for slaying the Gremlin, it’s rarely just a frivolous flirtation, and it rarely ends well.