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VITAMIN ZZZ: Autumn 2018 NESTING Produced by SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com; edited by Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH. All rights reserved. Images included in this digital publication are permitted for use as described in credit captions, or are public domain, or are credited below:                    Cover image: "Dans le Lit (In Bed)" by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1839. Public domain image. Page header image: "Bedtime Tea." Unknown artist. Public domain image courtesy Max Pixel. No part of this digital compilation may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher. For information permissions for reprints or excerpts, contact Tamara Sellman at sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com. For more information about SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com, please visit the website at www.sleepyheadcentral.com. The content of this publication is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. While the editor and publisher is a board-registered polysomnographic technologist and certified clinical sleep health educator, she is not a doctor and it is beyond her scope of practice to issue diagnoses or prescribe therapies. However, general content found at SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com may be useful if you are in need of general sleep health information.


A digital literary quarterly devoted to sleep


NESTING Edited by Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH





About Vitamin Zzz 6 NESTING: An Introduction by editor Tamara Sellman 7 SUNDAY AT 3:40 IN THE MORNING Leanne Grabel 8 GROWING SMALLER Leanne Grabel 9 MORNINGS Vani Alana Winick 10 A MARCH MORNING ABOVE WASHINGTON SQUARE Chella Courington 12 GRANDMA'S SHEETS Duane L. Herrmann 13 THE SECRET OF SLEEP Meriah Crawford 14 BED. STEAD. Lois Marie Harrod 17 BED Lois Marie Harrod 17 THE SLEEP CONCIERGE Lori Romero 19

FOULED NEST Gerard Sarnat, M.D. 20 EVEN ON DAWNS LESS SPECTACULAR Michael Anthony Istvan, Jr. 21 A SLEEPLESS NIGHT Michael Anthony Istvan, Jr. 21 FILTHY PILLOWS Amy McVay Abbott 22          THE PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR OF A PRIMATE SLEEP STUDY SPEAKS Anna Weaver 27 ARMORY NIGHTS Beatrice Hogg 28  WALKING IN THE GARDEN Patrick Cabelo Hansel 32 THE PRISONERS Claire Bateman 34 SLEEP IS A PAPER CANOE, BOUND WITH NECESSARY TASKS Micki Blenkush 36 BRONZE WOULD DO Jacalyn Carley 37 AND SO TO SLEEP AGAIN Kathleen Hayes Phillips 38




PLAY OF LIGHT Marilyn Zelke Windau 39 I DO. I DROOL. Marilyn Zelke Windau 39



BED Marian Shapiro 41


SOCKS Lauren Haynes 42

Editor, Product & Design

POEM TEXTED TO MYSELF IN THE BED Deonte Osayande 45 BEDS Marion Cohen 46 THE RIVER IS RUNNING HIGH Larry Blazek 47 THE MANNEQUINS Salvatore Difalco 48 BEDTIME STORY Phyllis Wax 51 Acknowledgments 52 Call for submissions 53

Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH Contact Information SleepyHeadCENTRAL ATTN: Tamara Sellman 321 High School Road NE PMB 204, Ste. D-3 Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 Business inquiries only: 206.618.7348 sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com




Vitamin ZZZ is a digital literary quarterly dedicated to all things related to the biological process of sleep. It is intended to be read for enjoyment, but can be seen as an instrument for sleep health advocacy, public health awareness, and patient education.

Editor Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH is no stranger to the world of literary publishing. A freelance writer with a degree in Journalism (specialty: magazine editing and publishing) from Columbia College Chicago ('90), she is a seasoned publishing professional with over 30 years of expertise.

First-hand experiences in publishing since 2000 include work as publisher and editor of Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism (2000 to 2007) and its zine edition, Periphery (2003 to 2006); publisher of the limited edition Southern Revival chapbook, which raised enough funds to replace lost books in an entire small town library following Hurricane Katrina (2006); founder of Writer's Rainbow Literary Services (2009 to 2012), where she served as creativity coach, developmental editor, online workshop teacher, blogger, and literary community leader; and project manager for Penumbra: Speculative Fiction from the Pacific Northwest (2011), among other projects. She is a widely published, award-winning poet, essayist, journalist, and fiction writer with two Pushcart Prize nominations and other accolades (see www.RhymesWithCamera.com). Her journalism credits date to the mid 1980s.

Sellman established her board credential as a registered polysomnographic technologist (RPSGT) in 2013 and was one of the first in the world to become board certified in clinical sleep health education (CCSH) in 2014. She currently produces SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com, Vitamin ZZZ, a weekly column ("While You Were Sleeping: This Week in Sleep Medicine") for the American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST), sleep technology training modules also for the AAST, and contract work for sleep clinics, online health publications, and nonprofits.






I'm grateful for the autumn, for its gentle glide into winter, the dimming of the light and the shifts in the colors of the natural world. It affords us a chance to cozy up, switch out tank tops for sweaters and lemonade for coffee, and appreciate the sun when it shows its face (which is not often here in the rainy Pacific Northwest!). I won't gloss over the very real problem of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which I fend off using my "happy light" (shown above, with my Frida Kahlo doll standing guard over my sanctum sanctorum). But I do love a good opportunity to practice hygge, the Danish term for nesting. For humans, nesting most obviously references the spaces we take to for warmth, shelter, intimacy, and yes, sleep. We're talking blankets and pillows, mattresses and pajamas, hot tea and warm milk.  It's not always pretty, as humorist Amy McVay Abbott explores in "Filthy Pillows" (p22), as well as in Marilyn Zelke Windau's cheeky "I do. I drool" (p39) and in Larry Blazek's macabre bedscape in "River is Running High" (p47).  But NESTING is about more than just bedding and sleep spaces. Sometimes it's the fact we can even find a place to sleep; Beatrice Hogg's honest recollection of shelter cots in "Armory Nights" (p28) and Claire Bateman's dystopic flash fiction piece, "The Prisoners" (p34), which imagines a Kafkaesque sleep deprivation scenario, question the privilege of sleep itself. Also, Kathleen Hayes Phillips explores an underappreciated facet of grief and loss in her poem, "And So to Sleep Again" (p38).  NESTING expands to include unique perspectives on the topic, with Anna Weaver's "The Principal Investigator of a Primate Sleep Study Speaks" (p27); Deonte Osayande's rootedness in the now with his poem, "Poem Texted to Myself in the Bed" (p45); Patrick Cabello Hansel's play on the idea of a flower bed in "Walking in the Garden (p32); and Dr. Gerard Sarnat's arch rendering of a night slept with CPAP in "Fouled Nest" (p20). How do you nest? Visit our "Nesting" announcement page at the SleepyHeadCENTRAL website (here) and tell us how you prepare for cold nights and dark days... we'd love to hear from you!                                                                              


~ Tamara Sellman, editor





Hush. It's Sunday.

boyfriend jackets.

It's 3:40 in the morning.

Short bakers with great arms

It's the opposite of noise.

knead large spongy dough balls,

It's the opposite of greed, of guns,

sprinkle raisins and sugars,

of blast, of war, of hate,

shape scones.

of brash, of lies, of despise.

No one would ever conceive of mowing his

Heaters stretch and groom.


Blooms of lint dance with dog hair.

nor chain-sawing dead wood,

Play a little Scrabble.

nor blowing his leaves onto somebody else's

A little Mexican Train.


Furniture goes to the gynecologist.

It's the opposite of blowhards.


The opposite of Trump.

There is no self-consciousness.

And of course the wolves howl.

Not even from Sunday itself,

Of course the damaged are stalking their prey.

usually so cloying.

Of course the loveless are weeping into luxurious

Snores and surprise farts pop and


rumble about the house

But it is far away. Out in the distance.

like sloppy giants

Like in Akron, Ohio, where

playing avant-garde percussion instruments.

I'm sure my good friend Jan is sleeping.

Newspapers softshoe onto the porch

She could sleep through anything.

dressed in ugly square-shouldered unfitted

For hours and hours. I was always so jealous of that. Leanne Grabel






24-hour Fitness. Hollywood District. Portland. Oregon. 3:35 AM. Awake since 2:05. Tried to sleep. 73 minutes. Whirred like an eggbeater. Pureed sheets. Finally. Got up. (What a relief.) Put on bathing suit. Drove to gym. Conked forehead. Locker door. Didn’t notice. Jimmied on cap. Scalp hurt. Looked in mirror. Trickle of blood. Loping down cheek. Like teenage boy. Pants post-ass. Boxers poofing. Thoughts of my mother. Her look of devastation. On her face. At the devastation. Of her face. When she dared to look. At her face. I patted the wound. Put pressure on its lips. Then. Strode to the pool. Wore my thighs. Like corduroy knickers. (As usual.) Pool was mine. Glory. Hallelujah. All mine. Pool was still as sidewalk. O. Damn. One guy in the Jacuzzi. Comfortable face. Like a suede chair. Two medallions. Glinting. Glinting. Off his plump chest. I dove in the pool. Loved up the liquid. Gliding. Gliding. Became smaller. And smaller. So small.

Leanne Grabel

LEANNE GRABEL is from Portland, OR. "I hear there is a gene present in some who can’t sleep more than four hours. We must have it. In high school, I would get up and move around the house in the middle of the night (perhaps sneak a few cookies), but usually my father was up, smoking cigars and watching John Wayne movies, the sound as loud as a sonic boom. During my mother’s final years in her assisted living apartment, I could hear her kicking her legs endlessly, her sheets like a parachute caught in a storm."






Some people

If you think a mind on/off switch

greet the new day

wouldn’t work just right

with dread

Can I please have a volume dial

For some

to quiet thoughts at night?

the greatest challenge is getting out of bed

See the only mornings when I feel awake

I usually look forward

are the one’s where I’ve stayed up all night

to the day ahead

but then I don’t get a break

Yet mornings are brutal like battles & bloodshed

Waking up makes me tired late nights wake me up

See it took years

I’m completely backwards

for me to re-learn

sleep pouring out of an inverted cup

how to sleep And don’t give me

Don’t shame me

shit tactics like

for my fear of early mornings

counting those sheep

It’s not laziness so heed my warnings

I want a mind I can turn off at night

Just tellin you to respect me

Just press a button

I don’t wanna fight

out goes the light

You don’t know what I accomplished last night

It seems like my ideas and motivation

Vani Alana Winick

wake in spite When I thought I’d catch some sleep no no, not quite





"Antique Bed." J Magyarorszรกg. July 2010. Digital image courtesy Pixabay. VANI ALANA WINICK lives in Santa Barbara, CA. "The recipe for my sleep has so many ingredients; I rarely obtain them all at once. Lying awake in bed is frequent and frustrating, leaving me fearful of early morning commitments. My special skill is: staying awake. This is useful for driving and pulling all-nighters, but not for napping. Not for nighttime sleep. I sleep best in the wilderness, far away from light pollution and sound pollution."






The bay window had mint green curtains, tasseled ropes holding them apart, and wooden shutters that opened onto Stockton Street. Carved into the cherry headboard were vines and leaves. The bed, small, barely contained their bodies, more developed since they first slept together on a single mattress with no frame in his apartment. Young then and weighted by hope, they held to each other, her right arm over his chest and his arm over hers. Nothing was too compact. Under a sheet, their warmth filled the space. When she turned over, he turned and draped his left arm over her, breathing against the nape of her neck. If she woke early and closed the blinds, he might keep his place, content with her shape pressed into the sheets. Outside, in the park, women and men practiced tai chi, lifting their arms with palms open while facing the church where tourists were told that Marilyn married her ballplayer.

Chella Courington

CHELLA COURINGTON lives in Santa Barbara, CA. "I love to sleep and dream, though both aren't always accessible. By habit, I'm a night owl. And morning demands interrupt my circadian rhythm. My bed is the nocturnal home to two cats and my partner, where our dreams run together."






They were new once,

They are Grandma's sheets

her pride and joy,

though Grandma's gone

when washing she used blueing

part of me will always be

and hung them out to dry.

her little boy.

She's gone now

Duane L. Herrmann

but not her sheets; frayed, but crisply white,   I have them

In a dumpy little camper from a different time. They give the place   a little bit of comfort.

Slide between the sheets and I remember she tucked me in   with eyes that told her love.

DUANE L. HERRMANN lives on the rolling prairie of eastern Kansas. "These poems reflect my personal, yet complicated, relationship with going to bed and sleeping, or the attempts to sleep. Nightmares can still intrude. In the refuge of my childhood bed began my creative writing process, years before I was able to write or read. The stories kept my sanity, added balance to daytime horror. There is no wonder why I now have domestic PTSD.






  One miserable Monday morning almost six years ago, I was sitting at work sucking down a huge mug of tea, hoping the caffeine would kick in soon. I stared at my computer screen in my usual morning stupor, scanning through e-mail, and then I faded into a fantasy about being sent home because of a bomb threat. I would drive home, climb into bed where the sheets were still slightly warm, then fall into a deep sleep for not less than three days.     I wondered what the chances were they’d be able to trace the call if I used my cell phone. I wondered how long I could stay asleep before someone came searching for me. And I wondered why I could never get to sleep at night early enough to allow for eight solid hours of sleep.     At that singular instant, the first ounce of caffeine splashed joyously up against my brain cells, the neurons flashed to life, and the connection was finally made: My brain and my body are tuned to a twenty-six-hour day. It’s the only explanation that makes any sense.     The obvious conclusion, then, is that I have somehow been accidentally stranded in a strange world where days are short by a full two hours. This is clearly a serious oversight of some kind—one that will no doubt be rectified in due course. And in the meantime, I simply have to exist in a banal struggle between sleepiness and a caffeine-induced surliness that only worsens the problem.     I have from time to time sought professional help, in what I felt sure in advance would be a fruitless exercise. Doctors have offered me suggestions so obviously futile as to be insulting: don’t take naps; go to bed at the same time every night; don’t drink caffeine; quaff a cup of chamomile. As if I haven’t tried all of these things, time and time again, to no avail. 





"Early morning sunlight." Digital image courtesy Pexels.   And not one of the dull, deluded doctors has ever so much as hinted that I might simply be tuned incompatibly with this world; that I was accidentally placed in the wrong slot during sorting; or even that the days are simply too short here due to the over-fast spinning of the globe. Not that I expected effective solutions, but an apology would have been nice.     And so, I go on with things—work, walk the dog, watch television—all the while wondering when it will happen and where I will end up. Will they come for me in a disc-shaped spacecraft, or will I be transported aboard their ship? Will I vanish in a brilliant flash of light and hurtle through space to my destined planet, or simply wink out, and then wink back in on a distant world?     No matter, I am prepared. I wander with numbed mind and uneven steps through my unreality, tolerating the present, knowing my true fated future will someday come.     At night I lie awake in bed, untired, mind muttering merrily along, thinking of work, of a book I read, of the way the house creaks late at night and the moon makes strange patterns on the walls.  






  I imagine my new world, in a thousand variations, and the pure bliss of going to bed at night and simply falling to sleep. I try to conceive of a place where the days are long enough, and where I will finally be at peace.    Soon, I see puffy green clouds hovering close to the spongy blue earth, large purple beasts loping through fields of crimson grass, and my fellow beings dancing, their laughter like the sound of tiny, perfect bells.   But then the beasts see me and they toss their heads, bleating and shaking the earth. The sound pierces my ears and a sharp white light stabs into my eyes. I groan, roll over, and smack the snooze button. Another three snoozes and I will begin my groggy march.    And maybe, just maybe, they will come for me today.

Meriah Crawford

MERIAH CRAWFORD lives in Richmond, VA. “I have struggled with insomnia for as long as I can remember. Much of it is the 'my brain won't stop running in circles' variety, but it's been complicated over the years by a racing heart, chronic congestion, and assorted injuries. I realized some years ago that I'm often simply not tired when my day is done. A study I read helped me understand my problem: The subject, kept in a space without light to indicate time passing, naturally shifted to a 26-hour day. Still, this explanation offers no solution.







That morning of gray sheets,

A low table or lower,

of iron bed, the spread

mat, mattress, tatami flat.

that she had smoothed yesterday, foot, head,

Amputate the legs, a man is still a man if he has…

his arms no longer long enough to steady

No place to smoke or eat

her breathing,

unless you want crumbs

his breathing too loud to feed your nightmares. to wake her wake.

The coroner found Fritos

Call it night, call it stead— Procrustean, be honest,

between the folds of her triple chins.

with as without her.

The old choose the high bed

Oh, she had complained

as once they chose the high road…

his grunts and snores—

their bodies had not yet humbled them.

and he had grumbled she tossed and burned.

Lie down and take it. No more circling

But the bed, the mattress, the frame, how could he

like a dog, trampling

re-make this thing

your nest for the night.

where she had lain? Lois Marie Harrod Lois Marie Harrod

LOIS MARIE HARROD nests in Hopewell, NJ, where she photographs bird nests and spider nests and sometimes thinks of nesting dolls and nesting stories in the middle of the night.





"Infirmary, late in September 1918." John Singer Sargent. 1918. Public domain image collected in the Imperial War Museum, First World War gallery.






                                  sells forty winks in the form of a pillow menu                                         perhaps a macrobiotic support of flowers                                           and herbs or form-shaped to your head                                              or spelt chaff or goose down or flat                                              thin crinkly-in-your-ear horse hair                                                the lumpy fire-resistant smoker                                                  option so you don’t go up in                                                  a puff of-or perhaps a slim                                                  soft or bounce-a-coin firm                                                   maybe an allergy resistant                                                 bolster-or is that decoration                                                 standard duofill or supersoft                                               half the depth or over-oversized                                            one hundred percent cotton or blend                                           body-length or buckwheat or memory                                        maternity or microbead or sound or music                                      all of these choices could make one lose sleep Lori Romero

LORI ROMERO lives in Brooklyn, NY. "My relationship with sleep is like most New York denizens… you have to find a way to get along (or, why are the upstairs neighbors rearranging their bedroom at 3 AM?). Noise has become part of my sleep pattern—a night in absolute quiet would probably keep me up."






Good news Now that Oxygenated I’m no longer

Hearing Aids’re iPhone Linked

Eating like a bird --And no cancer --But bad news Nothing works

Fresh Air Podcasts Blasting Nostrils

June swoon REM sleep Sea cruise Turns demented

It’s unclear Whether Getting old’s Worth it

As CPAP Gone wild Draining Warmed

Or doing Sui-selves in Has become The ticket out.

Humidity In one ear While Both

Gerard Sarnat, M.D.

GERARD SARNAT M.D. is from California. "I'm a physician who's both professionally, personally, and deeply engaged in assisting people with sleep apnea and chronic fatigue syndrome. The former is a well-accepted 'disease' entity with clear-cut sleep study metrics and therapy; frustratingly, the latter is just beginning to be defined. The good news is that CPAP improves underlying extreme fatigue. We work together as detectives trying to figure out how to make CPAP 'nests' work as well as possible."






His disheveled head, wherein still echoes the sound of his bed slippers shuffling the gapped hardwood of the pre-dawn hall, is burrowed into blue collar forearms folded cold against the toilet cabinet groaning from the dead lean of his bulk. Eyes closed to keep tethered to sleep, he rolls his hips around with care until— hips pointed sharp to the back right, as if a model striking a sassy pose— liquid on liquid sounds, no longer liquid on porcelain or linoleum or grocery plastic. Upon the silence his hip-shaking frees not last drops but what would have been, with patience, another few-second stream. But stubborn that the flow has to be done, the nude man dribbles a few shuffles past the start of the bedroom carpet even. As he lies turned from the gray brightening the drapes, drips that come even on dawns less spectacular grow the saffron stains. These two he blames on his wife. Monthly they end-for-end the one-sided mattress, and he will be damned if he ever pissed it. Michael Anthony Istvan, Jr.


Worn men return at dusk to quarters cramped with mold. Over twine lines cutting this way and that, they hang bleached clothing stinking and soaking. Along with sighs, tears, burps, farts, and other emissions, such hangings work to odorize, humidify, and heat the still air these worn men breathe. And the still air is stilled further yet by sandfly-mosquito mesh over mats of plaited palm fronds and bamboo on which these worn men cannot sleep. Michael Anthony Istvan, Jr.

From the poet: "Fortunate to have been banjoed to several times by Pete Seeger in elementary school, M. A. ISTVAN Jr., PhD was born and raised in what is arguably the psychic hub of North America (New York’s Hudson Valley), where it is not uncommon for a baby’s first words to be futhark or astral. Istvan makes sure that he does not drink hours before bed because having to urinate is a constant disruption to his sleep."






After a lifetime of poor sleep, I must have pillows a certain way, my "pillow system." When the pillows age and flatten, my system deteriorates and I can't sleep. One night the pillows are fluffy, and eight hours later, utter devastation.   I popped over to the super store and pulled two pillows out of the first discount bin I found. An end cap, labeled “Made in rural China by four-year-old's who haven’t eaten in days” and featuring “Dust Mites and Bedbugs” drew me in. I selected two, each $2.79.     I didn’t think another thing about it until my husband said, “You gonna lay your head on those things. They look  disgusting and filthy.”     My friend Doreen, who advises me like a California psychic, suggested a “My Pillow.” She bought one for her husband, and now he sleeps well. Each pillow has a forty dollar price tag if you can find it on sale. That seemed a little above my current pay grade as a retired person with no income and a hefty pre-Medicare monthly insurance premium.     I figured somewhere between “Not Fit for Homo Sapiens Use” and “For the best night's sleep in the whole wide world, try My Pillow dot com” there is an acceptable alternative on the Internet.       This ain’t your grandmother’s online shopping trip. She didn’t have to deal with the Memory Foam Revolution. We once bought memory foam mattress which came with two memory foam pillows. For about three weeks, I had a severe asthma attack every night. After multiple attacks, we figured it might be the memory foam. By researching, I learned about “off-gassing” defined below by AmericaSleep.





WHAT CAUSES MEMORY FOAM SMELL?       Memory foam smell comes from a reaction called “off-gassing.” If         you’ve ever smelled fresh paint, dry cleaning, or the inside of a new car,         that’s off-gassing. New foams and many other manufactured products         experience off-gassing. It happens when “volatile organic compounds”          (VOCs) break down. As opposed to being stable, these “volatile” (or         unstable) compounds break apart, most commonly forming gases          —hence the term off-gassing. In mattresses, the most common place to          find VOCs is in the foam and adhesives. They can include         chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), formaldehyde, benzene, methylene         chloride, toluene, trichloroethane, naphthalene, perfluorocarbons.

We returned the mattress (100-night guarantee) and bought a foam mattress that didn’t expel toxic fumes. The vendors insisted we keep the pillows, which our cats Sisy and Fala found off-putting. A new pillow is catnip for a kitty, but not the feral possum smell of the memory foam.  Researching appropriate foam pillow options, I turned to one of the best finance magazines in the world, Forbes. Why not Good Housekeeping or Foam Pillow Monthly? Read Forbes' take on the best pillows here*. Between interviews with Donald Trump and discussions about inflation, do editors sit ’round a long, mahogany conference table with their heads bowed on various pillows, sampling the latest wares?    Recommended as the number one pillow for most people by Forbes is the Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow.






“...supportive without being too firm or stiff, and testers appreciated that its moldability accommodated each sleeper’s specific contours. The Xtreme Comforts averaged the highest ratings among most of our testers, but it wasn’t everyone’s favorite. So while one of the competitors might be a better pick for you, we’re still confident that the Xtreme Comforts won’t steer you wrong...”

  That sounds great, but $49 a pillow was out of this retirees’ annual pillow budget. (Disclaimer to friends with $10,000 electronic mattresses and two remotes, a vintage lamb’s wool duvet made by blind Argentinian nuns in the last century and five thousand dollar Icelandic eiderdown pillows: get over yourselves.)     I wonder if the Forbes’ recommended pillow is pricey (by my low rent standards) because of the extra cost “shredding” the memory foam involves?    Who is doing the shredding?

Are there bureaucrats in the industry who regulate the conditions of shredding memory foam? Like OSHA, except just for pillow shredding?

Why does memory foam need to be shredded?





And the most disturbing question to this asthmatic is when memory foam is shredded by professionals does it disperse more of the toxic garbage including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), formaldehyde, benzene, methylene chloride, toluene, trichloroethane, naphthalene, perfluorocarbons?   Disappointed by the price tag, I compromised with a set of two Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillows, Dust Mite Resistant and Hypoallergenic. That name just implies romance, doesn’t it? The label said, “Made in Denmark by well-fed adults with national health insurance and liberal vacation days.”      Amazon Prime won’t deliver the pillows until Tuesday. For now, I’m stuck with flattened Chinese Dust Mites.

Amy McVay Abbott * https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbes-finds/2018/01/24/the-best-bed-pillows/#2a845c2250e0 (link subject to change)

AMY MCVAY ABBOTT lives in the Midwest. "My mother said I slept less than all the other babies in the crowded hospital nursery. Even as an infant, I was colicky and slept little. As soon as I could read, I used nap time to devour chapbook biographies of famous people, and I sometimes hid under my bedcovers with a flashlight. In high school and college, surviving on little sleep was an asset. Today I need a good mattress, melatonin, and good pillows. As a humor writer, my best ideas arrive when I can't sleep."





"Baboon with wood sack." Digital image courtesy Max Pixel.






We apes seem to have innovated an effective way to sleep both securely and comfortably. —David Samson, PhD, Evolutionary Biologist Tonight, while you lie in a bed

So think of me, resting humans, come fall,

of your own making, lucid-dreaming

when darkness grows long and you drift off

of a night when you can sleep

to the music of cool rains. Know that somewhere,

like it mattered to science,

in the name of science, a man tucks in a gorilla

I, Dr. David Samson, will be awake,

and decodes the dreams of lemurs.

counting the fitful minutes of this baboon crouched and dozing in a corner

From all this, my gift to you who, in your homes

like a big man stuck in coach.

on this night sleep (or do not): The blessing of evidence on your bedroom as sanctuary,

For hours I will stifle my own yawns

that you might embrace the evolution

to know his every turn and contortion,

of soft light, thread count, and white noise.

remembering how last night the orangutan enjoyed a majestic and obscene sprawl

Anna Weaver

on the pink cotton sheet laid out by a research assistant. Tomorrow morning, over coffee, I will coax monkey and ape through word games— the first of a thousand and one data points to regale the American Journal of Physical Anthropology through many a long night.

ANNA WEAVER lives in Cary, NC. She hasn’t slept through to morning (without chemical help) in 14 years. Her best night ever came in 2013 at the end of a 2-week trip to Asia, courtesy of fever dreams caused by a course of anti-malarials.






  The gray blanket was the color of the sludge that I used to pull out of a clogged drainpipe. There were flecks of other colors and different fibers mixed in with the gray, reminiscent of the layer of unidentified backing hidden under carpet. But it was the only protection that I possessed. The cot was filthy, permanently branded with stains. It was my first night at the Armory. I shook out the blanket and folded it in half longwise, like a hot dog bun. Still in my tee shirt and jeans, I slipped my body between the halves so I wouldn’t have to connect with the filthy canvas. I placed my backpack at the head of the cot and wrapped my black leather jacket around it to serve as my pillow. If anyone tried to steal my belongings, I didn’t plan to sleep through it. I pulled the blanket over my head. Sleeping in the unheated Winter Shelter at the Los Angeles National Guard Armory was my new reality.     Homeless men and women boarded a bus at the Venice Beach Boardwalk at 5 pm every night. The trip to the Armory usually took an hour on weekdays, due to traffic. Dinner was served cafeteria style between 6 and 7 pm. Women had access to the showers between 7 and 8 pm. Women who wanted to use the showers had to walk through the men’s section, where men sat on their cots watching women walk by as if they were dessert selections at a buffet. Men were able to shower from 8 to 9 pm. But all activity ceased at 9 pm, the time for lights out. Since 4 am was the wake up time, everyone was expected to get seven hours of sleep that would recharge them for another day on the streets of Los Angeles. There was staff on duty all night to ensure that nothing went wrong. I had picked a cot in the middle of the women’s section and hoped that my neighbors would have  





plans only for sleep, not for larceny. I put a protective arm around my backpack/pillow, just in case. But lights out meant only that some of the lights in the large hall were turned off. There was a side door that remained open all night. Next to the door was a television that entertained the staff on duty and provided the demarcation line between the women’s and the men’s sections. Besides the snores, coughs and groans emanating from scores of cots, the television droned on all night. I kept my earbuds in at night, connected to a small radio that I had been carrying with me for years. I tried to concentrate on the music from the local rock station, instead of the number of people around me. But I never slept for long or well, as I didn’t know what could happen in the night.         One night, a thin pale young woman selected the cot next to mine. She had a haunted look in her eyes that was unsettling. Her hands shook as she stored her belongings under the cot and unfolded her blanket. I had folded my blanket in the direction of her cot before she had arrived, so it was too late to turn it the other way without being conspicuous. In this environment, it was prudent to offend as few people as was possible. I never knew whom I would encounter the next morning on the dark, deserted Venice Beach Boardwalk. When the lights went out, she was restless. I could hear her tossing and turning until I fell asleep.           “No! Stop! Please stop! Don’t! Leave me alone! No!” Even with the earbuds, I could hear my jittery neighbor. I peeked over at her from the relative safety of my blanket. Her eyes were closed,  but there were tears on her face. She cried and mewled for hours, fighting off invisible attackers 






that were relentless even in her dreams. It was hard for me to go back to sleep. Would her fate become my own? I felt that because of my age, I had some protection from the advances of men who considered homeless women at their disposal, available to use and discard at their leisure. But I knew that rape and assault remained a possibility, even at 55. I prayed that she would get the help that she desperately needed.          Another night, I was awakened briefly by something hitting my cot. In the morning, I found out that someone from the men’s section had wandered over to the women’s section during the night, casually bumping against the cots of sleeping women. Why didn’t the staff stop him? Didn’t they see a man invading the space that contained rows of vulnerable women? I wondered if he was testing the limits of the shelter security. I wondered if he planned to repeat his performance another night, maybe this time touching or fondling defenseless women who were only trying to survive through another night. Maybe the woman that I had slept near before had been asleep before becoming the target of her attackers. After that night, my already sporadic sleep pattern became even worse.            I don’t remember how many nights I slept at the Winter Shelter during January and February 2012, but I will never forget the uneasiness that remained with me every night. A few months later, after I had returned to Sacramento to sleep in a friend’s spare bedroom, I saw one of those sludgy gray blankets in a local thrift store. I could feel the bile rising in my throat. I could see and smell the large crowded room filled with bodies reeking with the stench of hopelessness. But I 





had survived. Even though my new sleeping arrangement consisted of only a pillow and a regular blanket on the floor, they were clean, I was safe, and I could finally get a good night’s sleep.

Beatrice M. Hogg

BEATRICE M. HOGG lives in West Sacramento, CA. She sleeps on a twin bed that was given to her as a gift on January 6, 2015, exactly three years from the day that she slept in an emergency homeless shelter for the first time. She is grateful that she no longer has to sleep on a cot.






For Talia

The November midnight air softens

I dreamt you here last May,

your squirming to a coo. Don’t tell

digging in the garden, preparing

your mom I brought you here,

for Big Boys and jalapeños to thrive.

bundled and blanketed, to breathe

I heard your voice under the soil,

the pureness of Philadelphia,

and as I dug, this coo I’ve come

nestling among the peppers and squash,

to know you by grew stronger,

still growing this late in the year.

until I brushed the dirt from your face, and your smile blossomed

Sleepless, we walk the four corners

into mine. Descended from plants,

of our little domain: peach tree,                    

we ascend each night to darkness,

compost bin, sandbox, back porch

each morning to delight.

light. You breathe out with a sigh too great for three months, settle

In my arms, you are the earth.

into my arms and stare at the liquid

In the quiet, we are the breeze.

dark overhead. Now and then a star pokes through the firmament.

Patrick Cabello Hansel

PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL lives in Minneapolis, MN. "I've experienced insomnia, childhood seizures at night and comforting my daughters when they can’t sleep. As a pastor, I've also been woken in the middle of the night by someone whose sleeplessness is much more of an adventure."





"Garden bed." Digital image by Judith Almirall, 2017, courtesy Pixabay.






  Each is chained to a post an arm’s length from her bed so that she can inhale the scent of the pillow and suffer the pull of the mattress’ gravity, though she is forever unable to approach.     And they’re not allowed to mourn their slumber.     Failure to comply is immediately detected by The Apparatus, calibrated to set off alarms in the presence of even the most muted tinge of grief-for-sleep.     The Apparatus is so specific in its grief-for-sleep sensitivity that possibly the prisoners have learned to hide their grief in, or disguise it as, other kinds of sadness the Apparatus isn’t primed to notice.     This is one theory about why they’re still standing after all these years.     Another theory is that they abandoned their bodies immediately before they were taken into custody, and their souls passed into neighboring dormancies―the staticky sleep of house crickets, the one-lane sleep of road trance, the cartilaginous sleep of stingrays, the monochrome sleep of ghosts.     And yet a third theory is that though the arrests occurred without warning, they were far from unexpected—that there had, in fact, been significant preparation, not only by the prisoners but by their mothers and grandmothers as well, all the way back through eleven generations of clandestine rituals of incremental bed-ingestion as they practiced on pillow cases and dust ruffles and eventually worked their way through box springs, canopies, and headboards, incorporating the sleep residue in those structures so fully into their actual flesh that, as far as The Apparatus is concerned, it doesn’t even register.

Claire Bateman





"Bishop Willis (Alfred Honolulu) Caught Asleep." Kodak snapshot by unknown. April 21, 1907. CLAIRE BATEMAN writes: "My sleep is entwined with the historical sleep of my now-grown children who, as babies, used to curl up with me (plastic footies kicking me in the face through the night) and the languorous slumber of my calico cat. "I live in sunny Greenville, South Carolina, where I unsuccessfully try to simulate Total Cave Darkness in my bedroom. Winter sleep is exquisite, steeped in silence and depth of night; summer sleep is like sips of water that keep you alive but don’t satisfy. I worry about the quality of our future sleep as the planet continues to heat up."






Just when I think that bedtime can’t accommodate

After various drops and ointments,

any more adornment, I now require

I pop in my mouth guard,

an Ace bandage wrapped around my left ankle

kiss my husband, pull my eyeshade into place.

following a bone chip fracture

Finally prepared to drift upon

lest it wake me with a throb.

the current of poems he nightly reads aloud. This my navigation light.

Gone are the days when I could sleep on any dorm carpet or cracked vinyl seat

Micki Blenkush

expecting to wake loose-limbed. Lavender oil in the white noise diffuser. Glass of water on a coaster. Wedge pillow, body pillow, pillow of contour foam. Husband’s nasal strip and nostril tubes, a hex against his snores. If I continue this trajectory into my next fifty years, I’ll eventually require a written checklist rather than the tired gauntlet up and down the hall seeking to recall every accouterment

MICKI BLENKUSH lives in St. Cloud, MN. "My dreams usually involve running late while finding myself stuck doing various inexplicable tasks or lately that I’m about to be executed and focused not on what I did nor the impending loss of life but instead on my crappy last meal or that the guards have brought me someone else’s clothes."

before I climb into bed and grasp with lotioned, sock-swaddled hands to shift the covers beneath our cat.






The sheet is flat and I flatten beneath it, call all internal organs to deflate, say: hey bones stop fighting gravity, say, this is one great place. The earth is flat and I can fall off I can, I say, I can pancake my whole person between the sheets, go flat. Flat line. Say more, says the brain as it rises to the occasion, to abuse the opportunity— say more it says and spits in the darkness, dents the flatness, jazzes up the quietude. Flat, they write, exercise flatness even if not tired just lay flat for the same weighted number of hours, between the same walls and same sheets on the same bed each night. Go for it! Sleep is a discipline, a team sport. Anyone can sleep. Train hard for respite, for reprieve. Exercise embracing gravity.   Practice will win sleep, so call it training without sneakers. I practice often and can deflate organs, empty cranial bulges, void cavities behind the eyes, move the axis of gravity to morning. I train with a positive attitude, I am a winner. I deserve a win, I say. Say more, says the brain. And I miss the finish line. Jacalyn Carley

JACALYN CARLEY is a Berliner with a tough love approach to sleep. "I take my tinnitus to bed every night, spend hours tuned in to it. Maybe one day I'll detect radio signals from other planets.






With thanks to Patti Page Some widows say they cannot sleep in the same bed, so much empty space, but my friend solved that problem— accustomed as she was to clinging to her own side, she piled his side high with magazines, books and writing materials. Another bought a dog, has less room now than she did before.

KATHLEEN HAYES PHILLIPS lives in Milwaukee, WI. "My husband died three years ago. I spent nights at the hospital and still remember how big our bed seemed when I came home without him. My 'usual' patterns did not work, so I moved my body to his side, my head on his pillows… and fell asleep peacefully."

I use the whole bed, sleeping well under a summer blanket, storing the heavy quilt he so loved and I kicked off. I talk to him every night, sharing bits and pieces of my day, explaining all the changes and he seems at ease with how things are going, so far, voicing no objections, though he probably wonders how on earth I keep my feet warm. Kathleen Hayes Phillips







Time is green

When I said, “I do,”

in a motel room

I didn’t tell you the whole story.

LED numbers throw light

Would you have gone through with it

from a clock radio

had I revealed all?

Nightday is the same

The lake stain on the pillow,

with rubber-lined curtains drawn

the rivulet streaming my dream,

It’s delineated only with a dot

the listless lip, the whitewater teeth,

Three pillows stacked shield sleep

the draining with no straining nightly.

from wake I pleat sheets

Now, after all these years,

turn linens into a kilt

after all the laundered bed linens,

follow the mode-rhythm

I know better than to bring it up.

of an air conditioner’s drone

For if I did, you’d have to admit

I dream of my dead father and brother

what you do, and in equal time:

drag them through streets

You roar. You snore.

to a play they don’t want to see The theater is dark Mondays

Marilyn Zelke Windau

except for the green spotlight which molds my face bores into my brain There is no intermission Marilyn Zelke Windau

MARILYN ZELKE WINDAU lives in Sheboygan Falls, WI. "Silent sleep is a gift. I am the peanut butter in a sandwich where my husband and our golden retriever are the bread slices. They both snore, and seem to challenge each other with whose volume can be the loudest. A pillow over my head doesn’t work. Nudging and shushing do not work. Only foam plugs pressed firmly into my ears afford me quiet sleep."





"Hay Bed." Unknown artist. Digital image courtesy pxhere.






                                             is our parenthesis of                                                life lived by daylight                                                in cars, at kitchen tables,                                                at desks, in chairs and sub                                               ways, in bathtubs, on stepladders                                                and toilets. On good August days there are kayaks and canoes down wild Maine rivers. There are star-shot lakes ringed by piney fragrances fused with unborn wines of blueblack raspstraw-berries. On good April days there are jets to Spain, lunch in firstclass compartments on the fast train to Barcelona, red rioja with every course. On good days there are Venezualan beaches, Rockettes of flamingos courting us, the February salt air humming in our nostrils. Always, wherever, kind bed, you hold us tight in the clasp of sheets and comforters. We                                                dream, curved in your night                                                arms. We wake to your cozy                                                crinkle, your welcoming groan,                                                your greeting to first light, your                                                reminder that today we have one                                                more one last chance. Marian Shapiro

MARIAN KAPLUN SHAPRIO lives and practices as a psychologist in Lexington, MA. She grew up and escaped a housing project in The Bronx at the age of 20. When she says the word 'dream,' she often means 'poem,' and the reverse. The power of the unconscious is the engine behind her clinical and writing work. Hence, sleep and dreams underlie much of her thinking.






“You look distraught.” Dr. Carr, my new therapist, leans back in her chair. We have gone through the initial visit, the dance where I pretend I am okay and lay out my problems like a buffet for her to feast on, taste the flavors of my turmoil, while I hold back the breakdown that has been looming for a while. “Tell me about what’s going on.”   “It’s my wife.” I can’t bring myself to look at Dr. Carr, as if my eyes, surely bloodshot, will reveal too much about my situation. “She has this thing about socks.”    Dr. Carr clears her throat, adjusting her position. “Sex?” she asks.    “No. Socks.”    “Okay. Go on.”    I tell Dr. Carr about how my wife, Tara, wears her socks to sleep, suffocates her feet with fabric night after night, and by the end of her dreams, she slithers out of them, leaving one discarded on the floor and another somewhere in my space. She’ll wake up halfway through the night and slide back into the cotton skin she shed, only to later kick them off again.    “It sounds like you’re frustrated by all the dirty socks in your bedroom.”    But cleanliness is not the problem. We have agreed that I cook, and she does the laundry—not only because she made a Pop-Tart explode last year but because half the time our “bed clothes” are her sock collection. Oh, there’s that one with igloos I was looking for. I’m only surprised she hasn’t formally started using our bed as her dresser. But our separation of duties is flawless, I tell Dr. Carr. No issues there.





  “This doesn’t sound like it’s really about the socks.”    It is, I insist. The rest of my marriage is perfect. I love Tara more each day. But I’m worried about the socks, about what they mean. It wasn’t always like this. I remember a time when we would play footsie under the sheets with our bare feet, and we’d fall asleep like that. And if she stirred in the night it would be to nuzzle further into my arm, not to retrieve her stupid socks.    “Hm…” Dr. Carr nods slowly and scrawls something on her clipboard.    “What is it?” I ask, fearing the worst, fearing that the love of my life is slipping away from me, that the socks are the beginning of the end.    “I’m just wondering, what are you doing all this time?”    “What do you mean?”    “Well, you’re not sleeping much if you’re so attentive to your wife’s sock habits.”    She’s right. The idea that my marriage will end out of nowhere renders me restless all night. You know when you have something so beautiful, so wonderful that you are terrified it couldn’t last? The fear isn’t just about my wife’s recent decision to sleep with socks. But about driving every day. About living. About being. What if one of us gets into a car accident? What if our house catches fire? What if she gets sick? What if one day someone decides to turn the school where she works into the next headline?    “You’re suffering from anxiety-induced insomnia.”    “I have good reasons to be anxious,” I say, more sharply than I intend.  






“You’re right. You do. Maybe you’d benefit from therapy or medication to get these intrusive thoughts under control.” She writes a prescription and hands it to me.     I hesitate to accept the script. “I don’t really like medications.”     “Understandable. It’s there if you want it, but either way, I’ll see you next Tuesday.”      I take the slip and sling my bag over my shoulder, getting up to leave, all my problems rattling around my tired brain, unsolved. Just as I open the door, Dr. Carr says, “You know, studies show warmer feet lead to better sleep, so in the meantime, maybe you should consider wearing socks to bed.”

Lauren Haynes

LAUREN HAYNES lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where she is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She has tangled with wild dreams and sleep paralysis for most of her life, and yes, she wears socks to bed.






sometimes hiding/ under blankets/ relieves me of stress/ and it always has/since I was a child/afraid of the world/outside/ and look at that/ it still does/ 20 years later/ Deonte Osayande

DEONTE OSAYANDE lives in Detroit, MI. "I tend to listen to my favorite YouTube pages and let them lull me to sleep."






In my elementary school days I never had to decide to call in sick, my mother just told me I was staying home today. She put me in the big bed, brought in breakfast and art supplies, every once in a while orange juice and a teaspoon of aspirin not quite dissolved in water. Whereas when Frances was sick she had to be on the couch. And just before Carol moved they took the mattress off her bed leaving just the spring, I thought that’s what Carol had to sleep on, I thought parts of Carol would sink into the insides and get mixed in with the hard sharp coils. I was the lucky one. I got the good mother. I got the good beds.

MARION COHEN lives in Philadelphia, PA. "Once I had sleep paralysis, for a few seconds, maybe more, after I awoke. It was scary. I might have murmured to Jon, "Could you please move my right arm from under my head." To the extent that I could murmur. My first husband had paralysis, just-plain paralysis (from multiple sclerosis). And what I murmured was very much like what my first husband murmured to me."






So you will have to spend the night The only remaining cot is in The historic display; the preserved Enclave of the infamous murderess You put aside her frilled blouse Stained with ancient blood And settle into her too narrow too short Lumpy old cot; you speculate What drove her to murder

LARRY BLAZEK is from East Orleans, IN: "Most of my poems are based upon dreams. Some people my consider some of them nightmares, but I eagerly write them down as material for my work."






“The mannequins were eating my toes last night,” Joey said to his father as he helped him on with his pajamas. “But they had no teeth.”   “No teeth?” his father said, smiling as he tucked Joey into bed. “Lucky for you.”    The kid had some imagination. The other day he said that old man Pugliese across the street had killed his dog, Lupo. Well, he hadn’t killed Lupo. He’d only disciplined him for misbehavior. The husky-shepherd mix was a handful, and howled liked a scalded hound whenever Pugliese laid down the law, but the old man never injured him. Lupo usually bounced back with even more attitude after one of these situations.     “Night night, Daddy.”     “Good night, little man. Hope the bed bugs don’t bite.”     “You mean the mannequins.”     “That’s right, Joey. The mannequins.”     He dimmed the ceiling light. The blue turtle nightlight in the socket by Joey’s bed softly glowed. Joey couldn’t sleep without his nightlight.     Needing a well-deserved break from her stressful brokerage job and taxing familial duties, Joey's mother had gone on a little vacation to the Bahamas with a colleague. She had promised to call that evening to tell Joey goodnight, but that hadn’t happened. Not that it mattered. Joey hadn’t asked where his mother was.     This mannequin thing was weird. One day, while shopping in the mall, Joey and his mother stumbled across an undressed mannequin in a women’s lingerie shop with a disfigured face that 





freaked the kid out.  “They should keep those things dressed at all times,” he recalled grumbling to his wife. “Did you lodge a complaint?” he asked. “You should have lodged a complaint.”    “Like, what are they gonna do?” she said. “The kid got a fright. He’ll live.”    “He’s spooked.”    “He’ll be fine. Don’t coddle him.”    They had often fought over how to raise Joey. His wife promoted a hands-off, failure-is-discovery approach, and didn’t believe in babying the boy. That led to softness. Softness was killing masculinity and killing society. Her words.    It was a difficult time to be a man, true. A natural inclination to provide and protect had been turned on its head. And yet, if you weren’t prepared to provide and protect, or incapable of it, you were loathed and, in the end, shunned.    He checked on the kid one more time. Blue in the glow of the nightlight, eyes closed, lips pursed, Joey slept soundly. No mannequins in sight.    He went to bed. It had been some time since he’d slept alone. The bed felt vast. He stayed on his own side, face turned to the wall.    At around midnight, Lupo started howling. The old guy must have been lighting him up. Joey staggered into his father’s bedroom, rubbing his eyes and clutching his safety blanket.    “Were the mannequins biting?” he asked the boy.






“No, Daddy.”   The howling continued.   “He’s killing him,” Joey said.   “He’ll be okay.”   “No, not tonight,” Joey said with a sigh. “Not tonight."

Salvatore Difalco

"Almost Fairy Time." Giclée print by Arthur Rackham, 1908. Public domain. SALVATORE DIFALCO splits his time between Toronto, Canada and Sicily. "I have occasionally suffered from sleep paralysis. Lying there frozen but somehow conscious is bizarre and terrifying. After successive nights of this horror, a friend suggested I try looking at my hands during the paralysis, a method he claimed helped him control his troubled dreams. That night when I went to sleep and awoke frozen again, I tried looking at my hands, to no avail. I could only stare at the ceiling. Sometimes I wonder if I’m actually experiencing sleep paralysis or dreaming that I’m paralyzed. I guess it amounts to the same thing in the end."






King-size, queen-size, full, firm, extra firm, plush, premium, superpremium, ultrapremium, luxury, pillowtop, pillow soft. We kings and queens for whom these mattresses are made stretch out on one and then another. We run our fingers over satin-like tickings, check coil counts. We look for ever thicker mattresses: nine inches, twelve, fifteen. We want good support and we don’t want to feel the pea. Leaving the store we pass a commoner poking in the corner trash container, looking for the pea to slip beneath the double layer of cardboard he sleeps on, where he’ll dream of hot pea soup, black-eyed peas, chick-peas, pea beans, peanut butter, a warm pea jacket. Phyllis Wax

PHYLLIS WAX writes in Milwaukee on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. "I revel in sleep, hate to get out of bed in the morning. Both sleep and dreams have provided inspiration for my poetry."






All previously published materials reprinted by permission of the authors.

"Bed" (p41) originally appeared in Players In The Dream, Dreamers In The Play by Marian Shapiro (Plain View Press: 2007)Â "Bed" (p17) and "Bed. Stead." (p17) by Lois Marie Harrod originally appeared in Kansas City Voices 11 in 2013 "Growing smaller" (p9) originally appeared in Gold Toes by Leanne Grabel (Finishing Line Press: 2018) "Sunday at 3:40 in the morning" (p8) originally appeared in Gold Toes by Leanne Grabel (Finishing Line Press: 2018)






Vitamin ZZZ seeks creative writing on sleep health, sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, sleep habits, dreams… anything directly correlated with the human process of sleep. Writing should explore SLEEP, i.e.:           ► personal experiences with diagnosed sleep disorders                      (sleepwalking, sleep apnea, circadian rhythm problems, daytime sleepiness,                        shift work disorder, jet lag, insomnia, etc.)            ► people suffering from unexplained or undiagnosed sleep problems or sleep deprivation           ► caregivers concerned about the sleep health of their patients or loved ones   All perspectives are sought and welcomed: humorous, clinical, personal, spiritual, political, fantastic, familial, experimental, confessional. The voices of healthcare professionals are especially desired. Only the highest quality work accepted.  ►HINT! We can always use more prose poems, flash fictions, personal essays, hybrid work, and creative nonfiction.  Topics we especially like: sleep disorders (see above) or sleep problems related to a comorbid condition (Alzheimer’s, diabetes, mental health concerns, chronic pain, obesity, etc.) or to other obligations that force one to choose between sleep and other activities (such as school, job, athletics, parenthood, etc.).  Early 2019 THEME OPEN THEME (Winter 2019) (submission deadline December 31, 2018) Topics of interest: anything related to sleep health, dreams, sleep disorders, sleep studies, sleep therapies, or sleep habits and rituals HOW TO SUBMIT: See complete writers guidelines at https://sleepyheadcentral.com/vitaminzzz/





“The SleepyHeadCENTRAL mission is to develop an accessible, accurate, and user-friendly online clearinghouse of sleep news and information. This effort is designed to help educate healthcare consumers on the vital importance of sleep in overall optimal health. My aim as Curator is to give healthcare consumers clear and empowering options to actively address their sleep problems.”                                                                                                     —Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH

The VITAMIN ZZZ mission

While many learn best about sleep problems through their own research and frank discussion with medical professionals, others may be better served by learning about sleep problems through the creative expressions of those who live with them. Vitamin ZZZ exists to illustrate, through this literary vehicle, how sleep problems truly affect our lives.

—Tamara Sellman, Editor

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Vitamin ZZZ [Autumn 2018]: "Nesting"