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CLINICAL VITAMIN ZZZ

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VITAMIN ZZZ: winter 2018 CLINICAL Produced by SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com; edited by Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH. All rights reserved. All images included in this digital publication are public domain or otherwise permitted for use without credit. 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 sleep health information.


VITAMIN ZZZ

A digital literary quarterly devoted to sleep

WINTER 2018

CLINICAL Edited by Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH A PUBLICATION OF SLEEPYHEADCENTRAL.COM


VITAMIN ZZZ

CLINICAL

table of contents About Vitamin Zzz & Call for Submissions for 2018     6 CLINICAL: An Introduction by Tamara Sellman     7 "Insomniac"     8 

"I'm in Love With a Tooth Grinder"   15

"Go to Sleep"    9

"At Bay"   16

"Taste of Sleep"   10

"An A"   16

"Insomniac Roommate"    10

"Arms of Night"    17

"Eating Glass"    12

"German Murphy"    18

"Sleep"    12

"Idiopathic Narcolepsy"    19

"Nocturne Without a Magician"     13  

"The Three A.M. Wake Up Call"    21

"Palinode: Myoclonus"    14

"lines from an apnea bride"     23

   Sally Zakariya                                                                                           Jennifer                      Perrine                   Elaine Reardon

  Jacalyn Carley

  Eileen Malone

  Jacalyn Carley

   Eileen Malone

   Elya Braden

   Bill McCloud

   Carl "Papa" Palmer

   Bill McCloud      Emily Rose Cole

   Jennifer Perrine

   F.J. Bergmann

   Jocleyn Moore

   Jennifer Hambrick

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"Apnea"   24

  Elaine Mintzer

VITAMIN ZZZ

"Kafkaesque"   25

  Marion Cohen

Publisher SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com

"Sleep Clinic"    26

  Christopher Soden

Editor, Production & Design

"Polysomnographic Buzzologist"    28

  Daniel Edward Moore

Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH Contact Information

"Night Nurse, Sleep Clinic"    29

  Carol Barrett

SleepyHeadCENTRAL ATTN: Tamara Sellman

"Living in a Daydream"    31

321 High School Road NE

  Amberleigh MacIntyre

PMB 204, Ste. D-3 Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Acknowledgments    37

sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com Business inquiries only: 206.618.7348

Mission statements    38

Produced in Issuu using Canva.

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about Vitamin ZZZ Vitamin ZZZ is a publication of SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com (SHC), an online clearinghouse of sleep news and information (since 2013). Vitamin ZZZ collects quality literary writing that captures the personal impact of sleep health and sleep disorders. A previous blog series entitled "Vitamin Zzz" first appeared in SHC in July 2017. For 2018, Vitamin ZZZ appears as a digital quarterly magazine via Issuu, distributed and accessed for free online.

2018 call for submissions Vitamin ZZZ seeks creative writing on sleep health, sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, sleep habits, dreams… anything directly correlated with the biological process of sleep. Writers may submit: FLASH FICTION (under 1000 words) ~ POETRY (free verse, formal verse, prose poems) PERSONAL ESSAY (under 2000 words) ~ CREATIVE NONFICTION (under 2000 words) Only the highest quality work accepted. Writing should explore SLEEP, i.e. personal experiences with diagnosed sleep disorders, people suffering from unexplained or undiagnosed sleep problems, caregivers concerned about the sleep of their patients or loved ones. All perspectives are sought and welcomed: humorous, clinical, personal, spiritual, political, fantastic, familial, experimental, confessional. HINT! We could use more prose poems, flash fictions, personal essays, and creative nonfiction. Topics we especially like: sleep disorders (sleepwalking, sleep apnea, circadian rhythm problems, daytime sleepiness, shift work disorder, etc) or sleep problems related to a second health condition (Alzheimer’s, diabetes, etc). The voices of healthcare professionals are especially desired. DEADLINES: March 31, June 30, September 30 2018 THEMES: CLINICAL (Winter); RESET BUTTON (Spring); MIDSUMMER NIGHTS (Summer); NESTING (Fall) HOW TO SUBMIT Send mss in body of email to sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com with “VITAMINZZZ Submission” in the Subject line. No snail mail submissions, no attachments (firm). Writers of accepted work will preview a single digital “galley” before it goes live. Submit only 1 (1000-word+) prose submission at a time, or up to 5 poems or 5 flash prose pieces (totaling up to 2000 words) at a time. Previously published work okay as long as you retain rights; simultaneous submissions okay, but do notify SHC if your work is accepted elsewhere. In lieu of an author’s bio, please reference where you live (i.e. John Doe lives in Pennsylvania, or John Doe lives in Reading, PA), any prior publishers to credit, and a 25- to 100-word personal statement written in third person about your relationship with sleep. Send concerns or questions to sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com with “VITAMINZZZ” in the Subject line. These are complete guidelines.

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CLINICAL: an introduction I'm thrilled to offer this first-ever literary compilation focused on creative writing about sleep! From narcolepsy to sleep studies, restless legs to sleepwalking, insomnia to jet lag, this collection of poems and

" personal prose captures just how insidious sleep problems can be. Not only do disorders and challenges to sleep invade our health and wellness, but they impact our loved ones. The insights of sleep nurses and technologists, and of patients dealing with sleep studies, put the clinical in CLINICAL, making this winter edition of Vitamin ZZZ complete. I hope these words inspire you to think about your own sleep health differently and become more proactive about getting that all important eight hours each and every night! ~ Tamara Sellman, editor

"

about the editor 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 ('90), she is a seasoned publishing professional with over 30 years of expertise. First-hand experiences in publishing (print and online) 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, and fiction writer with two Pushcart Prize nominations and other accolades. Her journalism credits date back to the mid-1980s. Sellman earned her board credential as a registered polysomnographic technologist (RPSGT) in 2013 and was one of the first in the world to be certified in clinical sleep health education (CCSH) in 2014. She currently produces SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com, Vitamin ZZZ, a weekly column ("While You Were Sleeping") for the American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST), and contract work for sleep clinics, online health publications, and nonprofits. Her reportage earned her the AAST Literary Award in 2017, which honors and recognizes an original published article, paper, or textbook chapter that represents excellence in technical literary writing by a sleep technologist.

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Insomniac Are we in France? you wonder

Is this real? you ask and yes,

as I help you struggle up from where

the place you set out from every night

you stumbled against the bookcase,

        is real enough.

scattered pillows and books the flotsam

So is the final destination. But the stops

and jetsam of your aborted

between—France, Atlantis, wherever—

         journey.

are submerged in dream geography,

     

real as real until morning.

Not France, I say here in the suburban bedroom where you set sail each night in your quest for sleep— not warm milk, not meditation, not Chinese herbal tea but Ambien         your guide.   Where are all the people? you ask          did you see them? I saw only you, guiding you back to bed, safe harbor in the Ambien sea with me beside you, frail bulwark against the wakeful dark.

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Sally Zakariya SALLY ZAKARIYA lives in Arlington, VA. "Sleep is a beautiful gift, and dreams are the silvery wrapping paper. I’ve kept a dream journal for years and have often used dream images in my poetry. My husband, alas, suffers badly from insomnia. He uses a CPAP machine because of sleep apnea and has taken various medications but is concerned about becoming dependent. We’ve found a shower and a little warm milk before bed can help, and we enjoy telling each other about our dreams over breakfast."

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Go to Sleep Warm milk, chamomile tea in the Peter Rabbit mug. Then alprozolam, clonazepam, temazepam, Mozart, Chopin, Bach, on to chanting and breath yoga. Next, counting backward and breathing slow, on to walking—but not too fast— yoga, qi gong, and meditation's touch.

ELAINE REARDON lives in western Massachusetts. "I love sleep. I’ve been on a long-term quest for better sleep, and I’m now rounding a corner both as an avid sleep enthusiast and health care practitioner."

Then kava, and chamomile, liver support, hawthorn, l-theanine, GABA, 5-HTP, passionflower, adrenal support for anxiety. Memory foam mattress on the bed, soft warm blankets tucked just right, contoured pillow under my head. Thick curtains close out moonlight. Come creep into bed, sleep with me. Elaine Reardon

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Taste of Sleep I woke up this morning to know I can sleep once again, perchance as is said, to dream last night was my first pill I punched it from the foil swallowed the white tablet put aside all the thick conceits that were righteously mine admitted defeat, surrendered took the prescribed medicine

the clinicians insist this is not possible, and it isn’t, but I know what I tasted last night, like host placed in open mouth, tonight I will once again receive the pill and a merciful taste of my own sleep. Eileen Malone

the pink inside of drowsy pecked at insomnia’s shell and I tasted sleep as scented sap drawn from the marrow of all white trees, its flavor almond, dill this morning arrived precisely with me remembering that smell never smelled before similar to parsnip, dose of water hemlock

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Insomniac Roommate Our insomniac roommate is at it again eyes open yet fast asleep, on her knees before the open door performing her nocturnal task of cleaning the fridge out with all re-used margarine tubs take-out cardboard containers all limp and soggy evidence of zip-locked unforeseen couplings she wipes with damp cloth all shelves and brackets then rearranges the sweet raw, newly laid, neatly in clean lines if we see her, bathed in the only light in the otherwise dark kitchen coming from one tin-white little bulb in the refrigerator, we tiptoe around her because quite frankly, none of us want to go to all the bother of doing it so we leave her to it, she won’t remember sleepwalking and we won’t tell.

EILEEN MALONE lives at the edge of the coastal fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. "Angry, sad, worried, defeated, it doesn't matter to me. Sleep is the best cure-all. It is my escape, my refuge, my sanctuary. A time for my brain to recharge and make sense of it all, a time to heal. Although not always possible or advisable, inevitably the kindest thing I can do for myself when in crisis is to take to my bed and sleep. My heart goes out to my friends suffering from sleep deprivation. I really struggle to understand how they cope. Some don’t very well, I’m afraid. I’m grateful for publications that stress the importance of sleep and the necessity of good sleep."

Eileen Malone

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Eating Glass

Sleep

The first time I saw a preschool kid (Do they have schools here?) smoking a cigarette I just stood and stared

My first month home after Vietnam I could sleep as much as I liked No one was brave enough to wake me because they had all heard about the startle reflex of a war vet I don't remember ever being startled but I sure got a lot of good sleep

Mama-sans squatting to pee along the road never drew a second glance But a child casually smoking was hard for me to unsee For a month I had a reoccurring dream of a smoking toddler a circus performer eating glass and a ward filled with

Bill McCloud BILL MCCLOUD lives in Pryor, OK. "My entire life I have associated my Vietnam experience in the late sixties with dreaming because it seems so different compared to anything else I've ever done. Was it a false memory or lucid dreaming or reality?"

Thalidomide babies But after about four weeks the dream became a memory of a dream of a memory Bill McCloud

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Nocturne Without a Magician Night of hacksaw wind & tick-fat moon, of dog groan & failed medication, night I’m filling with letters to the body I can’t sleep in: Dear body,       get your shit together because if we keep going to the bathroom this much, we’ll never sleep more than an hour at a time. Dear body,       let there be another way out of this than through the chute of a syringe wasping in our thigh. Tell me that this year is the first half of a magic trick, the part when the woman’s severed feet dangle from one box & across the stage her head simpers from another.       Tell me that any minute   some magician will stroll in to drop a curtain, waggle his fingers, then—ta-da!—we’ll be made whole, each chasm in our brain erased. Dear body,       how do I begin to love you again? Teach me to stop trying to resurrect what is already alive. Emily Rose Cole EMILY ROSE COLE lives in Cincinnati, OH. "I have always had a complex relationship with sleep, due to regular nightmares, lifelong difficulty falling asleep and, more recently, a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, which means that much more sleep is required (though often interrupted by the needs of my unruly body)."

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Palinode: Myoclonus You sing my body

lullaby lacing

electric, pulse that tethers

under my tongue, drowning out

me to the wakeful

your Pied Piper tune:

world. Chalazae, small

in sleep, I still hear

knots at the ends of my rope:

your shaky flute, the mountain

how you hold my yolk

still waits to bury

alert in this shell

me under its rock

where suns fall into my palms,

and sway, your convulsive jazz

rise brutal as fists.

spilling from its cave.

Thug, you muscle me

Jennifer Perrine

into your tics, your spastic dance. Bouncer waiting at the cordoned doors to my hypnogogic trance: three nights without rest and my egg is cracked. But benzodiazepine, how sweetly it hums,

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I'm in Love with a Tooth Grinder How she crushes the fine bones of her dreams

with the strange lullaby of our skin

like so much grist, turns the night

against the sheets, the soft hymn of our legs

in her mouth. I love the sound of her slow cud

scratching together in the dark.

movement, her sympathy for the counted sheep,

Jennifer Perrine

how she’ll ruminate for hours and come up with nothing but her own circular thrum,

JENNIFER PERRINE lives in Portland, OR. "For years, I delighted in the

mantra of the clenching jaw, meditation

strangeness of my sleep: brief bouts of

on the erosion of the body.

somnambulism, one-sided conversations in

I think she wants to tell me what burdens

unintelligible tongues, grinding my teeth in a discordant tune that even the

she polishes behind her lips: the pestle rasping at its mortar, the whistle

neighbors could hear. Then, some mysterious combination of shifts in my

of knife against wheel,

body led to chronic sleep myoclonus,

adrenaline weeping of brakes,

convulsing. For nearly a decade, I’ve

slow sliding halt of the world. We learn to sleep with that hum of friction, with the moon rubbing up against our shadows, begging to touch us,

which, if untreated, keeps me awake, struggled with the knowledge that I’m dependent on medication to allow my body to rest and my mind to restore. I am just now making peace with this change, finding wonder even in this condition that has so wildly altered my life."

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At Bay

An A

My tinnitus sings

Sweet night or

one breathless tone

night sweats?

that cracks the cheeks

What a difference an A makes.

of the full moon, lights up

24 little hours.

the eyes of the crescent moon,

26 little letters

electrifies seaweed, sends the sailor

copulate in the dark part

below deck, descales the diamonds

of the day, changing partners

on a mermaid’s fin.

of sheet music. Jacalyn Carley

A wonder that one lone note can keep cargoes laden and rolling with lullabies (the agents of sleep) at bay. My tuneless song, draped like a siren and brazen as a lighthouse, scuttles sleep’s tugboat just to hear its own echo, to perform each night

JACALYN CARLEY lives in Berlin, Germany. "I have a tough love approach to sleep. I take my tinnitus to bed every night, spends hours tuned in to it. Maybe one day I'll detect radio signals from other planets."

for indifferent stars in a deaf and dark heaven. Jacalyn Carley

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Arms of Night Heat wails up my spine Fevered skin, embattled bedsheets Thrust me into the dark, dodging prowler Searching shadows for the door of sleep My tongue a Cadillac of upholstered lies In the mauve of a discarded dress Arms of night enfold me like Kali Transforming, destroying My unborn baby twisting in the flames Reflected in her eyes Elya Braden

ELYA BRADEN lives in Los Angeles, CA. "Once upon a time, there was a faraway country called Sleep and a beautiful princess who was lost in the Desert of Wakefulness, struck by lightning strikes of Hot Flash. But in the few and far between moments that she staggered into REM pits of dreams, she dreamed dreams in Technicolor fit for IMAX and 3D glasses. These dreams she weaves into poems."

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German Murphy She opens the armoire door folds down a hidden bed with pillows and a comforter strapped snuggly to the mattress transforming her unheated attic room instantly into my sleeping quarters for the night. Climbing into my cloud cocoon freshly cold soon warming gently pushing, pressing me into the jet lagged slumber I desperately need to synchronize my body clock to the hands on the wall clock nine time zones across the Atlantic.

CARL "PAPA" PALMER lives in University Place, WA. "I'm retired from the military, retired from the FAA, now just plain retired without cellphone, wristwatch, alarm clock or Facebook friend. Between naps I volunteer at the local Franciscan Hospice House in the sleepy part of town in our bedroom community. I sleep well all through the night and most of the morning, however in the afternoon I just toss and turn."

Too soon waking in unfamiliar darkness for the cold journey down two flights just to go pee. Carl "Papa" Palmer

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Idiopathic Narcolepsy

We don’t think of it as a compulsion, because breathing, eating, sleeping, stuff like that isn’t optional except if you feel like you have to do it more than necessary. Or inappropriately, like recreational hyperventilating or eating the entire package of Oreos along with five bananas and a loaf of stale bread. Sleeping can’t generally be indulged in beyond a certain point, but possibly in order to counteract aggressive parental expectations, I began dozing off in high school classes. Not just some classes, but all of them. I couldn’t wake up in the morning and was constantly tardy; my detentions were shared by contemptuous delinquents and graffiti artists. My grades weren’t commensurate with my test scores, so I barely gained admittance to an experimental college with an unfortunately high faculty-student ratio, where falling asleep in lectures was so embarrassingly noticeable that I stopped showing up and shortly became an attrition statistic.    The next few years were a haze of low-end jobs and sleeping most of the time. I fell asleep at friends’ houses, at my own house in a room full of people, at movies, at parties, while driving. I fell asleep in bars and woke with my cheek in a puddle of saliva on the sticky counter. I slept through a Mothers of Invention concert we’d traveled three hours to see, and I slept all the way there and back. Sporadic pot smoking had no effect at all.      Eventually re-entering academia at a Midwestern university,  I’d nod off as soon as class began, and rouse instantly as the bell rang. Desperate not to fail again, I tried enlisting volunteer prodders. I read science fiction during lectures. I took up knitting in class. Nothing worked. I eventually got a prescription for a low dosage of amphetamines back in those more unrestrained days, after a sleep study found no abnormalities.      As I got older (and attended lectures less frequently) I fell asleep less—fortunately, as the restrictions on prescribing amphetamines tightened prohibitively. Then, during pregnancies, I began to experience insomnia. At night I wandered the dark house while others slept, waiting for my body to surrender to a  continued

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somnolence that should have been familiar, but was no longer accessible, like a husband who returns from prison a stranger, after many years during which you have learned to live alone. F.J. Bergmann

F.J. BERGMANN lives in Madison, WI. "I worship waterbeds, feather-beds, goose-down comforters, feather pillows, and thick flannel sheets. I can sleep in light or darkness, but find darkness more reassuring. Ideally, I sleep next to my warm husband, somewhat less deeply. I don't remember where I go when I'm asleep (I hops it’s somewhere nice). I hope I don't remember because I can’t remember, rather than because I don't want to remember. I have always wondered where I would go if I dreamed, recursively, that I was falling asleep.

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The Three A.M. Wake Up Call

Falling asleep is no problem; staying asleep is my dilemma. Every night, I follow the same routine: switch my electric blanket to the lowest setting to warm up the sheets, remove all the bed pillows but one, fold back my coverlet and top sheet, dim the lights, don flannel pajamas and ease my way into my little nest. To exhaust my thoughts, I read dry, scientific tomes, nothing exciting or racy or mind dazzling: just moderate, understated text to lower my heart rate, tire my eyeballs and bring a restful end to the day. Usually I read until the letters blur on the page then turn off the light and place the book carefully on my night stand. Sometimes it slips from my limp hand and falls with a thud on the carpeted floor, waking me just enough to turn off the lamp, pull up the covers and settle in.  “Night, night, sleep tight,” I whisper to myself. It’s that 3:00 a.m. unwanted wake up that interrupts my slumber which is such an annoyance. Is it the sound of my dreaming dog in hot pursuit, paws jerking in his frantic run to catch a phantom rabbit? Or a frightening dream vision? Or the room temperature?  There doesn’t seem to be an easily discernible pattern to my wakefulness.  Just a sinking feeling as I realize it is both too early to get up and I will pay for the sleep interruption in daytime mental fogginess. When I was very young, I was a sleep walker.  I remember not the actual walking in my sleep but waking up in different parts of the house, sometimes in the recliner with my knees pulled to my chest or often on the sofa curled in a ball.  It was disconcerting and disorienting.  How did I get there?  Where was everybody?  Why was it so dark?  I would pad back to bed and climb between the sheets.  What if I revert to this childhood way?  If so, I better hide the car keys from myself so I don’t wake up in the grocery store parking lot wearing my pajamas and wondering how I got there. I wonder if my circadian rhythm is out of whack.  As the seasonal darkness envelops the house, I turn on lights at 6 p.m. to hold the dusk at bay.  Nighttime tells my brain, it’s time for bed.  Could it be I am going to  continued

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sleep too early and waking up too early as a result? Of course if I liked early morning exercise, it would be ideal.  But I don’t, so it’s not. On December 21st, the winter solstice will occur, and the earth will commence its forward lean toward the sun.  Each day will be a bit longer, a bit brighter until summertime evening rays will beam through the windows and light up my bedroom.  It will be so bright, I won’t be able to sleep. Jocelyn Moore JOCELYN MOORE is from Cora, WY. "Some of my best thinking occurs when I am asleep, when the Sleep Sprites supply solutions, untangle troubles, and purge problems. Unfortunately, these ephemeral answers vanish when I wake up!"

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lines from an apnea bride me sleepy  me  tired  me  get  in  bed  me  fall  asleep       he sleepy he tired he get in bed he fall asleep              me wake up               he snore he snore he snore              me awake me listen me still awake         he snore he snore           me count sheep one two three four five six                      me fall asleep he snort loud         me wake up            he cough he cough he cough he mumble he fall asleep       me awake me tired me annoyed  me  go to  bathroom me  get back in  bed me pull blanket over head me try to sleep                           he sleep he sleep     me   count   sheep   one   two   three   four   five   six seven  eight               me  tired of counting sheep                  he snore  he snore he snore          me count days till christmas me fall  asleep             he  gasp  he  cough  he  cough  me  ask okay             he   say  yes  he  roll  over               he  fall  asleep                he snore he  snore he snore he snore         me listen         me tired     me  irritated  me  tired                     me get up me pull blanket off bed me go downstairs me  curl  up in dog’s bed me fall asleep         me sleep me sleep me sleep      dog snore Jennifer Hambrick JENNIFER HAMBRICK lives in Columbus, OH. "I would probably not be a poet had I not started writing down the poems that constantly woke me up in the wee hours of the morning. I almost never have dreams, except the ones I puff up during waking hours. It’s debatable whether I would write better if I got more sleep, but I almost certainly would sleep better if I weren’t a poet."

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Apnea Blame the machine for the fact that white petals on the water’s surface have closed my mouth to the possibilities and I refuse to swallow the song

see the plum petals, the white rafts floating on the great sea where all the rivers empty. Elaine Mintzer

that sticks in my throat until my husband, lying beside me in bed, lifts himself on one elbow in the dark. “Breathe,” he says to move me with the holy spirit, but this is less about movement than about a failure of transportation; about a woman whose jewelry knots in the box and requires surgery at the business end

ELAINE MINTZER lives in Manhattan Beach, CA. "Sleep apnea kept both my husband and myself from sleeping soundly. My husband, who tolerated my thrashing and snoring for decades, would lie awake to save me when I stopped breathing in the night. Night after night he woke me from what I thought was a deep sleep. I was not happy. The CPAP machine saved my marriage. "

of fingernails and straight pins; about chains that snap and reds that turn blue, blues that run sluggish and forget to breathe, giving rise to lightning on the horizon as dendrite and neuron drown. From under water, my eyes

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Kafkaesque I don’t wake up a giant beetle. And this isn’t one of those horror stories where your hands turn against you and clench your neck. Only my right back and upper legs, only those muscles deep and shallow clench as tight and as painful as possible and then some, clench against and within me. It’s only, every time I sleep, its turn against me wakes me every three, two, sometimes one hour. Well, why not muscles, in one’s sleep or one’s waking, turning against one? Why not our bodies and our brains betraying us and ours, making us merely a variation of human? Why not? asked Gregor? Why not? Marion Cohen

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."

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Sleep Clinic I drive past on my first visit, doubling back to find the unmarked building. Sprawling. Cut glass windows. Beyond any stillness I’ve known. James answers the door after I press a button that, near as I can tell, does nothing. He wears blue scrubs and the interior adobe is swathed

hush. Lost Highway is unwinding on A&E and an hour slips before James returns. He has moved to Dallas from scrubby eastern hills and ties his hair off in a ponytail. I remove my shirt and sit on the edge of the bed, while he applies

in posh earth tones of lattĂŠ coffee and dark red clay. Paintings are blotchy, thick rectangles, contemporary and nebulous, soothing and non-assertive. There is no tick or whir or hum of another. If I were in my own nest I would wear nothing at all, but tonight it is loose shorts and prayers murmured to witnesses I will never see. I watch a disc to explain the reason and purpose behind my visit. Specialists will meticulously track the music of my inhalation, tempo of my heart chambers as they empty and fill. I get two glasses of ice water and begin trawling for the lake of infinite

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the blue adhesive gel, sometimes rubbing it in his palms like grooming balm so popular in the 50s. He tells me about his mother and her success with gastric surgery. It is like we are the only two there, and I consider the nature of touch between men, empty of fear or expectation. When there is nothing to deny or prove. Soon wires adhere to temples and ribs, sternum and spine. Despite the sinister appearance, the headgear with scoop and Velcro straps nestles comfortably into place, delivering a constant current of delectable crisp, capacious, restorative air, only for me. It is like a game of exchanging wordless song with Dionysus or Raphael. This insistent gift I must learn to imbibe by way of surrender and release,

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greedily gobbling flavorless milk of ecstasy till every cell is engulfed. Hours pass I think before James stirs me long enough to explain a shift of position, heaping and adjusting pillows till I am on my side and returned to my drifting boat of repose. It is a little after 5 AM when he rouses me before driving home in streets that might belong to a planet without other human company. There is only damp blackness and yellow street lamp angels and the radio and nothing nothing nothing else. Christopher Soden

CHRISTOPHER SODEN lives in Dallas, TX. "sleep is a grace to me i ache for the nurturing restorative sleep that soothes my feverish mind with gobs of chilly oxygen i long for sleep that seals me away from the rapacious world of chaos if i could i would find an elixir that would wrap me in the bandages of sleep for days cooling my forehead healing my perpetual wounds o sleep o sleep drift me naked down the aimless harmless river on your skiff of delight"

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Polysomnographic Buzzologist She’s a Polysomnographic Buzzologist, a mosquito on speed with a first class ticket on a bullet train bound for wherever insomniacs with obstructed airways need her to sterilize every piece of rubber, steel and writing utensil required to document sleep’s brutal absence. From the blood pressure cuff’s disco strobe off the stethoscope’s Chinese face, to the scale where you stand with a bad BMI singing, oh Lord forgive me, my neck size is sorry for the last glass of wine my mind forgot, for the first piece of chocolate making love to my coffee before I walked into that clinical jungle and went into REM to be bitten. Daniel Edward Moore DANIEL EDWARD MOORE lives on Whidbey Island in the state of Washington. "Being a poet who just happens to be a Sleep Technologist, I have grown to understand the irony of the duality. Though I find great joy in helping others learn how to take better care of their bodies in sleep, as a poet, my main task is to WAKE you up. I completely own knowing the difference between the two."

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Night Nurse, Sleep Clinic At 9:30 my vagabond charges arrive, change into silk pajamas and sidle up to my station, joking about meeting this way, apologize for the slight tear in their pocket, chuckling their wives must have clutched too hard. Then come my probes and wires, cool lobes of silver and gel. They want to know how many men I have fitted, how many men led through the rolling hills of dreams. I tell them no one has ever died on my table, no one has even fallen off the edge, although I have tucked a few groping sleepwalkers back in bed. They assure me I will have no trouble with them, smoothing the light blanket over their sucked-in bellies, their undecided ankles, offer a final joke about jealous wives, after all they’re spending the night with another woman. I slip them

a daisy cup of mint sedative and take my post, clicking the monitors for apnea and alpha waves, and wait. Their charts are remarkably the same. They deny the snoring, can hardly believe their wives’ complaints. Always the wives make them come, the wives who fall each night again and again for that rasping intruder. They claim it has grown louder of late, more frequent, the husbands’ contours increasingly awkward for intercourse. They admit to hearing the breath stop, for years. At first, they panicked, roused their men to amorous entanglements. Now they simply imagine how peaceful it would be if the generator stopped. They have tried all the same remedies: rolling the carcass onto its side, nose patches, throat drops, kahlua, massage, negligées. Nothing works past midnight. Deep sleep, it is time. Alone, window raised slightly to another world, I do my job. I do it well. continued

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I am the muse of dreams, the night nurse, the starched white cloud floating over fantasy. I unbutton my uniform and air my breasts in the soft red light of medical invention, trace the silver pen left by the last drug company rep along my thigh, inch my slip up until the lace froths at the hips, just so, no just so, then bend over, insert a fresh ream of graph paper, rolling theta highway, check all the gauges, and begin. In the morning, they are embarrassed I am already about, wrapping wires in neat coils and boxing lobes that tracked their hearts, their navigable minds. How did I do? they ask, glancing at the name tag aslant on my chest, saying the night went by quickly, or that they hardly noticed I was there. Odd, they say, to sleep so well under all those lights. They fit their watches to their wrists and ask, laughing, what I put in that cup.

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One last note in their chart, and they admire my pen. I place it in their palm as if it were a feather, or a carnival prize. Keep it. Oh, a souvenir from the sleep princess, they say, clicking the point twice. Wait til’ I show my wife. Carol Barrett CAROL BARRETT lives in Bend, OR. "I value sleep not only for its restorative powers, but for its aid to creative expression. Ideas for poems come by way of dreams, as well as the loosening of unconscious imagery as sleep lays its blanket down."

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Living in a Daydream

July 2015 They were thin and flexible, like a cluster of eight-foot-long headphone cords. Twenty four of them, red, green, and blue, prudently applied to my scalp with a sticky glue that would leave a rash behind after the study ended. “Electrodes,” the doctor called them, positioned in a line neatly on the bed. Draped side by side —some stretching the length of the bed, while others were shorter lengths—the electrodes seemed organized and ready to serve their purpose. They stood out dramatically against the cream walls, dark tan sheets, and washed-out wallpaper plastered with light-tan diamond outlines. With the accompanying closet across from the foot of the bed, attached one-person bathroom, and bedside table on the left side of the bed, it seemed like a hotel room, but far from a sanctuary.    For about 15 minutes, I sat still while the doctor bound me to the machines. The only movement came from my legs as they repeatedly overlapped and uncrossed. I would be undergoing a Polysomnogram and Multiple Sleep Latency test. Twenty years in this world and I had never heard of either. The Polysomnogram assesses electrical brain and nerve activity; the latency test inspects for signs of REM sleep occurring at inopportune times during waking hours. It was at this time that they explained I would be tested not only throughout the night, but during five naps taken throughout the next day. Evenly spaced apart, 20 minutes between “lights out” and the attendant waking me up, no sitting on or touching the bed during the time in between the naps. Normally, REM is reached within 90 minutes of falling asleep, so this was looking for the possibility of REM being reached more quickly, between five and 15 minutes.      As the doctor continued sifting through my hair to situate more patches on my scalp, I asked him, “Why do I have to take naps tomorrow during the day?”        “That is how we rule out narcolepsy,” he said.      My mind flashed back to the videos of narcoleptic dogs, falling asleep in the middle of playing only to wake up and immediately fall asleep again. I let out a burst of laughter and stated, “I do not have narcolepsy. I have never fallen asleep while walking or doing something.”      The doctor seemed to have expected my denial, and let out a small laugh as he said, “Yes but we like to  continued

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check anyway. You never know, and if anything, it is helpful to rule things out. Do you experience excessive daytime sleepiness often?”     I responded, “Yeah, I’m usually tired during the day, but I’m almost positive it is just because something is preventing me from getting restful sleep.”    “Well, that could very well be a variety of sleep disorders. Narcoleptics fight a daily battle against an urge to sleep, in spite of nine hours of sleep as well as naps.”      He had a kind face that seemed overwhelmed by his smile as he cheerfully did his job and attempted to distract me with soft humming. Giggling at the waste of time those tests would be and raising my voice, I assured him, “I don’t have any of those brain things. I just don’t sleep well and need something to make the sleep restful; it’s that simple.”      Shuffling my hair back into place as best he could, the doctor worked his way down to my temples, stationing an electrode on each one and then one underneath my chin. My shoulders constricted as he leaned against them while gluing two more electrodes behind my ears. He continued to ask me questions.      “Have you ever woken up and felt like you were not breathing?”      “Eh, not really.”      “Do you have frequent adult nightmares?”      I grimaced. “Yes… every night…” The doctor nodded in recognition as I confessed, “For as long as I can remember. They're pretty bad—terrifying really—because they are super vivid and I remember them."      The last nodes were placed: two on my upper chest and a couple on each arm and leg. Two heavy elastic belts that looked like they had bombs strapped onto them were wrapped around my chest and abdomen. I decided to call it the cast iron corset. It supposedly measured the strength of inhales and exhales but did not allow for much breathing.      A plastic clip bit down on my pointer finger and a screen tracked the oxygen levels in my blood. With question after question from the doctor, I felt small pangs of fear at being able to answer “yes,” but also relief at someone finally seeming to understand these unusual things happening to me.

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2013 Do you ever have a loss of muscle control or numbing of your extremities?   Deep breaths soothed my nerves as I pulled into the unfamiliar driveway on a Monday night. Mrs. Maida opened the door and introduced herself, welcoming me to her home for the first time. Nick and I did not have a relationship outside of the classroom but somehow I ended up here to watch Despicable Me 2. I would later realize that for tonight, the living room was arranged specifically for prime movie viewing. The couch had been moved around to face the fireplace, where a large projector was set up and displaying the film onto a white backdrop taking up most of the wall.      Sitting there on Nick’s couch watching the movie, as close to the left side as he was to the right, I experienced the usual nerves. I found myself in the bathroom four separate times throughout the two hours, rinsing my face and washing my hands. They were sweaty again by the time I returned to the couch. Purple goo was shot at each minion-gone-evil. The movie was nearing its end. Inhale, exhale, slowly. Twenty minutes of deep breathing. By the end of the movie, I was ready to astound him with suave conversation skills. I followed him into the kitchen.      “Would you like some mint chocolate chip ice cream?” he asked, as he stood with the freezer door open, peering in.      “No, thank you,” I replied, as I switched to leaning against the pantry door a few feet away.      He grabbed the carton and went to the cabinet to get himself a bowl. I took a few steps, now standing awkwardly in the middle of the room.      “Are you positive you don’t want any?” he asked while facing away from me. In the time that I had attempted three different waiting positions, he had not even glanced my way. I felt the sweat behind my knees, and sat down in a chair so that the sweat could not be seen on my jeans.      He put two scoops into his bowl, slid over to put the carton back into the freezer, and finally turned my way. I had already stood back up and was leaning against the countertop. continued

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  My eyes met his. The room distorted for a second. Amidst my anxious giggling I heard him ask, “Are you okay?”     “No,” I stuttered. “I can’t feel my legs.”     I glanced upward at the corner of the ceiling, holding my stomach and swallowing excessively. My legs betrayed me as a paralyzing, numbing sensation went through my calves and into my feet. I reached out for the counter as they gave out, supporting myself with my tingling, yet still functioning, hands. My fingers had no feeling as I connected with the counter. I felt as though I were holding a block of ice.     Somehow among the excessive swallowing and tingling that crawled up my back and across my face, I managed a fake smile and tried to laugh it off: “Sorry, I get a bit nervous around guys.”

March 2015 What is the chance of you dozing off while operating a motor vehicle?   Leaving the orthodontist around 11:00 am, just one left turn separated me from the Best Buy where Nick worked. Two minutes. A sixth of a mile.     A mental fog sent my brain into a daze as my spine was rendered unworkable, allowing my head to begin tipping forward; I was able to find refuge in the line of cars coming to a halt at the intersection. Red lights are a girl’s best friend—nap time. My body jerked forward with my car as the horn behind me sent my foot instinctively pressing the gas only to slam on the brake. There was nothing ahead of me but a paved path leading up to a green light. My hand shot up waving in apology, and I steadied my speed as I curved the wheel for my left turn.      I opened my eyes as I swerved off the road just in time to see the failure of my attempted turn. A sudden coldness filled my core as I clutched my chest on reflex. Angry screams came from my car as it collided into the cement curb that should have been separating my car from the plaza to my right, clearing it. One hand aggressively pressed on my chest as the lining of lungs inflamed from stress and my tire popped. Hastily pulling forward enough to turn into the Best Buy parking lot that stood only a tenth of a mile 

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away, I put my car in park and knew I could no longer handle this on my own; the game changes when the lives of others are involved. Someone could have been walking there. My breathing steadied as I held back the urge to scream and cry; staring at my surroundings, I saw nothing.

April 2015 Do you have any concerns confusing dreams with reality?      “Tofu, please. In a bowl.” I told my friend Megan the big news as we walked through the line at Moe’s, making our selections and choosing our add-ons.    “Did you hear about Tyler Berry?” I asked her. Tyler had been a middle school friend of ours, and had turned into an incredibly talented artist whose life-like sketches and drawings were stunning and sought after.    “No, what happened?”    “He was just arrested for selling a piece of his artwork. It had his signature on it and he sold it as an original, but it ended up not being his. He plagiarized the painting.”    This was shocking news, and she quickly replied, “No way. That did not really happen. I didn’t see anything online or in the paper.”    “I swear!” I told her with the confidence of someone who could have been holding the newspaper with the evidence in their hand as they spoke. “I will go on Google right now and find what I was reading.”    As I continued to search various phrases in order to find this information about Tyler’s arrest, my stomach turned. I kept trying: “Tyler Berry Arrest,” “Tyler Berry Artist,” “Tyler Berry Plagiarism.” I scrolled through Facebook where I remembered first seeing the link. Megan already knew what I was going to say, because she could see the color changing from pale white to red in my face.    Rolling my neck and wrinkling my forehead I confirmed, “I guess it never happened… I must have dreamt it. Which is not good because I have been telling people from high school about it for weeks…"  continued

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"CLINICAL "

                                                                                      The doctor asked his last question: “Do you have any concerns                                                                                         confusing dreams with reality?”                                                                                               I never liked explaining specifics because it’s too complicated                                                           so I answered, “Yeah, sometimes the two get confused a bit.”      The installation of wires was complete. I clambered into bed and slid under the covers as the doctor told me I should be able to sleep comfortably. The machines and cameras were calibrated as they told me: “look to the right,” “look to the left,” “clench your teeth,” and “close your eyes.”      Obediently, my eyes closed.    Amberleigh MacIntyre AMBERLEIGH MACINTYRE lives in Middletown, CT. "In 2015, as a junior in college, I was diagnosed with a rare and chronic sleep disorder called narcolepsy. I had to make some major changes, but I'm learning how to show my narcolepsy who is boss."

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Acknowledgments "Apnea" (see p. 24) by Elaine Mintzer previously appeared in Subprimal in 2016 "Eating Glass" and "Sleep" (see p. 12) previously appeared in The Smell of the Light: Vietnam, 1968-1969 by Bill McCloud (Balkan Press: 2017) "Idiopathic Narcolepsy" (see p. 19) by F.J. Bergmann previously appeared in 400 Words: Compulsion in 2006

"Palinode: Myoclonus" (see p. 14) previously appeared in In the Human Zoo by Jennifer Perrine (University of Utah Press: 2011) "Night Nurse, Sleep Clinic" (see p. 29) by Carol Barrett previously appeared in Poetry International in 2005 All previously published materials reprinted by permission of the authors.

"I'm in Love with a Tooth Grinder" (see p. 15) previously appeared in The Body is No Machine by Jennifer Perrine (New Issues Press: 2007) "Nocturne Without a Magician" (see p. 13) by Emily Rose Cole previously appeared in Phoebe Journal in 2017

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THE SLEEPYHEADCENTRAL MISSION

“The SleepyHeadCENTRAL mission is to develop an accessible, accurate, and userfriendly 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.

TO LEARN MORE: www.sleepyheadcentral.com

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Vitamin ZZZ [Winter 2018]: "Clinical"  

From narcolepsy to sleep studies, restless legs to sleepwalking, insomnia to jet lag, this collection of poems and personal prose captures j...

Vitamin ZZZ [Winter 2018]: "Clinical"  

From narcolepsy to sleep studies, restless legs to sleepwalking, insomnia to jet lag, this collection of poems and personal prose captures j...