Autobiographical Essays

Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD (1910 - 1995)

In the Arms of Morpheus

Sleep is as essential to life as wakefulness. Everyone, man and beast, needs a certain amount of sleep and forgetfulness to live through the stress of wakefulness. There are numerous studies on sleep and there are clinics to teach the insomniac how to fall and stay asleep, however none of these studies can explain how we fall asleep and the moment eludes us when the transition from being awake to losing consciousness occurs. Helpful hints abound for the insomniac: count sheep is one, but by the time thousands of sheep have jumped over whatever it is you imagine they bound over, the insomniac is still awake.

I have an Indian friend who was taught by his guru to fall asleep. He would say to me: "Would you mind if I take a short nap?" and then he would fold his arms on the table, put his head down and sleep. He explained to me that you empty your brain of all thought in order to lose consciousness. I am a bad sleeper even if I take some sleep medication. I try to empty my brain of all thoughts and images but I do not succeed. Ideas and thought flit about and cannot be stopped. Eventually I do fall asleep but images follow me and I have vivid dreams, some so enjoyable I do not want to wake but some are nightmares
I cannot escape from.

I do not like to analyze these dreams in a Freudian manner. Mostly they originate from a life experience; I am always young and full of life. I can get up from a chair easily and walk miles without tiring. At least in my unconscious condition I can still enjoy life.


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