On Back to Sleep

How you ever been able to not fall asleep? Which is worse being unable to fall asleep, or awakening in the middle of the night and being unable to return to sleep?

We know the tale of just counting sheep jumping over a fence, but how many sheep have you ever seen jumping a fence?

My wife was discussing with a coworker her inability to return to sleep, and the coworker said that a relative who is a doctor suggested that when you get up in the middle of the night to visit the pee-pee room, first, don’t look at the clock. If you can’t return to sleep, do the following: select a broad topic (movie titles, car models, authors, trees, wine brands, baseball players, or whatever) and then go through the alphabet selecting a word for each letter that has to do with a selected topic.

As one who enjoys problem-solving exercises, the first time I tried this I stayed awake because I was obsessed with completing the task! Because of my experience, not only here’s the topic that I use, but a list to jump-start your mind for whenever you need. Heck, I now start with naming 3 per letter.

By the way, this is NOT meant to be a comprehensive list of U.S. produce, let alone the world.

Topic: Grocery Store Product Department

A) Asparagus, apples, arugula, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, apricot, artichokes

B) Broccoli, brussel sprouts, bibb lettuce, bananas, bean sprouts, beets, bok choy, blueberries

C) Carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, cherries, cranberries, cauliflower, celery, chard, collards, coconut, corn, chives, cilantro, cactus pears

D) Dill, dates, D’Anjou pears, dandelion greens

E) Escarole, eggplant, endive, Empire apples

F) Fennel, figs, fava beans

G) Grapes, Grapefruit, green beans, garlic, ginger, guava

H) Honey Crisp apples, honeydew, Habanero peppers, horseradish, Heirloom tomatoes

I) Iceberg lettuce, Italian parsley

J) Jonathon apples, Jalepeno peppers, jicama

K) Kale, kiwi, kumquats, King Royal pears

L) Lemons, limes, lettuce, lemongrass, lychee

M) Melons, mustard greens, mango, mushrooms, morels

N) Nectarines, nuts

O) Onions, oranges, okra, oregano, oyster mushrooms

P) Pineapple, parsley, peaches, papaya, portabella, pecans, parsnips, peas, pears, plums, potatoes, pomegranate, pumpkin, persimmon, plantains, pine nuts

Q) Quince, Queen Pineapples

R) Radishes, romaine, Roma tomatoes, Russett potatoes, rosemary, rhubarb, radicchio, rhutabaga

S) Spinach, strawberries, sage, squash, Shittake mushroom, star fruit

T) Tomatoes, tomatillos, tangerines, tangelos, taragon, thyme, tara root, turnips

U) Ugly fruit

V) Valencia oranges

W) Watermelon, white asparagus, watercress, walnuts

X) —

Y) Yellow squash, yucca root, Yukon potatoes, Yams

Z) Zucchini


60 thoughts on “On Back to Sleep

  1. You might like the one I use, Frank — I do an alphabetical list of baseball players! Sometimes I do last names, sometimes first names, sometimes I do it by AL, or by NL. The problem is that when I can’t think of a player with a certain letter, I stay awake trying to think of one. I wish Ugueth Urbina was still playing, he was great for the letter U, obviously.


  2. Oh my, no wonder you can’t get back to sleep. 😉

    I never have problems falling asleep, but my problem, like you described, is not being able to get back to sleep once I wake up. So frustrating. But also like you, I think if I tried that suggested alphabet technique, I’d be more wide awake than ever.


  3. when i can’t sleep, i think of a golf course that i know very well. then i imagine myself on the first tee, playing each shot as i have many times. i usually choose a course that i used to have a membership. at. for. anyway, i imagine myself walking the course as i’m playing. whenever i’ve done that, i have never finished the second hole before i was asleep. too bad though, it’s a nice course.


  4. That would probably just make me hungry Frank. I just accept the fact that I don’t sleep very much; 4-6 hours. I’ve gotten used to either getting on the treadmill in the basement or working the blog machine. I understand we elders don’t need a lot of sleep anyway.


    • Bumble,
      Welcome first-time commenter. Ha ha … staying awake to solve the problem sure isn’t fun – thus why I stick with the produce department. I do this now with a twist, by naming more than one. On the other hand, I consider turning to a boring book! Then again, sometimes I just concede defeat and get up! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you return.


  5. Oddly enough I woke up this morning and misread the title. Thought sure it said “back to sheep.” I guess I need to wake up completely before I start reading these posts. *sound of me knocking over something reaching for my first cup of coffee.*. Pleasant dreams.


  6. It’s awful to wake up in the middle of the night, but if it’s before 3-30, I can usually get back to sleep. I’ve also tried counting sheep, but their Baa-ing, only served to keep me awake for longer. 😀 Your alphabetical list is impressive.


    • Paradise,
      I looked up this list and it’s not memorized … so I try to go do the best I can. Heck, I’ll have to return to this post myself to refresh my memory! Thanks for commenting.


  7. Strange that people seem obsessed with the fact that they need ‘x’ amount of hours sleep every night and they must do something to make themselves go to sleep even when their body says it’s time to be awake.
    Everybody is different and probably every night is different depending on hard you’ve worked, how active you have been, etc., that day. I know people who think they need 10-12 hours, personally I’m more of a 4-6 hours guy. And late night/early morning is a great time to blog, less distractions!
    But why are there no vegetables beginning with the letter ‘u’. That’s going to keep me awake tonight 😦


    • Fasab,
      No obsession at this end, but I don’t like waking up in at 2:00 am, and then getting up at 3:00 because my mind is racing like there is no tomorrow for whatever reason. Meanwhile, 6-8 is fine for me …. actually I seldom get 8. Interesting how everyone’s clock is different.

      Because I don’t want you to lose sleep over the U or X … I’m officially adding one to the list … Ugly Fruit. Although I could have also added udo or urugula, but those aren’t common in my stores …. nor are xigua, xylocarp, and ximenia. Thanks for sharing.


  8. I have the exact opposite problem… I have to devise ways to stay awake! I have been known on many occasions to nod off mid-sentence on particularly sleep deprived weeks. It might sound nice, but it does get problematic to be essentially fighting off drifting to sleep half of the day. I have deep sympathy for those who can’t get to sleep (my husband is one of them) but can not understand them. Good luck on your list making!


  9. I just have one thing to say, Frank – get the heck outta the produce aisle! Good grief, man, you know WAY too many fruits and veggies! (I’d also add that you know too many nuts, but that was pretty apparent when you first responded to my comments. 😉 )
    I have trouble both falling asleep and getting back to sleep. This is gonna sound bizarre (well, maybe not), but I play out scenes from my little sci-fi universe. It’s sufficiently distracting to keep me from watching the clock, and it’s worked for 35 years, so there ya go! 😀


    • John (formerly John E),
      You got to remember that I’m the grocery shopper here. Then again, the topic could be anything as Star Trek characters, WW II military generals, famous battles, whatever. Meanwhile, kudos for the method that works for you, thus thanks for sharing!


  10. Recently, I discovered a simple way to calm my mind and fall asleep or return to sleep. I concentrate on my breathing and simply think ‘inhale, exhale.’ After a few breaths, I’m drifting off to dreamland.


  11. I might have to try this, Frank, although I expect it will keep me awake for the same reason it kept you awake. My current strategy (which I read about somewhere but can’t remember where) is to count backwards by 3’s starting at 300. I get so bored with numbers that I usually go back to sleep before I get to zero. 😀


    • Robin,
      I haven’t heard that remedy, but hey – what’s not worth a try when one is unnecessarily awake. Just pick a topic … the simpler the better … and go with it. Thanks for visiting.


  12. I try and resolve complex fractions – you know, something like 327 divided by 48. I can’t do this kind of stuff when I’m wide awake, let alone when I am lying in bed, and it gets me off to sleep a treat!


    • Renee,
      I have to ask this question … if you write posts in your head to return to sleep, how does the post end if it puts you back to sleep? Sorry, I couldn’t resist … thanks for visiting.


    • Spiced,
      Is ugly fruit available in Australia? Regarding X, I could list Xigua, Xylocarp, and Ximenia – but they aren’t available where I shop. Then again, someone somewhere can get them! Thanks for commenting.


  13. First and foremost the “U” category does not count. No points for that. I try different tricks as well, and sometimes gradual relaxation technique. Most of the time nothing works because my mind is racing. All in all, one sleeps less when one (could be anyone) gets older.


    • Rachel,
      This doesn’t work for me when the mind is racing because I can’t concentrate on the list! … so I usually get em! Meanwhile, why doesn’t U count? After all, that’s the way I’ve seen it in the store! 😉 … thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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