Could you go to sleep on demand? On the American 'Truth or Consequences' Radio and TV show, Ralph Edwards once offered a contestant five thousand dollars if he would be asleep at 2 P.M. on a certain day in the press room of a large newspaper.
The contestant had one week to prepare for this test; during that week he could lose as much sleep as he pleased, or do anything he liked to tire himself. But at the appointed time he was examined by a doctor and was found to be awake.
Very Tired Man
Edwards did not run much of a risk. Offering someone a large reward to fall asleep is about the best way to guarantee that he will remain awake. The promise of the reward creates an ideal condition for insomnia.
The contestant becomes anxious to fall asleep, he begins unconsciously to make efforts to sleep, and the more he tries to fall asleep, the more wakeful he becomes.
Many insomniacs have made a good night's sleep in itself such a desired goal that they place themselves unwittingly in the same situation as Ralph Edward's contestant. A good night's sleep becomes for them the equivalent of the five thousand dollar prize. Such people need to learn to relax some how their frantic, fretful desire for sleep.
Other related pages at Relax and Sleep