Kitchen Nightmares, Sweet Dreams


I’m a CHAMPION sleeper. I’m asleep by 9pm most nights, and wake up by 6am most morning for work. I sleep SOUNDLY, have graphic DREAMS (which I journal, obviously!) and — compared to so many of my peers who struggle with sleep — I consider myself lucky that I’m SO GOOD AT SLEEPING.


Meghan, what’s your secret?


Well, since you asked, there is one thing that I do almost every night that sends me off to sound, restful slumber.


Kitchen Nightmares


Mr Sandman Gordon Ramsey, bring me a dream! ?


Only I don’t really watch it, I put it on, and fall immediately asleep. Yes, sleeping soundly even as Gordon Ramsey shouts into my ear for an hour. Shouts at my sleeping brain. Shouts into my subconscious, frothing at the mouth in his melodic British accent, at restaurant owners who honestly deserve his rage. Have you seen the show? Most of the time, I don’t even make it to the part where he tastes their awful food for the first time. I’m sound asleep long before he helps them turn things around and come out the other side of his intervention.


According to Hulu, I’m on Season 5. I think I’ve seen maybe a dozen episodes all the way through. Which is just as well: because they’ll all be “new to me” when I reach the end of the series, and watch back through — hey, a good night’s sleep is important!


Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy the show. I really do like it. The few (by comparison) episodes that I’ve seen the full thing of, I’ve really enjoyed. It does stress me out a little, because I never know what gross thing Gordon Ramsey’s gonna find in their food storage (mold, usually, sometimes worse) and the belligerent restaurant owners often fight back when he’s just trying to help (to be fair, he only starts yelling when they escalate, he’s a really very nice guy. He does pack some powerful volume and intensity into his voice though, even when he’s NOT shouting. And I sleep through it all).


But much as I like the show, and I genuinely like the show! I like the show, BUT, it’s my “sleep show” for one main reason: I don’t really *mind* if I fall asleep during it. If I miss one episode, it doesn’t hamper my enjoyment of the show. It’s so episodic that I can sleep my way into Season Five and be no worse off for understanding it when I happen to stay awake for an entire episode. Which is rarely.


I know what this show’s purpose is. And I like to think I’ve trained myself, in no small measure, to sleep to it. I believe I can do this, because I’ve already done it.


In college, I had a lot of difficulty sleeping. Difficulty falling asleep, anyway. So to relax, I tried something I hoped would work: classical music. My mom once mentioned that it put my younger brother to sleep. This was before the Internet had ZILLIONS OF SLEEP AID SUGGESTIONS, so I did the best I could! Which means, I grabbed my old cassette tape of The Nutcracker Suite YES CASSETTE TAPE I ALREADY SAID THE INTERNET DIDN’T EXIST adjusted my foam headphones over my head, and before the Sugar Plum Fairy danced, I had danced off to dreamland.

It got to be so effective that most nights, I’d be out after the first musical phrase. The downside of course BEING, that the tape would keep playing as I slept, and at night I’d have to rewind Side A to play it again. Side B was Swan Lake, and Odette just didn’t do it for me the way that the Nutcracker did. I’d still fall asleep, sure, but The Nutcracker Suite was like, Pavlovian.


Like Kitchen Nightmares.


I don’t know how much is the actual content, and how much is just the fact that I have a routine. The Nutcracker Suite, sure, pretty soothing. Kitchen Nightmares? Jarring and shouty. I honestly believe at this point, I could train myself to fall asleep to Death Metal. As long as I stuck to a routine!


Consider this a “sleep aid suggestion” you found on the Internet. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try a bedtime routine! It doesn’t have to be Kitchen Nightmares. But what if… what if it does??


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