There’s a lot you can do in the middle of the night, and I’ve been doing it for decades.

You can worry about death or your in-grown toenail. You can hate on your husband for having the audacity to not only sleep deeply but to salt the wound by snoring, or you can read your Kindle Paperwhite for a while without ever leaving the bed or turning the light on, but if that doesn’t put you under again, you can wander downstairs and snack on turkey which is full of tryptophan—the god of amino acids for insomniacs. While in the kitchen, you can drink milk right from the carton because no one is looking or you can check your phone, though it’s not advised since the screen will suck the melatonin right out of your body and that will be it. You’re up for good. Seriously. Checking your phone in the night is like making a deal with the sleep devil. Don’t. Do. It.

why-do-owls-only-come-out-at-night_e8417b39f5c85f95 Back upstairs, you can make sure your kids are breathing, watch the moon from the bathroom window, worry about different ways you might die and wonder how drought-related dehydration would even work. Like is there NO drinking water left in the Greater Boston Area and you’re too thirsty to make it to Canada? You can check Facebook and see what friends in Europe are having for breakfast, or you can just stay in bed and do night math.

Night Math is the kind you do when you can’t sleep. A typical problem would go like this: I went to bed at a commendable 10:30am. It’s now 2:10am. So you count on your fingers (fingers are important because it’s 2:10am and you need the visual). 11:30. 12:30. 1:30. 2:30. (It’s only 2:10, but you always round up with night math). Then you figure you’ve had 4 solid hours of sleep. You also have 4 fingers in the air.

The next part of the equation is hypothesizing. If I get back to sleep by 3:30 and stay asleep until my alarm goes off at 6:15, that means (fingers again) I’ll get 4:30, 5:30, 6:30 (remember you always round up) 3 more hours of sleep. You are holding up 7 fingers and can rest assured that you will have had a good night sleep, provided you can fall back to sleep within the hour.

But that’s another story for another night. This one ends here with seven raised fingers and us going back to bed. Now. Sleep well, friends, and I’ll try to do  the same.