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Two years ago I wrote a column called “Coronasomnia.” As you might guess, it had to do with the trouble people were having getting to sleep because coronaviruses kept playing loud music in our upstairs apartments.

COVID-19 has finally turned down the stereo, but the head-banging drummer, Insomnia, has become the guest who just won’t leave.

Golden agers find it particularly hard to give Insomnia the bum’s rush. The National Library of Medicine reports that about 57% of people over 60 suffer from chronic insomnia.

No wonder baby boomers pony up $1 billion per year on sleep remedies! (I use “remedies” rather than “medications” because this stuff ranges from extremely addictive pharmacology to extremely wishful thinking.)

This is not to say that all young people are dreaming their lives away. Check out this actual Amazon review of an over-the-counter sleep aid, which I have to think was posted by a not-Boomer who slept through Sleep Hygiene 101:

“I received the package yesterday and I followed the instructions and took it for the first time. One at 11:15 p.m. with my 5 mg Ambien last night, and one at 12:15 a.m. I watched Season 8, Episode 1 of my favorite show, “The Walking Dead,” while waiting for it to kick in, and couldn’t believe I was dozing off to sleep for the first time in a long time half an hour later on the show. I slept until 7:30 a.m. then went back to sleep without taking another one and slept until 1:30 p.m.”

Where do I even start? The mixing of medications? The blue screens at bedtime? “The Walking Dead” as relaxation therapy? (Perhaps season 8 episode 1 depicts an atypically bucolic phase of the zombie apocalypse.)

Since my last column on this topic, a new non-addictive drug, Quviviq, has been approved. It’s only a couple of years old, so there’s no generic yet, and a 30-day supply costs $506. You can imagine the jollity of my exchange with the insurance company! First their panel of judges denied it, then a month later they changed their minds.

By that time I had changed my mind. You have to take it every night, so it’s for a more dedicated brand of insomniac than I am (so far). It takes 45 days to build up in your system and you might have hallucinations, but those are sometimes kind of fun. (Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.)

So what else is new?

Let’s start with apps and podcasts. Besides acting as general soporifics, sleep apps help block ambient sounds, such as when your honey’s occasional sleep apnea drops into “dozing velociraptor” mode. Irregular noises are sleep disrupters no matter the source, but spending entire nights on Red Alert because you’re afraid your partner’s every breath could be their last has big, sharp teeth of its own.

What a relief it was to hear an expert on NPR say that snorers will almost always wake themselves up if an airway becomes blocked!

And to know I had permission to let a silky-voiced French dude talk me down.

Yes, my favorite app remains “The French Whisperer” — a verbal essayist who covers everything from why Napoleon was a lousy king to a surprisingly engrossing dive into the entire periodic table of elements.

Things I have learned at the feet of the French Whisperer: if you straightened out the Great Wall of China it would reach from the equator to the North Pole; astrology arose in many unconnected parts of the world, but every locale ascribes different characteristics to the same starter pack of planets and stars; and Vikings never wore horns on their helmets until opera was invented.

If you would rather fall asleep with a woman and/or prefer an American accent for patriotic reasons, the same essays can be found on Lights Out Library.

“Boring Books for Bedtime” is another good one, and mostly lives up to its name. Do be aware that legitimately monotonous readings can be interrupted by ear-catching nuggets that jolt you back into full consciousness.

For example: people used to make — and sell — counterfeit nutmeg; in 1913, you could order an entire apartment building from the Sears Roebuck catalog; and Emily Post decreed that men should walk on the street side of women so that if anyone threw garbage out the window of their brand-new Sears Roebuck apartment building, it would “zoot the suit and not mess with the dress.”

Off my list: Unboxing apps. They used to loop the comforting sounds of box cutters and bubble wrap, but have been overtaken by influencers who unpack and describe the branded merchandise they have gotten for free from various retailers. What would win me back: hearing somebody unwrap a brand-new Sears Roebuck apartment building.

Final suggestion: Noise. Move, over white! Noise now comes in an exciting palette of brown, pink, and basic black. Brown uses frequencies at the low end; think of being inside Niagara Falls. Pink noise is richer than white but not as deep as brown. Black, on the other hand, is a complete lack of noise. I haven’t tried it yet because I use noise-cancelling headphones and might accidentally open a portal into the space/time continuum.

Cindy Hoyt is a humor writer from way back. Until she figures out this insomnia thing, you can reach her anytime, day or night.

Do you think you may suffer from Insomnia and live in Florida, California or New York?

If so, please consider scheduling a proper virtual online Insomnia and Anxiety diagnosis with one of our physicians. Although we have an online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis tool, a proper diagnosis from a Board-Certified Medical Doctor will help you know for sure. If appropriate, a customized treatment program will be recommended at the conclusion of that initial visit.

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