While falling asleep recently, I was thinking about all the fruit out there, and whether there is a fruit for every letter of the alphabet. You know, apple, banana, cherry… I didn’t get far. I fell asleep around ‘honeydew.’ The next night, I tried again. Same thing. The fruit alphabet, it turns out, is a perfect cure for insomnia.
I don’t know if the fruit alphabet works for chronic insomnia, and it definitely won’t conquor sleeplessness induced by three cups of coffee before bed. Where it’s proven to work is those occasions where your body is exhausted and ready to sleep, but your brain is running all over the house, pants on fire, frantic with anger, worry, or plain old excitement.
Once the brain really gets going, no amount of willpower can halt its production of spectacularly useless thoughts: it’s like trying NOT to think of a white pony. The trick is replace those thoughts with a subject interesting enough to hold your attention but repetitive enough to make you sleepy. Counting sheep is too simple—the mind gets bored and starts wandering back down those dark alleys, rooting through the trash. Reading is too complicated—the mind is already too riled up to take in the words. But the fruit alphabet! Like a beautiful but dim-witted date, it’s at once perfectly boring and supremely engaging. One minute you’re debating whether ‘tomato’ counts as a fruit, the next the alarm is ringing.
Sure, you could do the alphabet with just about anything: dog breeds, tree types, obscenities (surprisingly easy) US cities (surprisingly hard). But I’m sticking with fruit simply because there’s something stupidly delightful (deliciously retarded?) about it. It’s hard to feel bad and focus on fruit at the same time. Sweet dreams!
PS Should you get stuck, some very wonderful person has already put the whole fruit alphabet online. But you already knew X is for Xigua, didn’t you.