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So you love your dog.

But would you rub your dog's earwax on your teeth to get a good night's sleep?

That might be taking things too far.

According to a news release that recently found its way into the ol' work inbox, this remedy for insomnia was put forth by Gerolamo Cardano, a 15th-century Italian doctor and mathematician. (Cardano was also the founder of probability theory. According to online sources, he was trying to analyze games of chance. Whether or not he considered the probability that people would be grossed out by his insomnia "cure" doesn't seem to have been addressed.)

The news release -- whose March 12 arrival was designed to coincide with World Sleep Day, which was Friday -- was a promotion for Calm.com, a meditation phone application for those needing help getting to sleep. The release included a list of strangest insomnia cures as voted on by respondents to a poll on the website.

The dog earwax remedy came in at No. 1. You'd rather pass on that? How about an old Japanese folk remedy ... eating sea slugs before bed. Well, their intestines, anyway. Yeah. No? OK, let's go to No. 3: "Drinking a potion containing the bile of a castrated boar."

Note: Friday was not just World Sleep Day, it was also St. Patrick's Day. Fitting, as the remedies would have made some people green around the gills.

Dogs, at least, are more accessible than sea slugs, boars or field mice. Yes, remedy No. 4 involves these rodents, also known as dormice. To get to sleep, you rub the fat of a dormouse on the soles of your feet. At least here you don't have to put anything in your mouth.

Other entries were a bit less gag-inducing: Lathering one's hair in yellow soap. Eating fried lettuce before bed. Drinking a brew of lettuce opium (obtained from the milky white sap of wild lettuce). Eating a raw union (OK. Relatively less gag-inducing.) Pointing your bed northward. Curling and uncurling your toes. "Drinking cinnamon and banana and tea." The one entry that was strange in its non-strangeness was No. 10 -- watching a video of a crossword puzzle tournament.

Calm.com recently launched a new natural sleep aid in the form of bedtime stories for grown-ups called Sleep Stories. ... One features Ben Stein, he of Ferris Bueller's Day Off fame, reading from Adam Smith's classic economics work The Wealth of Nations. "This cure might strike some folks as strange," Alex Tew of Calm is quoted. "But it's already been listened to half a million times and is our most popular nonfiction story. It does genuinely seem to help people wind down and fall asleep." Can someone say Bueller? .... Bueller? .... Bueller?

As one whose problem is being sleepy when I need to be awake and being awake and watching late-night TV/catalog shopping/playing on the smartphone when I need to be trying to sleep, I offer my list of insomnia cures, some of which are based on personal experiences:

Most likely to get you a failing grade in school/college: As Ferris Bueller might attest, class. Especially if it's an astronomy class that meets in the planetarium, as I would attest (although by some miracle of God I actually pulled a B).

Fastest job/career-killing cure: Working at one's desk at 3 in the afternoon.

Most relationship-killing (or perhaps relationship-saving) cure: Being on the "receiving end" of conversations with a loquacious spouse, sweetheart or friend.

Most likely to induce useless comments/teasing about your falling asleep: Trying to stay up late at a gathering of relatives.

Most likely to get you ridiculed by schoolmates or fellow passengers for falling asleep: A long bus ride.

Last, but certainly not least, the Simplest, yet most personally frustrating cure:

Watching a favorite prime-time show, especially a nine o'clocker. Because the chances are all too high that you'll fall asleep 45 or 50 minutes into the show and miss the climax/the identity of the killer/seeing the two characters you're "shipping" (wanting to become a couple) finally become a couple.

Try staying awake as you type this email address!

hwilliams@arkansasonline.com

Style on 03/19/2017

Print Headline: World Sleep Day prompts quirky aids for insomniacs

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