I am tired. I am exhausted. I am running on HALF my usual amount of sleep, plus two previous nights’ sleep debt. Grand total: At least a whole 7 hours less than usual in three nights. I’m a whole night behind.
I say at least because Saturday night we were out late and I didn’t get to bed until four. I was amped up and barely slept, only dozing fitfully off and on. I have no idea how much I slept but I estimated it at 4 hours. I took a nap later. Sunday night I couldn’t get comfortable. I tossed and turned for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. I only slept 5 hours. Last night I was woken up after a half hour of sleep at 11:30. I didn’t get back to sleep until after 2. I woke up at 5 this morning. That’s 3.5 hours.
And I woke up furious at myself because I know how to handle not being able to sleep. After my father died, I had a pretty rough time with sleep. I couldn’t fall asleep when I laid down and/or I woke up for hours in the middle of the night. Sometimes I woke up at 4 and never went back to sleep. I just couldn’t. My mind would wander down the strangest alleys and spiral out of control. I was worried about everything. I had panic attacks that woke me from a dead sleep. Eventually, I had to come up with a plan because I couldn’t handle it anymore. I came up with these steps, which I do in order.
Rachael’s Insomnia Tool Box
- Read. Even though I know that the light from my Kindle Paperwhite isn’t supposed to be good for promoting sleep, I find that the Kindle is my best choice. I don’t have to turn on a light so I don’t wake Hubby up. I don’t have to get out of my warm bed. I don’t get that frustrated feeling that I am wasting time by just tossing and turning. Sometimes all it takes is a couple of pages to make me drowsy. Other times it takes a couple of chapters. Either way, it distracts me and relaxes me.
- Count. This is another thing that I’ve heard shouldn’t work but that usually works for me. I’ve read a bit and I’m sleepy again but I can’t quite clear my mind or doze off. I get comfortable and I count. I count from 100 to 1 and then from 1 to 100. If I find that I’ve dozed off and lost my place but woken back up, I start again. If I’m not asleep by the time I do the two sets, I move on.
- Guided sleep meditations. You Tube is a revolution. If the previous two things haven’t worked, I find a 30 minute or so guided sleep meditation and let it play. Almost always this works. If I am having a problem night after night after night, I’ll run a sleep meditation every night for a week or so right when I go to bed and sometimes that’s enough to fix it. It’s like probiotics for sleep.
- Finally, if I’m still awake and, by this point, very fucking frustrated, I get up. I move to the couch. I plump up my pillows and pile on a couple of blankets and hope that the change in scenery is enough to clean the slate.
It is rare that I make it through all of the steps above but it has happened. The mistake I usually make is not starting them at all. I find myself wide awake and frustrated and SURE that if I just calm down I’ll fall asleep. The problem is that I can’t calm down when I get like that, not on my own, not without a book or a meditation or medication (which I can’t have right now because pregnancy). So, on days like to day I can only blame myself.
Do you have any tricks for getting to sleep?