Hello Insomnia, My Old Friend

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Insomnia and I are like good friends. We can not see each other for a long time (months, years!) but when we met again, it's like we've never been apart. Except without all the fun catching up, you know.

Insomnia again

Although I wouldn't call myself a chronic insomniac, I've struggled with falling asleep since I was a little girl. It's a problem that accentuates itself when I have a lot on my mind, so it's no surprise that I spent much of my college days in a sleep deprived haze (despite getting plenty of exercise and getting to bed at reasonable times by the time I was an upperclassman) or that insomnia likes to rear its ugly head during the busy, busy summer months. But I've had quite a well-rested winter this year, so I was kind of surprised when insomnia stopped by for a late night visit last night.

Riddle me this, how can a person be so tired they're barely focusing on the words of the book they're reading at 10 p.m., only to go to bed shortly there after and be wide awake until after midnight?

Now that I'm older and wiser(?), I tend to give in to insomnia's greedy demands for attention and usually just get up and knit or read for an hour (something that doesn't involve screentime) until my body decides it's bedtime again. But last night I felt stubborn. I didn't want to get up. So instead, I tossed and turned until the covers were in royal disarray, before finally falling into one of those fitful slumbers where you're never quite sure you were ever really asleep. Today finds me in a thick fog that even a big glass of poison water (diet Pepsi) can't lift.

Oh, I know all about what's supposed to help us fall asleep. I rarely, if ever drink caffeine in the evenings. I know I'm suppose to avoid any screens for about an hour before I go to sleep, so I usually opt for a couple chapters of my book du jour before pulling on the pjs and brushing my teeth. I know if I exercised a goodly amount, I'm more likely to sleep soundly. And I know that I'm suppose to leave the worries of the next day on my desk instead of taking them to bed.

But last night all those little worries that are always scuttling around in my head started whispering, growing louder and louder until sleep seemed impossible.

I really need to redo that interview I thought. I think I should have a slideshow component for the website for my radio project. How would I put together a slideshow? Where would I get the pictures? What should I pack for my trip to Michigan this weekend? Should I carpool to my meeting on Friday? Wait, I'm sharing a checked suitcase with my mom . . . am I planning to pack more than my fair share? Is it possible for me to get venison sausage to my brother while out it spoiling? When should I make this year's corned beef since I'll be gone on St. Patrick's Day? Should I put my Etsy shop on vacation next week? Should I knit more owl cozies? Am I focusing my savings too much on retirement? Where can I get a photo for my passport renewal application? Is that client *ever* going to pay me?

So many questions. And not one of them needed an answer until the next morning at the very earliest. Such tiny insignificant things in the big scheme of life, really.

I wish I had a switch to turn off my mind's senseless rambling, at least at the end of the day. But I don't. So sometimes my mind churns away and I am whisked along for the long, sleepless ride. It's not my favorite experience, but hey, at least insomnia and I know each other.

What keeps you awake at night? What are your insomnia cures?


  1. So sorry you are suffering. I think you should blame daylight saving time. It takes at least a week to adjust ... hopefully that's all it is. Try listening to some soft music and having a glass of milk, something soothing. No TV or bright lights, no reading. Hope you get your zzz's tonight!

  2. I might suggest a baby! haha. I sleep so well since having him, especially now that he is sleeping 12 hours through the night. I only ever suffered from insomnia when I was in high school, and had a lot of things on the go. But I have for the most part, always been a good sleeper. I've usually done so much during the day that I'm too exhausted to think about anything when my head hits the pillow. I hope you get some sleep soon! xo

  3. I woke up at 3:00 and finally just got up. I am going through a divorce, and the negotiations we are going through right now are very stressful. I don't know how to make THAT kind of thing go away or to stop thinking about it long enough to get a good nights' rest :( I exercise and eat right, for the most part. I think it's a lot to expect of ourselves to make the worries just disappear when we lay our heads down on our pillows.

  4. Usually when I have trouble sleeping its going BACK to bed if I wake up too early in the morning, and then usually if I have a snack that helps me fall back asleep.

  5. I have the same problem! I have no idea what causes it. Or how to get rid of it. But gosh it's annoying! I'm in a phase of it right now. Hope yours goes away soon!

  6. sigh, I hear you. Please brain, turn off now...BRAIN OFF!

    (as a side line, I was just looking in your shop again, love all your knitted goodies. If ever I actually move somewhere that requires warmer clothing, I will definitely be back. The fingerless gloves especially are gorgeous.)

  7. hello fellow insomniac. i feel you! especially lately! x

  8. Oh that stinks Ada. I hate just sitting there hoping for sleep only to be rudely reminded of how tired I am the entire time I try to sleep. My husband can fall asleep in a matter of seconds too, it's only slightly annoying and I almost always want to wake him up :)

  9. Wow, I would be insomniac too with all these things going on in my mind! I admit I used to be that way for long. Never ending thought chain of things. Became quite nerve wrecking. Two things helped me: an introduction to Jacobson aggressive muscle relaxation. After a few weeks I realized my thought chain slowed down and there were "gaps" in between. I then learned to focus on positive things. I kept repeating good moments of the day. Things I completed, roses I smelled, counting blessings, fell asleep. Never stopped doing the good moments thing in the eve - became THE new habit. Helps.

  10. Uggghhh--- I feel for you! I do have chronic insomnia (that because particularly horrible during my pregnancy-- as in up ALL night most nights) and it has really been challenging for me.

    Anything can set it off. I blame the fact that I am a planner (postive spin on a worrier). I can sit for hours thinking about whats next and how to prepare for it.

    To combat it I try to drink this maximum relaxation drink (which contains healthy things like magnesium and gabba gabba) and do crossword puzzles. I can't read books before bed, because I have been known to stay up and consume entire books.

    Oh insomnia -- a close friend, whom I loathe....


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