At least, that’s what everyone tells me. My insomnia disagrees, insisting that “sleep is for losers” and “laying awake in bed for hours is good thinking time.” Needless to say, my insomnia lies.
Okay, it can be good thinking time for the first fifteen minutes. I get most of my great plot and story ideas in that time period, which means that I’m then popping out of bed to quickly type all my ideas down in a Word file. I’ve found that writing them down on paper is a bad idea. I can barely read my own handwriting when I write things while fully awake. Half-asleep and muzzy? Fergetaboutit.
After that first fifteen minutes, though, being unable to sleep is painful. I tossed and turned last night for three hours. After two hours, I took medication, but it took another hour for it to work. All the while, I’m thinking “I want a refund on my biological clock, please.” Really. They need to package those with reset buttons, at least. Mine’s been tracking slower year by year.
Of course, there’s lots of studies that tell us things like “insomniac moms are more likely to live in chaos and have neglected kids.” Ouch.
Everything is always the mom’s fault, though, so I just continue plodding on through my motherhood gig. The adult children tell me that I actually did an okay job. Their therapists aren’t so sure, but hey. They remember love and happiness from their childhood, and if it was a bit more chaotic than the neighbors’ families, then so be it. I’m not the only one with a sleep disorder in the house, either, so it’s not only MY fault. Nanny nanny, boo boo.
Sleep, though . . . it’s vital. Every study that they do nowadays tells us that we need more sleep, better sleep, and yet more sleep. The suggestions boil down to a few key things.
- Don’t nap in the daytime. It just throws your sleep cycle off even more.
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine during the 4 hours before bedtime. No coffee at midnight!
- Turn off the computers and televisions, Kindles and iPhones! The light that they shoot into your eyeballs throws off your circadian rhythms. Don’t play with them in the last hour before bed.
- Make your bed as comfy as possible. I use flannel sheets year-round, a suggestion originally given to us by an autism therapist for our daughter. Softer sheets mean better sleep.
- A colder room is better to sleep in than a hotter one.
- Take a hot bath an hour before bed.
- Have that glass of warm milk after all. (Or another light snack.)
So my challenge for today is simple. I’m going to do ONE new thing from that list. I’m going to . . . stop using the computer for the last hour before bed. It’s a painful change, but I know better. Once I’m on Facebook and Twitter, I’ll follow links and read articles for hours without even realizing it. Tonight, I’m going to shut the computer off at 9pm and see if my hour of quiet reading is more conductive to sleep.
And I’ll probably take that sleep medication with my chocolate milk. I don’t think I can handle another three hours of listening to other people breathing. While THEY sleep!