I lay awake last night enduring that all too common 3am can’t get back to sleep scenario. As problems go, an hour or two of being wide awake in the middle of the night isn’t horrible, but after a few nights the sleeplessness seeps into my daytime hours with forgetfulness, lethargy, and frequent colds. I pay for it by the day and supposedly I’ll pay later with a shortened life.
We strive for what’s lacking in our lives – it’s part of being human. For me right now, it’s sleep. Here one night and gone the next, a good four hour chunk of blissful oblivion and then that’s it, no amount of calming or cajoling helps me dive back under.
In my youth, when my body behaved properly, I’d stay awake long into the night to study or work or party or play music, waking early to go somewhere or do something, stumbling through the following days and eventually catching up somewhere down the line, none the worse for wear, blythely tossing off, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” But I can’t wait that long. That expression is no longer funny now that I’m closer to the end than the beginning.
I’ve tried everything I can think of, and last night I lay awake going through the dozens of things I’ve tried:
Turn lights down by 9, shut down the computer, set up the screen with night light, use blue ray blocking glasses, watch a movie, don’t watch a movie, read a book, but not too exciting, drink alcohol, don’t drink alcohol, Sleepytime tea, have a late snack, quit eating after dinner, eat something carby before bedtime, drink something warm, avoid liquids after 6, stop drinking coffee, have only one cup, have only two cups, stop drinking coffee by 2 or by noon, or by 10, keep the room cool, keep the room warm, have a bath, avoid overheating in a bath, get a massage or not, exercise or not, exercise in the morning, mid-day or at night, take these herbs or those vitamins or that concoction, or don’t, tweak my hormones, watch my thyroid, wear pajamas, sleep naked, four different brands of earplugs, an eye mask, try a different eye mask, get rid of all light sources, clocks, blackout curtains, phone in the other room, turn off notifications, ringer, alarms, use flannel sheets, cotton sheets, a small pillow, a stack of pillows, a buckwheat neck pillow, meditate in the morning, meditate before bed, meditate while I’m trying to get back to sleep at 3am, relax my body parts one by one, visualize my happy place, or floating in a warm lake, floating in a cloud, sing, chant, hum, count to 5 over and over, do the 4-7-8 counting routine, count backwards by 7s, by 3s, say a mantra, watch my breath go in and out, feel my breath in various body parts, eliminate certain foods, add other foods, eat less carbs, or more, eat less protein, or more, eat healthy fats, more fats, different fats, eat paleo, eat primal, eat Whole 30, avoid red meat, eat more fish, cbd tincture, cbd creams, the right ratio of cbd to thc, indica, cannabinols, terpenes, vape, joints, pipes, mints, chocolates, Aleve, play more music, more sex, less sex, acupuncture, yoga, swimming, hot tub, cold shower, go to bed at the same time every night, wake up at the same time every morning, play calming music.
Before I could review the entire list I was asleep, so perhaps I’ve found the answer. Feel free to use mine if you don’t have one of your own.