A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow. ~Charlotte Bronte
Wow, there is a whole lot of insomnia going on! I have seen an abundance of posts on FB lately about a lack of sleep, or a shitty night's sleep, so I thought I would find out why people aren't sleeping and write about it.
Essentially, the question I posed was this: Do you sleep at night? Why or why not? First, let me say thank you to those family and friends who were kind enough to share with me. I even spoke with a few complete strangers on this topic, because I found it interesting to see if what goes on behind our bedroom door is going on behind yours as well. Second, I did find some people who DO sleep well at night, so the good news is that 7-9 hours of sleep at night is attainable!
Before I go any further, I think it is only fair to fill you in on our (Tom and my) sleep patterns. Pretty simple: Tom doesn't sleep well at night and I do...or, I did until I began to listen to other peoples' stories about how they don't sleep. Honestly, the last three nights I have tossed and turned more than any others in my previous 44 years of life! Is it possible insomnia is a contagious disease?!
Last night I woke up about 3 a.m., did the usual shuffle into the bathroom with one eye slightly open and then took the same route back to bed. I got under the covers and for some odd reason my brain clicked on. Here is a rough idea (to the best of my recollection) of what transpired in my head for the next half hour or so:
And that is only what I can remember. Sometime after 4 a.m. my brain shut off again and sleep returned, thank God. It happened about the same way the previous two nights. Upon sharing this with Tom his response was, "Welcome to my world, only my internal thought vomit contains things like how we'll be able to afford the new car not how long it's been since the tile floors have been washed."
Why aren't people sleeping much at night? My informal and completely amateur survey says it is because of worry. And the top three things people are worried about: money, work, and their children. I didn't find this shocking since it correlates almost directly with our own experience, in fact in some odd way I found it comforting. Sad, but comforting.
So, how can we get more sleep? Offhand suggestions include natural remedies such as drinking chamomile tea in the evening/taking a warm bath/reading before bed/making a "to do" list for yourself before you sleep if you are one of those who wakes up at night and is afraid you will forget something you desperately need to do the next day/keeping a regular sleep schedule/taking melatonin. Some people suggested over-the-counter sleep aids/NyQuil/Tylenol P.M. I don't know what the ideal answer is, but I do know that worry is very unhealthy, both physically and psychologically.
We [humans] tend to over analyze problems and often work ourselves up about things which we have very little control. Ask yourself, what has worrying ever really solved or accomplished in your life? Nothing, right? This may sound very basic, but I say the last thing to do before closing your eyes (when you're good and ready to nod off) is to give yourself permission to give up the day's angst...
As I say to Brigham after a tennis match or an exam: "did you do your best?" For that is really all we can do. So while it sounds insanely simple we merely need to "Let Go and Let God". When Tom gets to worrying about the future my response is, "We aren't going to end up living under a bridge. And if we do, then it was meant to be and we'll be equipped to handle such a thing. In fact I'd venture to say we'd be better off for doing so!" (He generally just rolls his eyes at me and walks away...)
Music makes my heart sing, it is so instrumental in changing one's mood. I found a number of great musical compositions that [supposedly] induce sleep, go to YouTube and type in "music to promote sleep" or, try something visually soothing and inspirational like this:
Here's to a better, more peaceful night in the near future!