Sleeping Issues SOS ~ #SOL 10/31 2021

It was another restless night. FALLING asleep is not my problem, but waking up at 3:00am and wrestling for hours to get back to sleep is. Often I don’t get back to sleep. This has been going on for months and months. 

I’ve always been a hard sleeper – needing a solid 8 hours. But, in the last year, it seems all that has changed. 

Certainly, the good old hot flashes play a role, but I have remedied that and they have diminished. One cup of caffeinated coffee in the morning has been my rule. The electronics go off a couple of hours before bed, so only book reading sings sweet lullabies to my eyes. 

These strategies help me GET to sleep. I need some good strategies for that 3:00am waking hour so I avoid my usual default strategy of thinking through my book of worries. 

A dear friend of mine, who is a golfer, shared this strategy once. He picks a golf course he has played at and then reimagines himself playing the entire course, starting at hole #1 – all the strokes and penalties included. He said he never makes it to hole #9. 

I don’t have golf courses. I wish I did. Maybe I should start golfing.

Elizabeth Gilbert says to get up and do something. Anything. As soon as you begin to think, you’ll go down into a state of rumination. Avoid that at all costs. No horizontal thinking.

I’ve tried that and then I fall asleep in my reading chair and wake up in a brain fog and a kink in my neck.

My husband thinks I need snuggling. Well. . . 

In some research, I found that humans used to sleep in two shifts, a “first” and “second” sleep. In between people would get up for a few hours and do quiet chores, read, write or other things and then go back to sleep for a few hours before their day began. This apparently faded out in the 17th Century. Perhaps that would have been a better time period for me.

This post is an SOS plea. What are your strategies that help? Warm milk? Sleep apps?

#sleep problems  #SOS  #needinghelp  #insomnia  #sweet lullabies  #counting sheep

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.

A writing practice can be a means of “gaining a perspective on where you are in the movement of your life” and be a medium to “explore the possibilities of your future in the context of your whole life.” ~ Ira Progoff

10 thoughts on “Sleeping Issues SOS ~ #SOL 10/31 2021

  1. Hmmm… well you have tried my suggestions. I am trying to think if there is anything else. I personally do usually get up to read something less than exciting in an actual book form, and then when I get sleepy, I head to bed.

    Is there another space you could go lay down to sleep in for a few hours. Sometimes I worry about waking up my husband if I move around too much to make myself comfortable.
    Or sometimes if I nestle my face into a cool side of my pillow that helps.
    If you are a Christian, you could try to recite some verses/prayers. Or maybe a mantra might help- I am calm, I am tired.
    Good luck!

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    1. I love that you mention a prayer. I sometimes say Hail Marys until she’s fallen asleep herself. Also, Robert Frost’s A Snowy Day finds it’s way to meditate on as well. I’d forgotten that. Maybe I should memorize some new poems to serenade myself back to sleep with! I appreciate your suggestions, Heather! You’ve prompted me towards some more poems! 🙂

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  2. I think, in the past year, we’ve been less physically and more mentally exhausted, what with the staying home most of the time and all of that. That has resulted in poorer quality of sleep for some of us. I do hope you’re able to wriggle of this, and get some real GOOD sleep! I’d try the 2-shift idea I’m guessing.

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    1. Thank you – I think I am going to try the 2-shift strategy as well. Certainly, laying in bed isn’t helping me one bit. And, you are right that our brains are maybe having a hard time fully decompressing, and then they are instantly activated with worry, because we have enough of them, right?

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  3. I’m an insomniac who struggles getting to sleep, but when I practice gentle yoga before bed I generally sleep through the night. I use the DownDog app. My legs bother me a lot (gaging woes), but foam rolling helps me sleep. It hurts , but loosening my muscles keeps me from NC awakening in the middle of the night. Lavender essential oil sometimes helps me fall asleep, as does listening to nature sounds on the Insight Timer app.

    I hope you sleep well tonight and every night hereafter.

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  4. It’s so hard! I am RIGHT THERE with you. We should just Zoom at 4 a.m. when we’re both awake! I’ve got nothing that works. I have just given up and gotten up several nights in the past week at 2:30 and 3:30 a.m., just called it because i’m tired of laying there trying to go back to sleep. I used to get up and go sleep on the couch when this happened and I could usually fall right back asleep. But during our basement remodel, the couch is my son’s bed, so…. I can’t do that right now. I do try a breathing meditation and if I can stick with it for long enough, I go back to sleep. I like the idea of memorizing poetry and reciting. I’m going to try that!

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  5. I, too, have had those 3 AM wide awake nights. I don’t have many answers. I have tried getting up and reading, but sometimes I’m just so tired or you know you don’t have that many hours left to sleep so you lie there and keep trying. Two hours is my typical time to be up. Those are some long and trying hours. Sending positive thoughts to you, hoping tonight is the night you sleep through. Sweet dreams.

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  6. I always watch The Office. I have probably shared this with you before during a mentorship group or random chat. The Office makes my heart light, it feels like home, I don’t think about other things, and it brings back my favorite memories. I know TV isn’t the best thing for anyone and the light could possibly keep you up. But, for me, having that show has been a lifesaver. Sometimes I don’t even actually watch it, I just listen. It lulls me back to sleep every single time, without fail – possibly because I have seen it too many times to have to really pay attention. Watching something new keeps me up, but The Office is like I am just hanging out with my friends who want to entertain me. 🙂

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  7. Shari, I have no solutions at all. Reading today’s post, however, made me feel super grateful that I get sound sleep. This sounds miserable! Those thoughts in our heads can drive us mad if we let them. I wonder if writers in general experience worse sleep, just because they train themselves to go somewhere with their thoughts. I also wonder if the shift in seasons has anything to do with your sleep. When the barometric pressure changes, that can affect me. Regardless of the cause, I really hope you can get back to your sound sleep.

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