How I Learned to Stop Being an Insomniac
Just ask any of the many, many people I have slept with – I SUCK at sleeping.
No one in their right mind would want to sleep with me. I toss, I turn, I get up, I remove the pillowcases in my sleep. Really. It is a fairly common occurrence for me to wake up in the morning and find the pillowcases, sheets and blankets on the floor.
It used to be worse. I would routinely wake up about 2 a.m. and stay awake until 4 or 5. Most of the time I wouldn’t get up or read or do anything. I would just lie there and worry.
Worry about what? ANYTHING. It really didn’t matter. One time it was raining and I started thinking “What if it never stopped raining, ever?” That’s how sick my brain is at 3 a.m.
Now I sleep, mostly. I usually wake up to put eyedrops in a couple times, and sometimes I’m awake for 15 minutes or so, but it’s never like it was before. So I have some pieces of advice:
1) Get dark curtains. I bought the dark blue fabric shown above (because I have this whole tropical theme going on) and had my friend Laura make me some lined curtains (the lining is solid dark blue). I never realized how much sleeping in a dark room really helps with sleep.
2) Quit drinking (mostly). I think I used to always go to sleep a little buzzed, and when the alcohol wore off, THEN I’d wake up. San Pellegrino water never has that effect.
3) Be single (sorry, married people. I hope the divorce goes smoothly). My sleeping problems were always compounded times 10 when I had to put up with someone else and their annoying sleeping habits as well as my own. My ex-BF loved to snuggle. I do not snuggle. I don’t want to be touched while I’m sleeping, because then I’m not sleeping. It seems obvious to me, but he could never get it through his head, so we would spend all night with him scooting closer to me and me moving away. I remember lying right on the edge of the mattress, trying like mad to get some peaceful sleep, away from his touchy touchiness.
4) Confront your inner worrier. Now when I am tempted to do the middle-of-the-night panic attack thing, I tell myself “Hey, this is just the 2 am worrying. It isn’t a real problem.” Or if it is a legitimate problem “You can worry about this tomorrow. You’ll be wide awake and ready to do something about it.”
5) When all else fails, I chant Hare Krishna. It’s not a religious thing. I don’t know why it works. A couple rounds of
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
and I am asleep. I almost never make it to five founds. Thanks, Krishna. If you object to Hindu gods, maybe a prayer or a chant or an affirmation would work for you. For me, I think having something I’m not emotionally attached to helps me.
6) Smooth out your sheets. I found that I always sleep best on clean sheets. I’m too lazy and cheap to have a new set of sheets for every day of the week, but it is almost as good if I completely make the bed as if I have new sheets on – pulling the corners tight, all Army-like, and re-doing the blankets to be perfect. Some of you freaks probably do this every day anyway, but I never did, so this is a revelation. Instant better sleep.
Ok, go, sleep. You’ll feel better if you do.