Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Failing Asleep

If you're like me, sometime it's tough to fall asleep.

I don't think it's the full blown insomnia that some people have.  It doesn't happen every night, or even consistently enough to be a PROBLEM.  But it does happen, and it is frustrating.

And I'm not talking about the nights you just stay up, playing your games, reading your book, while you tell yourself you really should be in bed.  Ha.  If you're like me, you've cut back on your reading because of that tendency.

No, the most frustrating nights (if you're like me) are the nights when you know you're tired.  The nights you go to bed early.  The nights you've flung yourself on the bed before finishing your nightly routine, and you drag yourself back up again because you MUST finish.  And then, when you finally get snuggled in all proper and ready, the brain kicks into high gear and you don't sleep.

Well, you feel like you don't sleep.  If you're like  me, it is possible you slip into a doze in between bouts of intense wakefulness.  You don't realize you've been asleep, so all you're aware of is the wakefulness.  Is the wanting to be asleep.  Is the "Oh my Gods, why can't I be asleep?  I want the warm cozy snuggly feeling of just waking up, of drifting on dreams, not this cold, isolated, left out feeling of aching restless body & over active, repetitious, mind.  Shut up shut up shut up!"

So, if you're like me, you've developed some ways to deal with it.

Here are my two favorites.  The first is a tool to replace the repetitious thoughts or scenarios which run around and around in the head.  There is a track, I swear, which seems to enjoy repeating things!  (Maybe it's the learning track, because that is one way I learn - by doing the same thing over and over again until I get it right.)  So, when I want to sleep, I occupy that track with something familiar & monotonous - the alphabet song.

I like to sing it without a pause between letters, so I finish the alphabet before I finish the tune.  This gives my puzzle loving brain something to concentrate on, while still being monotonous enough to be lulled into sleep. 

If this doesn't work, and sometime it doesn't,  I move onto step two - the countdown.  I start at 100 and count  to 1.  Simple and easy.

This has many benefits.  If you're like me, the countdown is associated with meditation, and that means relaxation.  So as you countdown, your body starts releasing.  You may be amazed at which muscles have been tensed in the effort to MAKE yourself fall asleep.  (My buttocks and upper thighs are big favorites for sneaky tension.)

The other benefit is the monotony.  You have to really concentrate.  It's so easy to get distracted from the countdown: By the wandering thoughts.  By the relaxation.  By the alphabet sneaking back in.  And often by that little rebellious child who will insist on falling asleep when you're trying to stay awake and count. 

I rarely make it to 1.  When I do make it to 1, I get out of bed, and go to another room.  I read a chapter, play a video games, or do some work for an hour.  Then I go back to bed and try again.

But I have to make it to 1.  If I realize I've stopped somewhere, or I'm not sure what number comes next, I have to start over.  At 100.  And count down all the way to 1, clearly, concisely, consciously.  I have to make it to 1.

Just last night, I was ready to bound out of bed when I realized I had stopped at 9.  I hadn't actually made it to 1.

I had to start all over. 

I never made it to 70.

Sleep rocks.

I hope you have a great night!


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