Yes, I have a seriously dysfunctional relationship…. with sleep. Me and sleep don’t get along. We often hate each other. My circadian rhythm is out of whack (out of whack with family life, anyway). It suited me fine when I was a student, staying up late to study (or watch SATC re-runs) and sleeping in until midday lectures was totally my style.
Now that my day reluctantly begins anytime from 5-6.30am, plus night wakings, bed wettings, scared-of-the-darknesses and night feeds, sleeping when I feel like it is no longer an option.
Part of the problem is anxiety related, but some of it is habit.
The anxiety component is a hard one to fix, but I think with a shift in habits and thinking it can be done. If I head to bed, lay down and then have to think about falling asleep it’s game over. I’ll be awake for hours, getting more and more anxious about the insomnia. I lay awake feeling my chest tighten, get up to do some writing, tidy the kitchen, whatever I end up doing, it will be a few hours before I eventually fall asleep. So the anxiety feeds on itself (as is usually the case with anxiety). I won’t head to bed early (or at a reasonable time), because I’m anxious about falling asleep. So I’m already thinking about not falling asleep before I’ve even got my pjs on.
I much prefer to potter around in the evening, enjoying some quiet time without the kids, maybe starting a new craft project, reading blogs, writing, watching crap, until I am so tired I can barely keep my eyes open, and then head to bed, knowing there’s little chance my mind will wander once I get there.
The problem with this scenario is that then I get to bed around midnight, get up at least once (usually 2 or 3 times) to kids, and then up again before 6. Then feeling like a giant midday nap to make up for the night’s happenings.
Hmmmm, writing this, I know what I need to do. I just need to break the cycle. NOT have a midday nap, and just get one early night in to get things on their way to a family kind of “normal”. This, of course, is easier said than done!
But, I know for a fact getting a more decent night sleep will do wonders for my mood, my energy levels, and my relationships with my kids. So, I’m going to tackle this one. I have occasionally witnessed first hand the amazing euphoria associated with a full night’s sleep. The clarity of mind, super-Mum energy levels and general happiness. I posted this infographic previously about the benefits of sleep.
So far, I know that exercise helps. Feeling worn out at night is a great feeling. Like camping, when you’ve spent the day exploring, swimming or hiking, you’re always able to crash out as soon as the sun goes down. So I might have to find some time to up the activity levels, which could be a bit hard now that the rain has set in, but I’ll give it a go.
Next on my list is kicking the caffeine. I’m not a huge coffee nut. I don’t go out of my way to get my daily fix from my favourite cafe, but I have been indulging lately in perhaps one or two more instant coffees and cups of teas than I should be. It’s become habit, a boredom buster. Having suffered from withdrawal headaches in the past I’m going to take this one slowly, so for now will just keep an eye on how many cups of tea I’m really having, and replace a few with herbals or decaf coffee.
I’m going to keep up with my morning mediation (when I get the chance), as that seems to calm me for the rest of the day. I’m also on the hunt for a relaxation CD for bedtime, as meditating at bedtime would wake me up too much. Any suggestions?
This is a big one for me. My sleep has always been whacked. My brain perks up around 10pm and starts racing around, which is why I can write/do assignments/get excited about anything in the middle of the night. If I can hit the hay before this time, I can usually get to sleep much easier.
Darya Rose at summertomato.com has some very practical tips that I can incorporate into my quit-insomnia plan. A big one I hadn’t mentioned, no screen time before bed. Her tips are much more useful than the “get a massage” I keep coming across. Have asked hubby, and his answer is “no”. Really? He seriously can’t get up at 4.45am, work all day, then come home to help out with the kids at bath/dinner/bedtime AND give me a massage before he crashes out at 9pm? selfish.
So first off, up the activity and a few less cuppas. Let’s see how this goes!
And how cool are these photos?!