Tuesday, January 15, 2013

On sleep, or lack thereof

It's amazing what a difference a good night's sleep makes. I mean, not really. It's not amazing at all. It's actually pretty obvious. Everyone knows sleep is good. Duh. Long-time readers of this blog (or even not-so-long-time readers) might remember that I often have trouble sleeping, sometimes going through long stretches of time without getting a good night's sleep, which sucks and also double sucks because when I don't sleep, it's all I want to talk about and THAT IS SUPER BORING. But boring enough to put me to sleep? No.

Sometimes my sleep trouble is Max's fault, for sneaking onto our bed while we're asleep and then trying to curl up on my pillow. Sometimes it's Phoebe's fault, because it seems like 3am is her favorite vomiting time and, you guys, vomiting time is LOUD. Sometimes it's Joe's fault (IT SO IS) for snoring or moving too much or accidentally elbowing me in the head or, really, for just being asleep when I'm not asleep HOW RUDE NO FAIR.

But most of the time, it's no one's fault but my own because I can't turn my brain off. I can't make myself relax because you know what the least relaxing thing in the world is? Trying to tell yourself to relax. Especially if you're already worried that you're not going to get enough sleep. It's easy to tell yourself in the bright light of day that all you need to do is close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and you'll relax, but when it's nighttime and you're stressed about work the next day and you're brain-yelling at yourself to RELAX BREATHE IN COUNT TO FOUR BREATHE OUT COUNT TO FOUR RELAX RELAX RELAX...you're never going to fall asleep. SORRY BUT YOU'RE NOT.

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Sunday was one of those nights for me. I had no good reason to not be able to fall asleep. If I fell asleep at all, I woke up an hour later, hoping that I could just fall right back to sleep but NO. I finally fell into a nice sleep around 5:30, only to wake up an hour later with the alarm, wanting to cry and sink back into bed instead of facing the day.

What do you guys do if you can't sleep? Do you get up and do stuff? Or, like me, do you just lie there, doing sad math until your alarm goes off? You know, like this: "OK, if I fall to sleep now, I can still get five hours of sleep...I can live on that. It's only one day, and then I can come straight home after work and take a nap...oh, shit...OK, if I fall to sleep NOW, I can get four hours of sleep. People live on that all the time. It's fine. Doctors don't sleep for like 48 hours straight and they operate on people so I can definitely sit at a desk all day on four hours of sleep. It's fine. OH SHIT THREE HOURS OF SLEEP I MIGHT AS WELL JUST GIVE UP AND FREAK OUT FOR THE REST OF THE NIGHT."

And so on.

There's got to be a better way to use this sleepless time. Should I get up and do something productive? Try to read a book? Reading in bed always makes me sleepy. Should I just give up and get up at 3am to work out or something? Or will that just lead to me falling asleep on the way to work? HELP ME, INTERNET, YOU'RE MY ONLY HOPE. Because this was me when I got home from work yesterday:

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and that is unacceptable.

15 comments:

  1. There's this new thing I do now when I can't sleep that essentially boils down to writing my own fanfic in my brain space. It's super relaxing so half the time I end up falling asleep, but the other half I get to go on fun adventures with the Doctor so that's cool too.

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  2. Can I tell you how relieved I am that I'm not the only one who does this? Hee. Which Doctor do you travel with?

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  3. Ten, duh. But for some reason after I fall asleep it's always Eleven.

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  4. I figured. I mean, who wouldn't pick Ten?

    Maybe he regenerates when you fall asleep?

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  5. That's definitely my theory.

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  6. "Sad math"...hahaha. Also, I have a whole bunch of what I like to call "goodnight songs", mellow songs I listen to right before I fall asleep. I just put one ear bud in (the ear that's not on the pillow) and sometimes I fall asleep while the music is on, but other times I just listen to 2 or 3 songs and then it's sleep time. I think it almost works like classical conditioning. Music over = Sleep time.

    And let me tell you, HANDS DOWN the award for the BEST goodnight songs goes to Bon Iver. "Re:Stacks" is my number one last song I listen to before I fall asleep. "Holocene" is the runner up.

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    1. Ooh, that's a really good idea and reminds me of when I was little, and my parents would let me listen to whatever tape I wanted while I fell asleep. RAINBOW BRITE FTW!

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  7. I've never had trouble sleeping at night (though I can't take naps or sleep on planes or do anything that would be fun and convenient in the day time) so I'm not sure I'll be much help but...

    -have you tried waking up super early in the morning (like 5?) so that by the time night rolls around you are too tired to have brain activity?

    -have you tried working out really hard after work so that you're sweaty and all tuckered out? like run for several miles and then walk for another 30 min? that sort of thing should make your body STAY asleep cause it needs to recover.

    -have you tried changing up your diet? or stop eating like 3-4 hours before you go to bed?

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    1. I know this sounds whiny as hell, but I haaaaaaaaate getting up at 5. It makes me hate life. The working out thing definitely works. I did that last night and slept so well. So. You know. I should probably do that more often.

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  8. I came here to tell you about head fanfic but Kat beat me to it! That's how I used to put myself to sleep up until about three years ago when life started sucking my soul out of my ears and now I basically fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. Or my face hits the mattress, if I'm sleeping on my stomach.

    I can't really be of much more help to you because the only times I've ever had trouble sleeping is when I've been really sick (when this happens I usually just watch TV until I think I can fall asleep again), or this one time in elementary school when I was nervous about going on a flight by myself for the first time. I was either excited or scared. I can't remember. Either way, I couldn't sleep, but then I slept on the plane.

    Anyway, I still say go with the head fanfic thing. What usually happens when I do this is my brain wanders away about half-way through the narrative.

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    1. It sucks that you need sleep the most when you're sick but it's so hard to sleep because you can't breathe or you're throwing up or whatever. STUPID BODIES.

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  9. Be happy with your sad math (hello, irony). When I wake up in the middle of the night, I start imagining any number of calamities that result in failure and ruin and the inevitability of being forced to give handjobs to hobos in order to get some of their shitty mulligan stew (not a euphemism) in order to stave off starvation. I envy your math.

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    1. Oh I have failure fantasies, too, which leads to even less sleep. I don't usually think about hobos, though. Hmm.

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  10. "Handjobs for Hobos" would easily be the worst and most unsuccessful telethon in the history of PBS.

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    1. I really wish I could "like" this comment. Get on it, Blogger.

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