Bring Me A Dream . . .
Post-A-Day 2011: What keeps you awake at night?
How fitting that this would be the topic of today’s daily post. Sleep. I’m not sure exactly what that is . . . I haven’t seen any real sleep for quite some time. At night I’m not tired and so I stay up really late. Even nights where I feel completely exhausted, I go to bed and lie awake sometimes for hours. Some nights I get to sleep just fine but then wake up in the middle of the night unable to get back to sleep. My sleep schedule, such as it is, has been wonky like that since last fall. I just haven’t been able to get it under control.
There are things I’m doing with the aid of my doctor to try to get back into a pattern of good sleep, and thankfully, none of them include medication of any kind. Studies show that you should condition yourself and your body that the bed is a place for sleeping. That is – don’t watch TV, don’t work, etc. You also have to train your mind. One way to work on that is to never lay in bed awake, unable to sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time. If you can’t go to sleep after that period of time, get up, go read a book, or busy your mind somewhere else, and then come back to try it again in an hour or so. I was pretty skeptical about this when my doctor first had me start doing it, but it actually seems to be working.
I also have a set of exercises I do every night that are to help relax my body and mind – just simple relaxation and mind-clearing exercises. He said to treat them just as I would any exercise. Essentially, I’m exercising twice a day – my body in the mornings and my mind and soul in the evenings. Working on relaxing has seemed to help a bit, too.
I do see a regular sleep pattern emerging and coming back to my life, but it is taking time. At least I see progress.
So, what is it that actually keeps me awake at night? You name it. I just can’t seem to get my mind to shut off. I think about the looming end of the term and all the work I have still to do for my classes. I worry about our schedules for the next day – is everyone going to get where they need to be when they need to be there? I mentally list all the items on my ever-growing to-do list trying to prioritize them. I just can’t stop.
Like I said, though, I have found that with the exercises and other techniques I’m trying, I do see progress, it’s just not happening as quickly as I’d like it to. I’d like to sleep a full night. Soon.