“Love is like sleep. One can never seize (it).”
-R. Scott Bakker
In February’s newsletter, I talked about my trouble with insomnia and how I’ve been dealing with it. And a bunch of you responded! Here are our various solutions, all together in one list.
Try to keep yourself from finding out what time it is. Turn your clocks to the wall. Try not to look at your phone. Don’t calculate how much time you have left to sleep.
Stay out of bed unless you’re sleeping in it (or having sex, obviously). Read, watch TV, and relax in other places.
Track when you drink coffee and see what happens when you move the last coffee of the day earlier. (I try not to drink coffee after 2pm)
Avoid screens and blue lights after dark .
Let yourself get up or move around if you’re restless.
Set your alarm to wake up earlier.
Go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day.
Stringing together an ongoing sequence of unrelated or rhyming words or even nonsense syllables to ease the transition into hypangogic babble. (from Thomas Duffy)
Make up a little story. Imagine yourself as a character in some environment going on a little journey in a fairy tale. (from Thomas Duffy)
Tell your toes to go to sleep, then your feet and legs and so on all the way up your body (Thomas and me)
Count your breaths. In is 1, out is 2, up to 10. Then start again. (Thomas and me)
Listen to music on YouTube – anything labelled “binaural,” “isochronic,” “subliminal,” or even “healing” (from Thomas Duffy)
Valerian, kava, lavender, and chamomile seem to help (Thomas and me)
CAVEAT: I started taking valerian extract after I got sick, but I’m trying to limit it now. I’m not so much worried about long-term effects, but I think that leaning on it too heavily will allow me ignore problems which would be better for me to solve. I feel the same way about coffee and diphenhydramine hydrochloride (Advil PM in the US, Calmaben in Eastern Europe) — they buy me time to solve problems, but there is always the temptation to not solve the problem and just use pharmacology to paper over it.
I also don’t recommend alcohol. Aside from all the terrible long-term side-effects, alcohol makes me worse at the meditation exercises that control my anxiety, and make me more likely to scare myself awake again.
When you sleep with no trouble, reward yourself! I buy myself books.
Perhaps this one? Overcoming Insomnia and Sleep Problems: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques Paperback – 26 Jan. 2006 It comes recommended by Ashley Pollard, fellow scifi writer and real life cognitive-behavioral therapist.
The above are all “mechanical” solutions that might not touch the basic cause of your insomnia (as with me). I attacked the deeper problems by:
Talking about them, journaling, and mediating. Occasionally, I got an insight.
And be kind to yourself. You’re enough.