For nearly 2 weeks, I avoided any extraneous computer use. This posed a problem because I keep in touch with friends online, my job requires near constant use of social media, and I just enjoy plain old internet surfing. I was trying to clear my head space in order to get some sleep.
I love to stay up late. I normally fall asleep with ease, have vivid dreams I enjoy remembering, and wake up feeling rested. Occasionally, it may take me a little longer to fall asleep, but I quickly make up for the lost sleep the next night. For the last 2 weeks, however, I’ve been fighting for a solid slumber. Even after sleeping, I awoke not feeling rested and not energized for the day.
I have a small bag of ideas on how to fall asleep stored in my head at all times. I’ve either come up with them on a restless night or collected them from other people. The ideas are normally reserved for other people’s sleeplessness. In the last 2 weeks, I’ve tried them all, plus more. Counting up and down, counting various animals and objects, breathing techniques, writing on my bedside table notepad, relaxing scents, not eating near bedtime, drinking extra water, reading, not reading, watching TV, not watching TV, visualizing a single colour… and the list goes on.
After only a few days of not getting rest, I noticed a significant decline in my short-term memory, problem solving ability, and quick thinking skills. I didn’t feel like myself. Tasks and activities that I usually did without much thought took focus and concentration. My emotional responses to situations and people seemed out of whack. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to live with long-term sleeplessness.
Then, came sleep. Sweet, blissful, deep, restful sleep. I awoke one morning feeling like I had slept for days. I felt my eyes more open, my hearing sharper, my head clearer. My sleepy haze had cleared.
My boyfriend and friends asked me what was keeping me up at night. For the first time in my life, I had no clear answer to give. I still don’t. My best guess is a case of the winter blahs coupled with too many ideas and thoughts rolling around in my head at night. I’m just overwhelmingly happy that my sleep pattern has returned to normal. I’ve always known that sleep is incredibly important to our well-being. But, I’ve never taken my sleep seriously. Perhaps, I’ve been taking my good sleep for granted. No more.
I’ve made a pledge to myself that I’ll protect my sleep. I’ll guard my rest because it’s the most important ingredient in making my day a great one. No more caffeine after my morning coffee, more time spent with my own thoughts before my head hits the pillow, no more thinking about things beyond my control when it’s time for sleep… just a few of the protective measures I’ve told myself before but never fully followed. I’m also going to book myself some pampering and relaxation at the spa. It can’t hurt!