Mother and daughter sit on a crescent moon having a pleasant conversation. Adult female, white.

3 Positives to Sleeplessness: My Hidden Insomnia Perks

Last updated: May 2023

2020 was a rollercoaster to say the least – and not the good kind. It’s akin to that 1 ride at the amusement park you look forward to all summer only to find it gives you whiplash instead of squeals of delight, bruises instead of an adrenaline rush, and a headache that ruins the rest of your trip. Yeah, it’s been that great.

So, in the spirit of trying to drag myself out of the funk that was 2020, I am adopting a new strategy – I am going to try really hard to look on the bright side and find some perks to the year. I’m starting with my insomnia. 2020 did a real number on my sleep patterns. There are multiple reasons – you can choose any 1 you like because I am sure you are familiar with them, too.

Reevaluating how I look at my sleeplessness

My 2020 started off with a bang when I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease in January. The accompanying insomnia is beyond frustrating and truly disheartening. Insomnia can be debilitating. Normally I would never say there are pluses to being an insomniac.

“Pluses” sounds a little more happy-go-lucky than I feel most days, but I am trying hard to reevaluate my sleeplessness. Don’t get me wrong. I am in no way making light of the fact that I struggle to fall asleep and sleep soundly through the night, but identifying a few little bonuses here and there keeps me sane these days.

In the spirit of staying positive, I have to share some advantages I found to being a night owl.

1. Sharing a schedule with my daughter

My teenage daughter is a night owl by choice. She writes papers, completes online quizzes and tests, and does her best research for classes in the wee hours of the night. I teach all day and if it weren’t for my insomnia, our paths might not cross very often.

As it stands, we get to catch up on our day and have a little extra time together during the time I would normally be in bed. Yes, I know. I should at least be trying to settle into bed, but I am grateful for all the time I can get with her. I will definitely take 12:15 AM on a school night.

2. Home improvement time

Yes. I said it. And, yes, I’m laughing just as hard as you are. I used my wide-awake hours to repaper the area between my countertops and kitchen cabinets. When I found myself unable to sleep, I started the process of repainting my hall and kitchen walls.

I am not saying I make a habit of burning the midnight oil, but when I am especially amped up, I do make use of the time in hopes of wearing myself out. Sometimes it works – others not so much. Besides, I have some new handiwork to admire and get to check some things off my to-do list.

3. Late-night brainstorming

It goes without saying that insomnia gives us plenty of time to think. My mind tends to wander to my classroom in the wee hours. Coming up with ways to navigate a hybrid schedule takes a good bit of brainstorming – and some of it happens to be in the middle of the night. My hours staring at the ceiling have yielded some really great ideas for lesson plans in a super-challenging school year.

Finding the bright side in the darkness

As completely baffling as insomnia can be, I will never not be grateful for the extra time I have been given to spend with my daughter. Though I know I should be putting more energy into falling asleep some nights, I can’t say I am not glad for the time it’s given me to think and plan.

Sometimes the bright side is almost impossible to see in the darkness, but if you squint hard enough you’ll find it. Insomnia generally really stinks, except those few times it doesn’t.

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