Lying Awake With My Insomnia
If I had a talk show or a podcast, I feel like my tagline would be “Welcome back, I’m lying here awake with my Insomnia, again. It’s so nice to see you! Thanks for joining me!”
I joke, but truly I don’t know how else I’d tolerate insomnia without some humor. Can you relate?
I wish I could sit here and tell you about all of the gentle, non-stimulating things I do during the night when I’m struggling to sleep, but that’s not how my story goes.
Sometimes I scroll on my phone
The reality is, I usually scroll through my phone. Not helpful to those of you looking for outside of the box suggestions, I know. But here’s the thing - it’s what feels right for me. I’ve gone through prolonged periods of trial and error of removing phone/screens from my sleep environment, bedtime, and during the night routines, and it just doesn’t make things any better for me. So, I scroll.
Sometimes it’s to see if someone is awake that I can connect with and vent or catch up or just chat. Other times it's for distraction. Or boredom. Sometimes, I play a game on my phone. Does it use more brainpower than I should be using when I’m hoping to fall back asleep - absolutely. But does it make insomnia more emotionally tolerable for me? One Hundred Percent.
Gazing and thinking
When I can’t sleep at night, sometimes I lay awake watching my husband or my dog sleep. Sometimes there’s a bit of jealousy in my heart, but usually I just get lost in thinking about how cute they both are.
Sometimes I stare at the ceiling and think about the day that just passed or the day that’s coming up, my mental to-do list, or a list of things that I feel gratitude for. Occasionally I think about something I don’t want to forget, and I write a note on my phone or send myself an email.
Processing thoughts and making plans
Other times, I write. With pen and paper at my desk or kitchen table, on my phone, or even in front of my computer screen. Sometimes the need to process my feelings, or expand on an idea, or if I’m really awake - work on a project - it supersedes trying to ignore those thoughts.
Things I’ve recently come up with in the middle of the night: Thanksgiving menu, business mission statement, a couple of surprises for friends and how to execute them, and most recently, some moderating for this community’s Facebook page!
Getting lost in a favorite show
There’s one other thing I want to share. The TV is often a middle-of-the-night companion for me. Again, I know this can really disrupt sleep cycles for many, but it has never made a difference for me. Falling asleep to or watching something I’ve seen before allows my brain to check out, and for me to feel like I have company when I am awake and alone. Favorites include: stand up comedy specials, Chicago PD, the movie Definitely, Maybe, and the movie Black Panther.
I’d love to hear which of the above you’re familiar with, and what other things you do when you’re struggling to sleep at night. I can always use some suggestions! Join our site and share in the comments below!
Will you take our Sleep Disorders Survey to raise awareness for insomnia?