My New Favorite Middle of the Night Activity
Last updated: October 2023
My insomnia has gone through a variety of stages throughout life - everything from staying up for days at a time to living in cycles of twilight sleep - I've experienced trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, trouble retuning to sleep, and trouble getting back up in the morning.
I've spent what feels like years of my life wracking my brain at how to entertain myself or at least make the time pass by faster during the night, and I've always come up with the same less than tried and true replies - things that involve screens (TV, movies, games), things that involve deep thinking (reading, writing or organizing), and things that involve noise (or the oven!) like baking or rearranging the kitchen.
As you can see, none of these are suitable answers for the middle of the night especially when one lives with a partner who is trying to stay asleep and a toddler who absolutely must fall asleep.
Finding calm in a new middle-of-the-night activity
In the fall, I had spinal surgery. The combination of pain and medication I was utilizing to rehab from the procedure really wreaked havoc on my sleep schedule. During hour number one zillion of searching the internet, I found a hobby called diamond art. As someone who likes meticulous movements, colors, and, dare I even add things that shine to the mix, this felt like it could become something ideal for me to try my hand at.
Little did I know I would find so much calm in this activity.
No sounds, no screens
What started as an occasional thing I could work on is something I now put some time into nearly every day. I am currently working on a couple different pieces - one is a small pansy, about 5 by 7 inches in size, and one is a waterfall scene that is closer to 12 by 12 inches in size. I'm also working on a Disney one with Mickey and Minnie that's 11 by 17 inches and will be framed for a series I've been creating for our daughters bedroom.
My favorite things about this middle of the night activity?
It just requires a little bit of light.
No rigidity in start or stop time.
Passing the time with calming activities
Something I can work on for 10 minutes or 2 hours, and either way I feel like I accomplished something and that I can try again to fall asleep now that some time has passed, I've gotten rid of some energy, and I feel less angsty or like there are proverbial "ants in my pants."
Sometimes I spend time in the afternoons or after dinner working on my diamond art, but I've learned that I truly appreciate the activity the most when my house is dark and silent. To be honest, it's made me resent insomnia and the middle of the night less than I ever have before.
What about you? Have you come across anything that you have found to do to pass the time while not sleeping that has almost... Brought you joy instead? I would love to hear about anything you've tried or found successful in the comments below!
Do you experience painsomnia?