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Another Sleep Blip: How I Jinxed Myself

Last updated: April 2022

A few days ago, I wrote an enlightened piece about "sleep blips." (You can read it: Coping with Sleep Blips) I talked about how I understand sleep blips as natural reactions to stress and how I've developed my coping skills for dealing with them when they occur. I proudly described not being stressed out by sleep blips and accepting them as a normal part of life.

The Karma Police responded to my gloating by serving me a fresh helping of disrupted sleep. I totally deserved that.

Stress disrupted my sleep

I know exactly why this sleep blip started. I entered the (very chaotic) housing market a few weeks ago. I had to move out of my place for a long weekend, taking my pets with me. Over 200 people viewed my place over 4 days.

My pets and I were displaced to a (very generous) family member's spare room. His cat hissed at me the whole time. Suffice it to say, my stress level was through the roof. Cue a 5-night sleep blip.

I did everything 'wrong'

I meant what I said in my previous post: I know how to deal with a sleep blip. I understand it as a normal response to stress and that I should avoid reacting with unhealthy behaviors. I know what I am supposed to do, but I chose to do the opposite.

I spent 5 nights waking up nearly every hour. I was exhausted all day. I was grumpy and physically uncomfortable. Even though I know better, I napped on the couch in the afternoons. I drank an extra cup of coffee every morning. I laid in bed when I woke up during the night.

I kept a healthy attitude

Almost everything I did in response to the sleep blip was "wrong." But I did manage to keep a healthy perspective on the sleep blip. I reminded myself that this was a short-term problem. I stayed optimistic that my sleep would return to normal once the stressful week was over. And I cut myself some slack for handling the sleep blip imperfectly.

And just like that, the sleep blip passed

Once all the strangers left my home and I was back in my own bed, I finally slept through the night. Upon waking up the next morning, my first thought was, "Oh yeah, this is what it feels like to not be tired!" It's amazing how quickly the feeling of being well-rested can become foreign.

What will I do next time?

I know that the next sleep blip is inevitable, especially as I continue to navigate the home selling and buying process. I'd love to say that I'll handle it better next time, but I doubt that's true. I will probably engage in a few unhealthy sleep behaviors, like napping or upping my caffeine intake. 

But I've learned how important my attitude has been throughout this most recent sleep blip. Feeling confident that my sleep was only temporarily disrupted and reminding myself that I could handle it went a long way toward getting me back on track quickly. 

If I'd berated myself for my poor sleep or worried about how long it was going to last, I'm sure I'd still be having trouble sleeping right now. So as I prepare for the next sleep blip, I know that keeping a realistic attitude can keep a few nights of poor sleep from turning into an episode of insomnia.

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