A Teacher's Back-to-School Insomnia Plan

Yawn... It's time to start setting my alarm again. Back-to-school mania, here I come. There's a new wakeup time. Well, I'll be honest – there is a wakeup time.

I have not set an alarm for the entire month of July, so any sleep my insomnia stole from me, I was able to make up with extra rest each morning just lying in bed. Battling insomnia is one thing, but trying to fight it when you are on a set schedule is something quite different.

The alarm clock dread

I look forward to summer for many reasons, not the least of which is the relief it offers from the worry of preparing for school on less than 4 hours of sleep. That's over now. Back to school means back to the drawing board.

When I set that alarm for 5:30 am, my anxiety will be instantly triggered. Will I fall asleep before midnight? Will I wake up every 30 to 40 minutes all night? Will I even fall asleep at all? Can I start the first week on zero sleep and keep my thoughts straight? Is there anything I can do to start the school year off right?

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Couch surfing to bed

Over the last few months, I have found several things that work for me. Mind you, they don't work every night, but I have been able to find some relief from sleeplessness.

I think I have come up with a plan of sorts, and I have my fingers crossed that it will work. At the very least, I am holding out hope that I can get a decent night's rest for the first day or so.

One day at a time, right?

The couch has become my friend over the course of the last year. Last summer, during an especially trying time, I found I was able to drift off on the couch and get a couple hours of sleep before moving to the bed. While not ideal, it did offer me some rest. After moving to the bed, I was able to settle in more easily and get a few hours of rest before my alarm sounded.

It is my hope I can tweak this plan by backing the routine up by a couple of hours. While I have been settling in on the couch around 11:00 pm, I am going to try starting this entire bedtime process around 9:00 pm.

Managing insomnia as a teacher or otherwise

Back-to-school time is also going to require me to put my phone down once I settle into bed. Summer offered me the luxury of not needing to settle my thoughts, and social media scrolling permeated my late-night routine. No more scrolling for me. Once I hit the couch, it will be all things sleep-related. Quiet house, darkness, no stimulation, and thoughts of a long night remaining unconscious.

Fingers and toes crossed that all of this will combine for a successful start to the school year. I don't like the idea of facing a new year when I am not at my best. As we all know, insomnia is good at making us all feel far less than our best.

Here's hoping tonight's the night we all find what works for us and wake up our best tomorrow, school or no school!

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