…Sorry. I’m done. GOD, I’m a nerd.
Point being, I’ve had sleep issues for as long as I can remember. I’m sure anyone from Hermosa will remember those countless nights that my parents had to rescue me from sleepovers after I’d tossed and turned in a friend’s bunk bed for hours, finally dissolving into hysterics and sobbing into my stuffed animal that I needed to go home.
Yeah. High school was a weird time.
…… Juuuust kidding.…*cough* … Moving on.
As a kid, it was the idea of not being able to sleep that sent me into a tailspin. Ten restless minutes and I would lose it entirely (I was a sensitive little flower…). Several years later, the causes of my sleeplessness have changed (as have the reactions… mercifully, I do not call my mother in tears at 2:00 AM anymore), but the sleeplessness itself remains.
Nowadays, the problem stems largely from a brain that won’t turn off. Instead of drifting peacefully into unconsciousness, I start planning for the day ahead. What I’m doing, when I’m doing it, when I have to leave, why is this song stuck in my head, what I’m wearing, what I’m eating, what’s on my grocery list, who do I have to email, will I have time for the gym, WHY IS THIS SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD?? Aaaand so on.
Then a couple days ago, I stumbled upon an article on Shape.com entitled “12 Steps to Better Sleep.” It didn’t address the “active brain syndrome” specifically, but it offered some decent advice. A few highlights:
1) Unplug. I.e. – turn the freaking computer off. I have a big problem with this. I usually fall asleep watching something. If I can’t sleep, I’ll put something else on. It’s an issue. Especially because, according to this article, the glow of electronics mimics daylight. Which makes your body stop producing as much melatonin. Which makes you not sleep. Awesome.
2) Ease Up On Caffeine. I learned my lesson on this on. No Dunkin’s Medium Iced Coffee with a Turbo Shot after 4:00 PM. May make work more tolerable, but it makes trying to sleep veeerrry upsetting.
3) Don’t Over-Hydrate. Excellent tip, as anyone who knows me knows it doesn’t take much to make me have to pee every 5 seconds.
4) Hit the Gym in the Morning. Workout in the morning – good for sleep. Workout at night – bad for sleep. Noted.
5) Get Up on Days Off. Getting better at this, but it really is hard to maintain regular sleep patterns when you’re on a server’s schedule. One of these days, when I have a big girl job, I’ll work this one out.
I may not spend my sleepless nights in a bleary-eyed hysteria anymore, but it still might be time to give some of these tips a shot. I can’t tell you how many times in the last few weeks I’ve forgotten what I was doing halfway through doing it, and I’m guessing that it’s thanks to overtiredness rearing its ugly head. In a very slow and groggy way.
And if anyone has any advice on getting your brain to turn off (or at least on getting it to stop playing the How I Met Your Mother theme song on repeat), please feel free to share your glorious nuggets of wisdom with the world by posting them in the comments.