Thursday, April 15, 2010

Results May Vary



I'm groggy. I love that word, but I don't love the condition. For two nights I've been suffering from insomnia, hence the grogginess. I am very very very lucky to be such a good sleeper. Usually. Every now and then, for reasons unknown, I toss and turn, worry excessively, imagine the worst. Who knows why.

I know, I'm not supposed to worry when I can't sleep. A great therapist told me once that while lying in bed, one is in a passive posture which makes the worries seem worse. She said, "If you want to worry in the middle of the night, stand up, put your shoulders back, lift your chin. Then worry as much as you want."

Great practical advice.

Tuesday night I decided to go with the flow of sleeplessness. I worried for awhile, then tried re-arranging the pillows in every possible configuration. The tossing and turning was so intense, it was probably aerobic. The novelty of such a night was slightly amusing, I must admit. I thought about Harold and the Purple Crayon, and other famous insomniacs. I listened to the robins singing late into the night (someone told me they sing at night because it's so noisy in the morning they can't hear each other). But last night when I again couldn't locate the Sandman no matter how much I wanted him to come visit, I kept myself busy with some techniques for falling asleep that I suggest to clients when they complain of insomnia.

Count backwards from 100. (Didn't work.)
Slow down my breathing, just slightly. (Didn't work.)
Do that yoga thing of putting my feet up a wall for a few minutes. (Didn't work.)
Think of 10 things I'm thankful for. (The gratitude practice was great, but it didn't work.)

I wasn't cranky about it, though I'll admit I was impressed that none of the above was having any effect. At last, just to be retro, I decided to count sheep. I imagined cute, fluffy little cartoon sheep leaping, one after another, over a cartoon fence in the midst of a cartoon landscape. The next thing I knew, the sun was shining through the crystal I have hanging in the window, lighting up the room with tiny rainbows.

Hmm. So - counting sheep worked? Who knew? Very interesting - and - I hope tonight I can return to my usual pattern of going to bed and getting to sleep in a timely manner. As for today, I think a second cup of tea is definitely in order. Oh yeah.

20 comments:

NanU said...

Whenever I just can't get to sleep, or get back to sleep after Natalie has insisted on going out at 2am, what works for me is pretending I'm sleeping. Even if it doesn't 'work', it's still quite restful. For really bad cases, I pretend I'm dead, but some people find that too creepy.
See you soon!!!

Reya Mellicker said...

Love this! Hope I don't have to give it a try, but it's good to know about.

Saturday is just the day after tomorrow. Woooo hooooo!

ellen abbott said...

I used to lay there thinking that if I wasn't sleeping, at least I was resting but I don't find tossing and turning to be restful so now if I wake up in the night (my insomnia always comes in the middle of the night) and am still awake an hour later, I just get up. I can usually go back to sleep around 5AM and get a couple more hours.

sometimes though I will try to meditate, in bed, meditate myself to sleep. This works for me if I can stay focused.

The Bug said...

I don't usually have trouble sleeping (if I do I can trace the trouble back to caffeine or sugar) - but when I DO have trouble I just start imagining what I would do if I won the lottery. I start with imagining turning on the computer to check out the numbers, and go all the way to trying to decide whether to just give money to my brother or set up a trust for his kids. And paying for the organ repair at church. I used to spend a good hour on this happy daydream until I fell asleep. Now if I even THINK the word "lottery" I'm out like a light. It's like I hypnotized myself!

Linda Sue said...

Advil PM- watching the weather channel- making the room cold after filling your hot water bottle, wrapping it with a lavender scented baby blanket.Advil PM...anything having to do with numbers- if counting sheep- i would be stressed about their inoculations and when I should shave them for the best quality of wool, who will breed to whom next- and why don't they stay in the fenced area...why are they always trying to commit suicide?

Linda Sue said...

Oh, and did I mention advil PM?

Reya Mellicker said...

I've heard that Advil PM is awesome. Hmmmm ... But I like your fantasy approach.

willow said...

Try a big, loud fan. The lull works for me. After I quit coffee, I started sleeping much better. Those are my two cents.

C.M. Jackson said...

nothing worse than mind racing and no sleep---perhaps you can catch a nap in the sunshine--feel better!

Tom said...

sometimes you just can't help but worry, and that's a sure sleep killer...coffee in the afternoon is what does it to me, oh and too many afternoon naps.
Sleep well tonite, hug a sheep for me.

Ronda Laveen said...

I usually just get up and go write down what it is that my mind is working on: worries, ideas, plans, concepts, blah, blah de blah. I just empty my mind on to the paper or the screen and then it seems there is nothing left for it to churn on.

Two other things:
I think that at 5:29 yesterday morning, we entered the new moon of Aries. There is a huge, big activation ushering in an energy of Aries thrust before Uranus and Jupiter go into Aries this summer. A lot of stuff you want to bring forth may just have been trying to come to the surface.

Also, my guru, Sai Maa, has us try to say "I am going to rest my body" instead of "I am going to sleep." Sleep denotes being unconscious. Resting detnotes a conscious intention.

Over and out!

Karen said...

I love the idea of standing up and facing the worry as a means of making it seem less powerful. Interesting!

Usually, if I've tried the normal things & can't sleep, I just get up and start working on a project. (A quiet one, so as not to wake my family...)

Good luck sleeping tonight!

Reya Mellicker said...

Had lunch with a friend today and ... I had a cup of coffee! What was I thinking? Not thinking, obviously.

Well, if I have insomnia tonight, I've got a whole bunch of new tricks to try. That's looking on the bright side, eh?

Paul C said...

'The tossing and turning was so intense, it was probably aerobic.' I like that. That should induce sleep.

I play squash several times a week at 6 in the morning. Some nights my sleep is not that restful, but the game certainly knocks some sense into my body for the next night.

lakeviewer said...

I get up when that happens and find something useful to do, such as commenting on others' blogs. After an hour of this, I'm ready to go back to bed.

Merle Sneed said...

When I was young and stupid and forever causing myself trouble, I suffered insomnia for days on end. It was horrible. Sleep tight kiddo.

Mrsupole said...

Insomnia am I. That is how I live and it just seems that I am always tired. But I am learning that I do have worse nights if I drink anything with caffeine or sugar in it after the first few hours of awakening. Chocolate is another thing that can cause me to have insomnia, probably because of the sugar and caffeine in it.

If I drink any kind of soda pop then I know there will be no sleep for me. I am trying to keep track of what I eat and when I eat it, so that I learn what to avoid. As long as I stay away from those types of food then I do a little better with sleeping. Even fruit can keep me awake due to the sugar content. But for some reason I am finding that eating bread a few hours before bedtime helps me to sleep. I am not sure why.

Oh and if you have a list of things that "Grandpa" told you to help one to sleep, could you please repost it. I lost that list and I know it helped for a little while and I am thinking that maybe with me changing what I eat, along with what he said to do, that might help with sleeping better.

God bless.

PS...I remember when Dana posted a comment here about the Lottery before, and maybe that would be a good thing to try. I wish I had a "trigger word" for sleeping.

Steve said...

I've counted sheep before too, and it's amazing how well it works! I think it basically serves to distract our minds and put us in a regular, somewhat meditative state. Sometimes I just follow my breathing as I lie in bed and that helps me fall asleep too. (I'm not sure this is wise, though, because then when I follow my breath as I meditate, will I have trained myself to become sleepy?)

Anyway, I hope your sleep patterns are becoming more "normal." :)

Reya Mellicker said...

I slept soundly last night, who knows why? I am grateful.

sinnlighet said...

Thank you for your sweet comment on my blog, it makes me so happy.

Your post today is just wonderful & soo amazing and makes me dream!

Agneta, the swedish one;)