Do you have problems sleeping — to the point where it’s insomnia? Since I was in my thirties, I’ve had bouts with sleeplessness until the point where my body takes over my conscience and gives into the depths of dreams I can never remember. It’s awful. If you’ve ever been through it, you know what I mean.
I want so badly to sleep. My eyes are tired wanting to close, my body is exhausted, and yet, staying in bed begins to be painful and bring on anxiety. I get up with the thought that I just need something like milk to get me to dreamland. Yet, two hours after having the milk I’m still awake.
Through trial and error, I have developed a strategy to cut this behavior before it gets too far out of hand. The method doesn’t work 100% of the time but my difficult nights have been cut in half by this approach. Depending on how wound up I am will determine how much of the procedure I actually need to do.
Unless I’m exhausted when I walk into the bedroom to get ready for bed, after I get night clothes on, I get a cup of Cheerios. Why Cheerios? They make a great snack that is neither messy or loaded with calories. It gives me just enough in my stomach so that hunger can’t possibly be an issue. I read for approximately an hour munching on Cheerios until reading becomes a blur.
The next step is to pamper myself just a little. My daughter usually gives me fragrant lotion from Bath & Body for my birthday and Mother’s Day. As you can probably imagine, there’s little danger of me ever running out of the stuff. I apply it to my legs, feet, arms, and hands.
When I turn out the light, I don’t immediately go for the position I’ll probably sleep in. Instead, I lay on my back and have my arms at my sides. In this position, I try to clear my mind of everything that went on that day. The way I do this is I focus on what is going on in the present. Sure, not much is going on, right? Listening to the noises of the house, hearing a dog bark in a neighbor’s yard, and heard the occasional car pass on the street is what is in the present. I have my eyes closed so I’m not being stimulated by headlights somehow making it through the blinds or by curiosity about the deep shadows in the room. It’s relaxing. It’s calming.
I’ll lay on my back for about fifteen to twenty minutes until I’m in that phase where I could be awake or asleep. That’s when I turn and get into the position I find the most comfortable for sleeping.
I still don’t sleep through the night but five hours of uninterrupted sleep is great. And I can usually go back to sleep after I make that stupid trip to the bathroom. It’s one of those senior moment.
Do you have trouble sleeping? What are your strategies?