Last night I couldn’t sleep, and here we are.
I don’t consider myself a particularly stressed person, but from time to time I find myself concerned about everyday issues (exams, for instance) that prevent me for getting enough sleep. And, according to the last book I have read, I think I must have the brain of a teenager because I need my 7-8 hours of sleep every night to be a functional person.
I have recently read a couple of articles on what to do when you have trouble sleeping (not about sleeping disorders, which should be treated by a doctor), and I’m not going to talk about sleeping habits, but about how to fight insomnia in situ: the night in question and the day after, having tried all the methods myself over the past weeks 😉
The night in question
Let’s start at the beginning: it’s 3 am and you are staring at the ceiling from your bed, thinking about the ton of things you have to do tomorrow.
a) First of all, get out of bed. To me, there’s nothing more counterproductive that trying to sleep when you are awake – I just can’t do it.
b) Make a cup of tile and/or valerian. According to my own experience, this isn’t likely to help until it’s five minutes to get up – that’s the moment when the tile really kicks in, hard. So, why do I still try it? Simply because it gives me hope it will work, if only this time…
c) Then take your cup of hope and do something productive. Keep in mind that the next day you’ll accomplish fewer things than scheduled, so try to get ahead of it tonight. Besides, there is nothing else to do at this hour, and you should know that watching TV or surfing the internet will make you feel guilty in the morning, so get stuff done.
I either study or organize papers. In those sleepless nights is when I realized studying taxes doesn’t always have the effect of a sleeping pill… This should be a new field of research.
I have never tried to clean, even though I have considered it many times, but I’m confused: I don’t know if cleaning, considered as a soft exercise, might activate your brain even more, making it totally impossible to fall asleep again that night or, on the contrary, it might leave you exhausted and ready for bed. If you have tried it, I’m willing to hear about it.
d) When you begin to feel sleepy, leave whatever you are doing and go to bed. Apparently, we have sleeping circles, and once one of them arrives, the next won’t come until an hour and a half later, so don’t play with fire.
The morning after
Today will be all about willpower, believe me.
a) I’m sure you have reset your alarm for a later hour to skip all the healthy morning routines you wanted to do. Getting more sleep, if possible, is a great thing, but I would never-ever skip my breakfast. In fact, I wouldn’t even bother getting up if I’m not going to drink my chocolate milk and eat a toast with butter and jam. Fig jam. Oh God. 😀
b) The last day I suffered from sleep deprivation I did something remarkable I want to share: I woke up and exercised a little bit. I know, I KNOW. Those who do exercise regularly already know that a workout makes the difference between a great morning and a morning in which you just go through, but the effect when you haven’t sleep properly is multiplied by 100. I mean, you won’t do The Workout because this is not the day for that, but I’m talking about no more than 20-30 minutes in order to activate your brain a little. Trust me.
c) Drink as much coffee as you need before 5 pm. We need to get going but we don’t want to be awake when it’s finally time to go to bed.
d) Don’t wear sunglasses. I read this tip in an article talking about how to survive if you partied all night and you have to work the next day, but it applies here too for the same reason: your brain gets activated by the light caught by the eye, so we want all that brightness. It is going to hurt, but it’s necessary.
e) Then, rearrange your tasks in order to do the things that require concentration and/or quietness first. You might feel almost dying, but these first hours of the morning are in fact your best of this particular day, so be ready. If possible, leave errands for later in the day, when you’ll be really tired – you’ll shake off sleepiness by going here and there and it won’t require concentration.
f) When you get home (in my case is for lunch, because in Spain we have lunch very late), don’t nap. I repeat: DON’T NAP. In my own experience, this is the hardest part, but I know I can’t nap for a few minutes – when I haven’t rest well at night it’s impossible for me to wake up from a nap until a couple of hours later and, therefore, that night I’ll go to bed late and the circle of insomnia will continue forever. We don’t want that to happen, so it’s better if you just go for a short walk (remember: without sunglasses!).
g) At around 6 pm you’ll experience a burst of energy. Take advantage of it to do whatever requires your concentration, but keep in mind it won’t last more than 1-2 hours.
h) And finally, go-to-bed. Can there be anything more pleasant? When you began feeling sleepy in the evening, don’t fight it, just embrace your bed early, get advantage of that sleeping circle that just came to you from the heavens, and get the rest you deserve. After all, you survived!
Do you have any survival tips for these occassions? Please, share them!