I have a lifelong battle with insomnia. Some days, I sleep well...at least well for me. Other days, not so much. Part of the issue is that my mind never seems to really sleep, like I am always listening, always thinking. A bang of a car door down the street, a sharply drawn breath from a sleeping kid in the next room, heck even a kid rolling over and I wake up. The reverse is when it is too quiet and the silence wakes me with its eerieness.
I am currently in the midst of a nasty jag of sleeplessness. Before you stop reading this post to leave me a comment or send an email about what works for you let me assure you that I have tried all of the things to help me sleep. Well meaning people like to offer advice like: exercise, meditate, write down whatever is keeping me up, get up for a bit, have a sacred sleep routine, yoga, teas, no caffeine after a certain time, no spicy food, no anything after a certain time, etc. I have tried all of these things. In fact I do almost all of this every day (except spicy food, because c'mon). I will not take medication, it is just a bandaid and not a solution and it leaves me feeling so weird.
Anyway, I have been dealing with this issue since I can remember. The average adult person needs 7+ hours of sleep. I have been hung up on that number for ages. The truth is that I don't need that much sleep. I am not within that average and that is fine. I have been trying to pay attention to my own body and the needs it has. I have concluded that 6hours of sleep is great for me. 7 is fantastic. More than 8 and I feel weird and lazy all day.
That doesn't mean that I don't have insomnia. I definitely do. I think this week I have been averaging about 4.5-5 hours a night and I am feeling a little fuzzy around the edges, like dreams are wanting to break through, but they can't right now. The other night I found myself answering emails at 2am in an attempt to quiet the nagging of responsibility on my brain. To be clear the emails were just non-urgent stuff about swimming lessons, but they were keeping me up. This morning our senile cat discovered the acoustical power of the bathroom for her non-lucid night meowing. I gave up and started drawing.
So now I am trying to dig a little deeper. I want to see if there is an underlying pattern. Do I have these sleepless jags during certain times of the week or month? Could there be a hormonal component? Is it simply a result of being under more stress? I am not sure, and that is weird. I should be able to identify the core issues at this point, to be able to predict. I have decided that I am going to start keeping notes and with collected information I may be able to reach some conclusions.
While I am feeling a bit tired today I am also feeling empowered. I feel like I have a real strategy. I don't know if there will be a solution, but even if I could know the patterns (because there seems to be no rhyme or reason now) then I could at least arrange my life around it, not planning certain activities when I anticipate sleeplessness. Anyway, I am feeling hopeful!