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Goldilocks's Problem: Insomnia

Sleep has been hard to come by for me. I can blame the fact my dog’s medication had her up three times a night until we had it discontinued despite stern warnings by her vet. The fact is that before and after this event, I still either woke up at 3am nightly to ruminate over my life’s problems, whether the problems had occurred when I was ten years old or today. Or I’ve found it hard to fall asleep, feeling electrified as though I had drunk six cups of black coffee when I hadn’t. I decided to remind myself of different ways to help me sleep better and I’m sharing these with you. If you have other ideas, share them with us please. We all need to sleep. I can’t be the only one up at night or maybe I am. It’s such a solitary feeling.

The most frequent tip I come across to have a good night’s sleep is to maintain a regular sleep pattern. That means going to bed and getting up at the same time on most days. This will help whether you’re sleeping night or day, depending on your biorhythm or your work schedule. Each of us needs a certain amount of sleep within twenty-four hours. Try not to nap if you’ve had a bad night. That’s like eating now just in case you get hungry later. It doesn’t really work that way. If we take naps, it decreases the amount of sleep we need at night. This can cause sleep fragmentation that makes it difficult for us to fall asleep.

We’re encouraged to stay out of bed other than for sleep or sex. We rest when we’re in bed even if we’re awake and eating cheese sandwiches. Or if we’re watching television. Our bodies are stimulated in a weird way as we rest, mixing up our brain signals. When I visited people at home, during my days as a community health nurse, some would complain bitterly about not sleeping at night. I watched as they literally lived their lives from their beds and wouldn’t budge with suggestions to divert their activities.

On those nights you can’t sleep, get out of bed after five or ten minutes. Have a seat and allow your thoughts to race, settle down, and eventually rest, and climb back under your cozy comforter once you feel sleepy again.

Here is a list of sleep tips:

-No blue lights, yep, that means your phone or the television. Read a boring book. That's sure to put you to sleep.

-No caffeinated beverages in the evening. How about a warm glass of milk? Seriously. My mother used to sprinkle a bit of sugar and cinnamon in my glass. *Snore*

-Hungry? Eat a light snack before going to bed. Not in bed.

-Try listening to a guided meditation to relax you to Sleepyland.

-Remember that Goldilocks looked for a perfectly comfortable mattress. She knew what she was doing. The mattress had to be "Just Right!"

-Those thoughts that keep you up at night? Find a trusted person to share them with during the day hours.

-Invest in a pair of earplugs if your environment is noisy. Open the window if it’s too warm. Close it if it’s too cold.

-Retire the booze and the weed if you’ve been using it to help you sleep. Contrary to popular belief, these substances destroy your sleep centers, and it can take a millennium to repair. These trusty items are actually depressants. In my Daisy Muñiz mystery series, Daisy often wakes up at 3am feeling alert and as though her intuition is turned on high. She is still relearning how to sleep after indulging in alcohol for too many years. Insomnia can develop for a mix of reasons.

Let us know in the comments section the sleep tips you’d like to share with the rest of us. For me, prayer helps me to curl up and get a restful sleep. When I wake up in the middle of the night, saying the Rosary does the trick. What are your tricks?



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