It happens when I’m at my most stressed out, busy, and overwhelmed — just when I know sleep is exactly what I need and I can imagine how sweet it would feel to just close my eyes and not think of anything anymore… I can’t do it. I find myself sitting up until 3 a.m. or later, staring at the computer screen with bleary eyes, completely bereft of ideas or energy.
Insomnia sucks. And the worst part is, I’m totally doing it to myself and I can’t even stop it. transient insomnia can be caused by stress and depression. So what helps to alleviate my bouts of work-related sleeplessness? I’ve tried a bunch of stuff.
As much as I love the Smashing Pumpking song, I’m not about to start popping Soma. Because I’m scared of sleeping pills and overly potent remedies, I try to keep my sleep aides all natural. Here’s what helps most in my go to sleep routine.
1 — Get a good workout in during the day. Working up a sweat guarantees that I’ll be ready to pass out the second my head hits the pillow.
2 — Try to eat dinner early. I notice, if I have dinner after 9:30 p.m., I still feel wide awake well past midnight. On a school night, that just guarantees that I’ll be sluggish in the a.m.
3 — If it’s getting late at night, even if I still have work to do, I have to make it a point to drag myself away from the computer screen and the television, to allow my eyes and brain to relax. Staying up late to complete a task often means that I’m not working at my optimal best, and I often find my most heinous spelling errors and crimes against grammar the morning after an all-night writing binge. There’s a noticeable difference in the quality of posts I worked on when at my sharpest, versus the ones I churn out on a sleepless night.
4 — A warm, delicious, non-caffeinated beverage usually does the trick. Got milk?
Even though it’s been debunked as a sleep inducing beverage, a night time glass of milk’s still my BFF. Since I’ve been a little one, my family has believed in a glass of warm, slightly sweetened milk to kill nighttime sweet tooth cravings, and lull us off to the land of Nod.
My Aunty Gemma’s a teetotaler with a strong religious faith, and she believes in a bedtime cup of warm milk and honey — a combination that is beneficial and beautifying both inside and out. I love the thick sweetness of honey, but every so often, for a decadent nightcap, I go heathen-style. A splash of amaretto, Bailey’s, Frangelico, or Kahlua all are delish in a glass of milk, and sometimes I’ll make a PG-13 creamy cocktail depending on what liqueur I’ve got available. Just a splash. Web MD doesn’t recommend this at all — one of their top 10 tips is to avoid alcohol before bed. But until that new special extra-melatonin milk hits the market, I reserve the right as a grown woman to kick my nightcap up a notch if I so choose.
If I’m not sipping leche, I make some kind of warm, yummy, non-caffeinated tea. Celestial Seasonings has been outdoing themselves in this department, and their bags are constantly on sale at the grocery store. That Sleepytime definitely works well for me when I’m halfway zoned out, and today I treated myself to a box of Sweet Coconut Thai Chai. It smells like poetry, and it’s decaf so it won’t get you all hopped up. I just had a cup, and I do feel about ready for bed. Good thing — it’s 1:15 a.m. on a Monday morning!
Random randomness indeed — in writing this post I stumbled across a Sesame Street song I’d almost forgotten! Everybody Sleeps. Wow. I hadn’t seen this since I was a little girl, I swear! I miss old school Sesame Street, I really do.
My Trinis know whereof I speak — vintage Sesame Street will always be the bomb. I really couldn’t finish my post without that video.
Do you ever suffer from sleeplessness? What helps you drift off?