Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sleep... I Need Sleep

Ever have something so overwhelmingly on your mind that no matter how tired you are you can't sleep?

That's been my life since I found out we had to move. Every night I go to bed so tired I can barely keep my eyes open, and as soon as my head hits the pillow, my brain starts whirring. I don't mind when it does this as a result of trying to sort out a plot point that's driving me nuts, but this moving-insomnia is thoroughly irritating the crap out of me.

Which means I'm more surly than usual. Sleep deprivation does that to a person. I'm not to the 'rip off your head spit down the hole' yet, but a few more nights like this, and look out.

I'm not a pill-poppin' kinda gal, but those Ambien commercials are looking mighty nice right about now. Hell, I've even thought about stooping to a stop at the local liquor store for some snoozy wine. But since I have to be alert in the morning, both options are a No. *shrug* (I'm super sensitive to medication, so even something as wimpy as Tylenol PM makes me loopy for about 24 hours. I can't even begin to imagine what a sleeping pill would do to me.) Nope, I just have to weather this out and hope I come out the other side with a shred of sanity intact.

On the upside, this sleeplessness is giving me more time to write. On the downside, by the time it gets around to writing time, I'm too pooped to think. At least until after I've already tried to go to bed once. The other night I got up after a half hour of tossing, and wrote some good words. Maybe tonight will work out that way, too.

I do have some mental tricks for falling asleep. None of them are working right now, but here they are:

- Imagine a big blackboard. Now write the number 100 in chalk and then very slowly erase it. Write 99 and then erase it. And so on until you either fall asleep or reach zero. I can't remember ever making it past 89. (Except for those nights when I'm too distracted and then I don't even get to 97 before my brain is on to other things.)

- Find the most relaxing song you know and sing/hum it in your head - very slowly - until you fall asleep. I usually pick something classical or a lullaby. Usually works in no time at all. (Right now, my brain keeps changing the tune.)

- Picture an infinity symbol. (If you aren't familiar with it, it looks like an 8 laying on its side.) Trace the symbol over and over until you fall asleep. This one can be used in conjunction with the above humming. For this sleep trick, I like to sing a song I heard when I was a child about inchworms measuring marigolds. (Do you know that one?)

- Tell yourself over and over that whatever you're thinking about can wait until morning. After all, there's nothing you can do about it late at night anyway. Right? To my dismay, this isn't working either. My subconscious has been telling my conscious to STFU, it's going to think about whatever it wants to think about whether anything can be done or not.

- And when worse comes to worst, after about a half hour, get the hell out of bed. At least then your spouse will get some sleep and both of you won't be dragging ass the next day. When I got up last night, my husband was still awake - poor thing - but within ten minutes of my leaving, he was sawing logs.

Any tricks you have for getting to sleep? Any words of wisdom? I'm willing to try anything that doesn't involve chemicals, booze, or a sharp blow to the skull.



JenWriter said...

Um, well, you said no booze, but I think a glass of wine might do the trick.

Also, you could try reading something really boring.

Kristen Painter said...

How about valerian? It's a totally natural herb. It smells bad, but it helps you sleep.