Who Needs Sleep? (No, You're Never Gonna Get It)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

That Barenaked Ladies song was one of my favorites, played on repeat in my college dorm during sophomore year. Those were the days when I stayed up until 4am doing God-knows-what (no, really, what did we do online before social media existed?), & I crashed just as the sun began to rise. In those days, I slept until noon or beyond, & I never dreamed I would be anything but someone who slept like a rock.

But alas, the time has come.

These days, I sleep terribly. I don't fall asleep until around 1am, & it's all downhill from there: I get up to use the bathroom around 3am, wake up to my cat being a maniac around 5am, & awaken yet again when my boyfriend gets up for work around 7am. Then I fall back asleep one last time, ideally waking up at 8am, but realistically getting up at more like 9 or 9:30. Thank God I work from home, but this is still not sustainable.

Unsurprisingly, my FitBit's sleep tracker looks like a seismic monitor. I was so fatigued this week that, no joke, today I slept for 15 hours. Like I said: not sustainable.

It should go without saying, then, that I am trying desperately to become a better sleeper. Here are just a few of the many tactics I've employed to try to sleep better at night, all of which seem to help, but none of which are, ultimately, getting me more than six hours of shut-eye a night.

1. Eye mask

I got two satin eye masks in my last Bloom Beautifully Box, & they've become the most vital element of my attempts at getting a good night's sleep. The sun shines in my window at night, & our apartment gets bright in the morning, so this sucker keeps me in blessed darkness, which helps keep me asleep. Mostly.

2. Melatonin 

I don't actually love the way melatonin makes me feel - when I wake up, I'm incredibly groggy - but sometime,s it's worth it to take 3mg & try to knock myself out for the night, the natural way. Unfortunately, even that doesn't always work, & I don't want to take more of it, lest I get even groggier.

3. Vitamin D

Most people are vitamin D-deficient, & it can contribute to sleep disorders. I've been taking 2,000 IU of Vitamin D for awhile now to help with stomach issues, but it hasn't made a dent in my (in)ability to sleep through the night.

4. Mantras

I have a couple of silly phrases I focus on & repeat, mentally, over & over & over in an effort to fall asleep. Surprisingly, this works better than just about anything to calm my anxiety-ridden nighttime mind.

5. Backrubs

Sometimes, on the rare nights when I try to go to sleep before him, Mike will rub my back for a bit - not, like, a massage, just the way your parents rubbed your back when you were a kid to soothe you, you know? It's so relaxing that it puts me to sleep almost immediately.

6. Reading

I've been trying to read for a bit before I go to sleep, though it's probably problematic that I do most of that reading on my phone. It does work to get me help me calm my mind/get tired, but I can't fall asleep while reading, & I get too engrossed in my book to put it down until I literally can't keep my eyes open anymore... OK, this one isn't working for me.

7. Earplugs

My beloved is, unfortunately, quite the snorer, so I've taken to keeping half a dozen earplugs at my bedside to block out the noise. They always fall out in the middle of the night, so having a few on hand ensures that I can just grab another pair in the dark & try again.

8. White noise 

Isn't it weird that a room can be too quiet to sleep? I've long loved Ambiance, a white noise app that allows you to download nearly any sound you can imagine. My favorite is "Thunderstorm with Heavy Rain," a staticky weather loop that I set to a two-hour timer.

And there you have it. Is that the full list? I can't even remember, at this point, because I haven't slept enough for my brain to work. So tell me: Got any tips? How can I sleep?

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