Confessions of an Insomniac

Deep inhale, deep exhale. Deep inhale, deep exhale. Think of nothing. You have nothing to do, and nowhere to go. Peaceful thoughts. Ocean waves. Rain. Why are they walking around so much upstairs? It sounds like they’re bowling. Pillow over the head, it’s not so bad. Ugh, I’m hot. I can hear my heart beat. You’re forgetting the breathing. Deep inhale, deep exhale. Deep inhale, deep exhale. I wonder if I did that assignment right — I have a feeling I exported the file wrong. It’s due at 9:00 a.m. so I still have time to recheck when I get up. Did I seet my alarm? I have to get up soon. I bet it’s getting late. I wonder what time it is. I’m going to be so tired tomorrow. Just. Fall. Asleep! Oh my god, I’ve been lying here for three hours. Deep inhale, deep exhale. Deep inhale, deep exhale.

For the majority of the past month, these thoughts have become intertwined with my bedtime routine. Like a ghost, they’ve crawled into bed with me, caressed my headspace and haunted something that was once my sanctuary. My bed, a place where tiredness and troubles would once dissolve into the sheets, quickly became a place that would instead manifest, and ignite them like hole of sleep-sucking kerosene.

Being real, I need my sleep.

And through my experience, I realize I think I need it more than most. And I don’t mean it in the sense that I enjoy it more than most or that that I’m lazier than most. I mean it in the sense that it kind of controls me more than most.

Thankfully, I believe I have a strong work ethic and I’m very organized when it comes to my workload and schedule. While other classmates are pulling “all nighters,” I’m in bed, faithfully, at 9:30 p.m. (Okay, I get up at 5:30 a.m. so it’s not that early). I literally work myself to the bone so I can get a solid 7 or 8-hour sleep, and there’s a reason for it. And it’s actually quite a similar reason as to why some people chose to avoid alcohol — the hangovers.

If I get a less-than-adequate sleep, I’ll still function appropriately, I’ll attempt my best smile, and I’ll work the concealer like it’s my job (Because also as a makeup artist, it kind of is). Except I’ll feel worse than if I would have a hangover, only that tossing and turning is hardly as fun as what would provoke one. A cloud of doom will take its place above my head, making my seemingly preventable, flu-like day dark and miserable.

Irritability, inability to concentrate and headaches just don’t seem worth it to me so I schedule in my beauty rest so I feel euphoric instead.

And when it’s stripped from me, I feel like #@*&!.

And because my natural anxiety is heightened with stress, the last part of this term has me feeling like my head is perma-spinning.

And that, precisely, is what’s been happening to me the last few weeks. When you do everything in your power to prevent something, it’s beyond frustrating when you can’t control it.

So, I’m a fixer. I tried a bunch of things, and although I’m not completely cured, it’s been working.

Firstly, I started meditating before bed. If you have a hard time falling asleep, this link is so soothing, and actually so awesome.

And I tried taking things in stride. Since “not sweating the small stuff” doesn’t really work for me, I tried sweating them to a lesser degree. I really tried to adopt a new mantra — one that suggests not everything has to be perfect. I realized that I was spreading myself thin trying to showcase my best work to the point that myself, as a human being, wasn’t working anymore. It’s true, if you don’t take care of yourself, there won’t even be a “you” to do the work. Yes, I have good work ethic, but is that ethic even effective anymore if you are giving 100% effort into every little thing? This week was one of my busiest ones, so I worked hard, but I prioritized. I gave 100% effort given the circumstance, but I didn’t pull my hair out about every little thing. I worried when it mattered, and I worried a little less when it didn’t as much. Sounds pretty straight forward, but it’s still something I’m trying to overcome.

And, I quite coffee. Yup I did.

Since it can take many hours for caffeine’s effects to leave your body, experts (and my very persistent dad) suggest eliminating it altogether if you have trouble sleeping. And pairing anxiety with caffeine can be a recipe for a big ‘ol sleepless night. Cold turkey, green tea took its place. And to be honest, from one coffee addict to (probably) another, it wasn’t even hard. I had a headache the first day, but after that, I felt even more energized after quitting that dark, liquid energy. As a treat, I’ve treated myself to java on the weekends, but weekdays when I have to wake up at the crack of dawn I’m a green tea gal.

And although I probably have a long way to go, I feel like I’ll fall victim to insomnia far less as I keep with my three simple tactics.

Tea, check.

Earplugs, check.

Careless-before-bed-attitude, check (or at least for now).

G’night y’all.

 

XO T

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