Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ISWG: Going to Bed Angsty

Today is IWSG day.Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for organizing this monthly event where writers share about writerly insecurities and other things. My post is up a little later today.

Growing up, I sometimes had trouble falling asleep at night. Part of this was attributed to my asthma and the other part of it had to do with how, sometimes at bedtime, my head would be supersaturated with the following: random thoughts and ideas, what-if questions, stuff I was studying about at school, analyses over both recent and not-so-recent incidents, and hindsight over what I should’ve said or done in an incident, even one that could be quite trivial, but was still keeping me up nonetheless.

And before you ask….no, counting sheep didn’t usually work.

When I got stuck in this cycle, I would try to coax myself to let it go and sleep it off. Sometimes I succeeded. At other times, the later into the night it got, the more irritated I got with my busybody mind for ignoring my physical exhaustion. 

As an adult, I usually sleep much better nowa-nights (a word I just made up). But there are still exceptions.

In the past few weeks, my mind fought sleep during two nights. The trigger for the first miserable night came from the ongoing analysis of a situation, and for the second night, an echoing what-if question. The good news it that before drifting off on both these nights, I made a quiet pact with myself to take action the following day. The results of my “taking action" have been positive.

The bad news is that the hours I wasted mulling over these things took its toll on my body. As I'm typing this post, I feel a cold coming on. 

When was the last time you had trouble sleeping at night? What was going through your head then?


Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Counting sheep - or anything - doesn't really work for me either. I hope you're able to fight off that cold! If not, I hope it doesn't last too long and isn't too bad.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I've had a lot of trouble with sleeping since menopause. Stress and worries seems to be a big trigger for me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sometimes it takes me a while to go to sleep. Usually I can shut off my brain though. I can do that when I'm wide awake as well!
Hope you don't get sick.

Chrys Fey said...

I have trouble sleeping all the time, nearly every night, for a multitude of reasons. If it's my thoughts keeping me awake, it always has to do with all of my responsibilities and writing-related stress.

Pat Hatt said...

My mind can go on and on some nights, takes me an hour or two to fall asleep, so annoying.

Mina Burrows said...

Oh I know exactly how you feel! I go through phases with sleeping. The good news is I'm on an upswing now and all is well. Try writing things down when you can't sleep and see if that helps eliminate the thoughts. :)

Shannon Lawrence said...

I've been an insomniac since I was 12, so last night, LOL! The second I lie down, my brain starts trying to work through my problems. I guess that's what they're supposed to do once we're asleep, so I figure something's broken. I'm glad you resolved the issues that were bothering you, and I hope they continue to work out, and that you get plenty of sleep!

Annalisa Crawford said...

I work Saturday and Sunday mornings once a fortnight, and I usually suffer insomnia on those days - I think I'm so worried I won't hear my alarm, I just don't get to sleep.

I tend to picture myself in a pleasant situation, and allow myself to day-dream until I fall asleep. Recently, I've imagined I'm in one of my favourite cafes having a working lunch with my (currently non-existent) agent.

I hope you sleep better now you've decided to take action. Wrap up warm against your impending cold :-)

randi lee said...

The last time I had trouble sleeping was, well, last night. I've been a horrible sleeper since I was a kid, for many of the same reasons as you. I hope it gets better for you!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

My husband has quite a bit of trouble falling asleep. He now uses his Kindle Fire, Netflix streaming, and familiar TV shows to quiet his brain and fall asleep. He always watches stuff he's seen before many times. It lulls him to sleep. I frequently go to bed and have to close up his Kindle and lay it aside because he's fallen asleep to it.

If he wakes up in the night, he puts the Kindle back on and accepts that he might be awake 30-45 minutes before falling back asleep. He doesn't angst over it. He just accepts this as his cycle.

Sometimes he uses earbuds, but mostly he mutes it and maybe has the closed caption on.

Margo Berendsen said...

I get so frustrated when my mind keeps me up too, and for no good reason! Just analysis to paralysis, or rehashing things that can't be changed, or worrying about a future thing that might not even happen. If I have to be up late thinking, why not with good writing ideas? Brilliant character situations? Twisty plots??? Argggh.

Crystal Collier said...

LOL! It always took me 2 hours to fall asleep for the same reasons, until I had kids. Man! Nothing kicks in your insta-sleep like never being able to get any. Right now in late pregnancy, I'm not sleeping well at all, but I have found comfort occupying my brain with story scenes or if all else fails, by reading a book. The brain winds down until my eyes flop shut, and that's that. =)

Margo Kelly said...

Ah. Last night was the last time I had trouble sleeping ... because like you said above: "my head would be supersaturated with the following: random thoughts and ideas" YUP. I totally relate.

Arlee Bird said...

I usually sleep okay, but not as much as I used to. Sleeping in late is a non-event for me anymore.
My last sleeplessness night was this past Saturday night into Sunday morning. I think I went to bed too early--9:30--then slept for about a half hour and then the rest of the night I was mostly awake thinking about all kinds of random thoughts--mostly concerning blogging, writing, and things I need to do around the house. Hate nights like those! Fortunately they only happen about once or twice a month--almost cyclic.

You make a good point though about how the lack of sleep can affect bodily health.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

John Wiswell said...

Counting sheep never works for me, either! I often have trouble isolating what's keeping me awake. I can be dog tired and still lay awake for hours, with nothing on my mind. And yet I'll often have a big fight with someone and then go to sleep within minutes of hitting bed, despite the saying that things keep you up at night.

Any plotty ideas, though, I'm usually happy to indulge and hop out of bed for a few minutes to type up.

Post a Comment