What2DoWhen You Can’t Sleep

Ever have the problem?

You tumble into bed exhausted. You wake up three hours later wide awake and busy-tail?

Going back to sleep is impossible?

You try counting sheep? It doesn’t work. You try to still your mind?

That doesn’t work. You turn on your meditation tapes. Those don’t work.

You try soft music. Classical Music. Reading a dull book.

Counting to 100 backwards.

99 bottles of beer on the wall. 99 bottles of beer. If one of those bottles happen to fall,

98 bottles of beer on the wall.

Nothing seems to work.

Is it work? Is it the boss? Is it the kids?

Husband? Family? Bills?

We can list a 1,000 reasons why you’re still up, but none of them will fit the bill.

Back in the Day

My husband told me that he had insomnia from the day he started high school until

the first day he started working. That’s a long time in teen years. He must’ve had stayed

awake for more than a decade.

Yes, that’s right. He was in college for four years for Bachelors & Master’s. Then he stayed

another several years for his PhD. Then he had to teach as an assistant to the Professor.

All that time he stayed awake for 24-hour period at a time.

I often wondered how he did that. Completing his college degree and not sleeping at night.

How could he handled all that stress?

Well, it seems that I have caught his ‘not sleeping’ problem. It sneaks up on me gradually.

First it was only one to two nights a month. Now, it’s a regular thing.

I really can’t put my finger on it why suddenly I can’t sleep through the whole night.

You would think that from all the cumulative sleep I don’t get that I be so tired that I would sleep

the night away.

It doesn’t work that way. I’m not sure why. But my lack of sleep surprises me no end.

During the day I keep my eyes open my drinking decaf coffee.

What? You think I drink regular coffee? Think again, cowboys and cowgirls.

I can’t drink the regular stuff. Too much caffeine.

I digress.

I drink 4 cups of coffee a day, mug size. Not the really giant mugs you see on tv where they block

out the entire face. Regular size mug size.

At night I rub that sleeping cream into my nerve endings to help me sleep.

It doesn’t work all the time.

I don’t like pills. Opioid crisis and all that.

What2doWhen you can’t sleep.

I work.

I try relaxing work. You know the type that doesn’t require much brain power at night.

That doesn’t help because I get involved with my work. When I next look up at the clock,

it’s two hours later. Why can’t that happen when I lie in bed with eyes closed?

Why can’t the time pass that quickly?

It’s agonizing to lie there checking the clock to see that time drags its feet the entire

hour I’m trying to kill. It’s enough to make a grown woman cry.

What do I suggest? Personally?

I’ve tried hot showers. They don’t work. I just get cleaner than I was before.

I’ve tried hot brews. Hot cocoa is wonderful, but then I have to brush my teeth again.

Counting sheep. I get lost among the fold.

Counting sugar-plums makes me hungry.

I get up and start working on the computer. What my spouse calls my two days of work wrapped up

into one. I find that I’m no more awake than when I’m counting sheep in bed, and lots more


Does it make my mind work any harder than normal?

Don’t think so.

I also drink ginger ale. It has a calming effect on me and my brain. Please don’t ask me to explain

why because I don’t understand the chemistry well enough to share it with you.

Another favorite is to curl up on the couch under the electric blanket (couch-size) and listen to the train

whistles in the night. Somehow, that’s comforting.

Another trick is for me to take a heating pad, turn it on, and place it around my shoulders. It relaxes me

and makes me feel warm inside. I don’t do it too often because you can get dependent on that type of


I do try to turn off my mind. Instead of telling myself stories before I go to sleep, I let my mind go

slack, not blank. Blank means I have to start from ground zero.

Slack means that I have to rev up the motors in the morning, but I don’t lose any sleep over it.

I’m not starting from scratch.

Also, I try to take a quick nap (30 minutes tops) the same day. Cuz the next day is already here.

You’ve kept awake the whole night.

Pay attention.

I also don’t drive the next day because my alert system isn’t all that refreshed.

Moral to the story

Try and sleep the whole night instead of waking during the night.

If your spouse is a restless sleeper, get them to speak to their doctor. It may be something physical or an illness.

Or, if that avenue doesn’t pan out, sleep on the couch or the guest in the spare room.

Do try to relax thirty minutes before going to bed. No stimulation! Cell phones. Television. Radio. Tablets.

Arguments with spouse or kids or family in general.

No horror movies please. I’m still trying to get over Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds!”

Try and alter your routine. That might help.

If none of the above work, exercise.

It might help you get back on track.

Until next time… .


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  • by
    Posted November 23, 2019

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