Trouble Sleeping?

On March 19, 2012, I offered some counsel for those with trouble sleeping.  Like me.  There are three types of insomnia:  transient (occasional); acute (short duration); and chronic (long duration).   I fall asleep easily – and quickly – but there are times when I will wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.  thinking, worrying, solving, praying, innovating. . . .  I’m familiar with the usual RX’s for getting to or back to sleep.  However in that post I shared three further remedies that work for me that I’ve never read about:   

1.  Clenching hands — When I wake up in the middle of the night, I sometimes find that my hands are clenched.  I simply unclench and lay them flat.  I suddenly feel relaxed;

2.  Deep breathing —   Just contemplating each – deep – breath; and

3.  A pad of paper — I often wake up thinking about what needs to be done.  So I have a pad of paper by the bed to jot things down.   

On January 3, 2016, I observed that watching phosphenes – the light show that we all “see” in darkness – can help us sleep.  Recently I note another phenomenon that keeps me awake.  When I am laying there – thinking of work, handyman projects, cooking, writing this blog, etc. – I sense that my eyes – while closed – are squinting.   It’s like my face is tightened as one is in deep contemplation.  So, I’ve been relaxing my shoulders and letting my jaw drop a bit to relax my face.  I think of it as adopting a “lazy face” (see March 13, 2014).  And then of course there’s the “bent ear” phenomenon when I find myself laying on my pillow with my ear doubled over. . . . . .   

What keeps you awake at Night?

In my posts of March 19, 2012, and March 23, 2014, I talked about the RH’s remedies for falling (back) to sleep. The one point that I overlooked – and did not discuss – is the issue of “thinking.” What do you think about that keeps you awake at night?

I like most readers will wake up at night and think.  And worry.  I think about work.  What I have to do.  I think about and worry about family.  I think of aches.  Pains.  Problems.  Of family.  Friends.  Me.  I keep a pad of paper by the bed so that if I wake up thinking O’m’gosh – I forgot to . . . . . . .  I can lean over and write it down.  Of course in the morning, I look at what I wrote at 3:00 a.m. and it reads something like “xpoWm snork xipsdf glub greschhleb.”   What the %&*@x! was I trying to remember?

There’s something else that keeps me awake at night.  Maybe it’s just me.  It’s whether I am living up to my potential as a person.  Accomplishing the most I can with my time.  And talent(s).  Doing things that matter.  Being the best father.  Grandfather.  Husband.  Friend.  Attorney.  It’s not a “bucket list” (I really do not like that term as for many it applies to travel and “experience” rather than achievement).  

In the 7th game of the 2006 National League Championship Series,  no one will forget – that Carlos Beltran of the Mets stood there and took a called third strike with the bases loaded and two out.  And the Cards won the Pennant.  When things are drawing to a close, I don’t want to be accused of standing there.  Taking a called third strike.  Having regret about not trying to hit a home run or even a bunt single. Maybe it’s just me.       

The Lazy Face

In my post of March 19, 2012 (“Trouble Sleeping?”), I talked about how I deal with the issue of trying to fall back to sleep in the middle of the night.  The one big thing for me (apart from “ABC” – see 2/6/14) is the “clenched hands” issue.  When I open and relax my hands, the rest of me starts to relax.  

But recently I’ve noticed another phenomenon that also keeps me awake.  When I am laying there – thinking of work, handyman projects (like us non-handymen do), cooking, writing this blog, etc. I come to the conclusion that my eyes – while closed – are squinting.   It’s almost like my face is screwed up when one is in deep contemplation.  So, I’ve been relaxing my shoulders and letting my jaw drop a bit to relax my face.  I think of it as adopting a “lazy face.”  And you know what?   It seems to work.  In combination with the 337 other things I do to relax while wide-awake at night, I’ve now added the “lazy face.”  And then of course there’s the “bent ear” phenomenon when I find myself laying on my pillow with my ear doubled over. . . . . .   

Trouble Sleeping?

There appear to be three types of insomnia:  transient (occasional); acute (short duration); and chronic (long duration).  All result in sleep deprivation which can (after longer duration) have serious health consequences.   I fall asleep easily – and quickly – but there are times when I will wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.  thinking about this or that.  I’m familiar with the usual RX’s for getting to or back to sleep:  a cool room; no meal immediatly before bedtime; easy on the alcohol; no caffeine; no chocolate; a glass of warm milk; no afternoon naps; keep regular sleep hours; exercise but not before going to bed; read something boring – or soothing – before turning out the lights; and so on. 

However I have three further remedies that work for me that I’ve never read about.  They are:

1.  Clenching hands — When I wake up in the middle of the night, I sometimes find that my hands are clenched.  I simply unclench and lay them flat.  I suddenly feel relaxed;

2.  Deep breathing — I will breathe in through my nose, hold the breath and then exhale.  Slowly.  Deeply.   Through my mouth.  I get exhausted doing it.  After 7 or 8 times, it’s pretty much back to dreamland; and

3.  A pad of paper — I will often wake up thinking (you wonder – what could this man possibly be thinking?).  So I have a pad of paper by the bed.   And a flashlight.  I jot down whatever random drivle  comes into my small brain and I can then forget it.   zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. . . . .

And if these remedies don’t work, call me and I will start singing “Oh Shenedoah” (see post of August 14, 2011) .  That should do the trick. . . . .