Talkin’ Insomnia Blues, Pt. II


I was up until 4am last night/today. And I woke up around 7:30ish today. If ever there was a slow moving zombie, that would be me today. I think the worst part about not being able to sleep is not necessarily how tired I feel, but how overwhelmed I feel. Little things feel like big things (as in, hello administrative tasks that should have been done a couple weeks ago).

Unfortunately I am not a productive-type insomniac. I am more of a let’s search zillow for Connecticut coastal homes, search through someone’s facebook photographs to see what brand of bike they rode in their 70.3 Ironman (it was a Trek road bike in case you are wondering), look up the price for said bike, search amazon for gluten-free, grain-free brownie mixes, search amazon for grain-free “flours,” and of course, researching the hell out of insomnia-type insomniac. Not to mention I filled out the goal-setting section of my new planner, thought about my work out schedule post half-marathon, determined which local CSA I would like to get my veggies from this summer, researched local farms for local meat, and scanned through Kelly Starrett’s Becoming A Supple Leopard.

I do usually start out embracing the insomnia, but as time goes by, I usually start to get more anxious. Mainly the concern revolves around: how am I going to get things done tomorrow? And it is a fair question. Usually post-insomnia days, I am groggy, grumpy, and if I do not develop a headache, it is a miracle. Mainly it is hard to think. I still get stuff done, but not the best. And mostly the day is spent feeling like I am running to catch up with the sun.

Do you deal with insomnia? Any advice or tips? I’m already on the not drinking coffee, not drinking alcohol, no screens (at least until the insomnia kicks in) before bed train. I take magnesium. I drink tea. I think grateful thoughts. Is there something I’m missing?

xo, Ali



The One-Step Over-Sleeping Plan

daily life

The insomnia blues were playing again this week. Late Sunday night, I gave into the Nyquil because I just wanted to sleep. Even though I slept (yay!), I ended up sleeping in late (boo!), and lo! the plan for Monday’s schedule was abandoned.

I suspect I am not the only person who deals with this, whether it is the insomnia or the oversleeping. Normally I am a 4am morning person, so waking up at 8am sets my teeth on edge, heart-racing, and the mind-spiral a-going. Totally rational, right?

This is a do as I say and a not as I do advice for when your sleep does not go as planned. Catastrophe planning at its finest, this plan aims to end your late-waking worries and fears of failure and thoughts of “I’m sure this never happens to ‘insert prominent scholar here’!” Moreover, it only has one step.

Do your normal morning routine. 

Now I admit, I live a pretty flexible life. There is nowhere I technically have to be, nowhere I absolutely have to show up. It is 11:10am as I write this and I am still rocking polka-dot pajama pants and a neon green marathon t-shirt.

But, what I think is especially important is not starting off the morning in that panic-stricken-I-have-so-much-to-do-I-just-lost-four-hours spiral that doing something normal, even if it is shortened, even if the best you can do is just sit with your coffee for ten minutes. Just do it.

Time is a luxury and sitting there, even if for a bit is a reminder that even if the day is starting late, even if it is not going the way you plan, you have it. As Bruno kept telling me, “You still have all the rest of the day.” Or even in the wise words of Alexandra Franzen, “Today is not over yet.”

I always find that if I do a full-dive into the day, without a little quiet time for myself, nothing I do (even if I do manage not to just write the day off) is done with much focus or even, with much enjoyment. The day feels off. The work feels off. Doing the standard morning routine makes things feel much better, or rather, just normal. Sure, less gets done, but at least I can be sure it gets done well.

xo, Ali



Insomnia Blues

daily life

I usually keep the hours of 9 – 4, that is, sleeping hours. I like going to bed early so I can wake early. But over the past few months my insomnia has increased. I know when I am going to have a hard time sleeping the moment I lie down in bed. I will be tired, ready to sleep, and relieved when the lights go off. And then? Thump, thump, thump. My heart starts racing.

I might start to fall asleep and then, once again thump, thump, THUMP! I am guilty of, at this moment, turning to Nyquil. But even this has proven to be, in the long-term, an ineffective aid. I took a double dose of Nyquil (don’t try this at home kids!) Sunday night and was still up until about one, heart racing. Then, to top it off, I typically have a Nyquil hangover the next day, brain fog, heaviness, a sort of dull lethargy.

The frustrating part of all this is that it is throwing off my consistency. Sunday night I made a schedule for every day this week because I was feeling behind. I wanted to feel in control. I wanted to have a plan. And of course, life laughs right back at me, because instead of waking up at 4, I woke up 4 hours later with a Nyquil-induced brain fog. And sure, I was able to get most things done. I even made a lemon drizzle cake. BUT, I hate that feeling of not being at 100 percent.

Last night I fell asleep fine and then hello 2 a.m.! I laid in bed for an hour and then just gave up, made myself some coffee, and plopped myself on the couch for the morning routine. I will be exhausted later. And then will repeat the cycle probably again tonight.

I also try to do the things. I do not drink coffee after lunch. I take magnesium before bed. For Lent, I have given up alcohol, as penance, but also to see if it helps my sleep and anxiety. But then again, I am also guilty of doing all the wrong things too, mainly in that I love my screen time. The television is in the bedroom. I check my phone (Instagram!) frequently before bed. I am not doing all I could.

Tonight I am going to try to quit looking at my phone after seven. I will try not to fall into the routine of Hulu-n-chill (Happy Endings!) before bed. And hopefully, tonight, I will sleep, because I do not think I can stand another day of this.

xo, Ali