We all have sleepless nights from time to time, often times due to something burning in our mind, throbbing like an infected sore. And then there are the times when sleep is just unobtainable for no good reason at all. You wake up way too early and, well, you're awake...and it's the middle of the night. Not midnight, not even one in the morning, but that dismal, quiet time of night when drunks are swerving home from the bar and the TV is a flourish of infomercials.
I had a sleepless night the other night. Went to bed at ten thirty, which is a little early for me, and woke up two hours later. I tried to sleep, glancing at the clock, drinking water because it was hot in the house, using the bathroom because I drank too much water, looking at the clock, tossing and turning, and looking at the clock some more. Soon it was three AM and I wasn't the least bit tired. "But I have to get some sleep before work," I told myself, and I realized then and there that the Sandman had skipped my house that night.
So I turned on the television, pulled out my laptop, and wrote a thousand words on my latest work-in-progress. I wrote for an hour, glancing at the Olympics on TV here and there, and still I wasn't tired. I went to bed around four-thirty, woke up at seven, and I felt great all day. I think I know why.
This isn't scientific, it's just a theory I came up with. I've long heard that when you can't sleep, get up and be productive. Do something. Read a book, watch a movie, gaze at the stars--something. Lying there staring at the clock and worrying about getting the proper sleep will wear you out. I think it's stressful to toss and turn, and I think it's that stress that causes one to feel like shit during the day after a sleepless night. I always feel terrible when I lay in bed staring at the clock and stressing myself out about work and sleep, sleep and work. Get the fact that you can't sleep off your mind, and perhaps you'll be able to go to sleep. Works for me.
Insomnia, on the other hand, is a completely different monster.
May you sleep well.