A few months ago, I lost the knack for sleeping.
It wasn’t that I *couldn’t* fall asleep, and it wasn’t that I wasn’t sleeping for long enough, the problem was that the quality of my sleep was poor.
I thought I had tried everything – I went to bed earlier, I stayed in bed later. I stopped taking my ADD meds for while in case they were the problem.
I was doing basically okay but my energy was low and I felt out of sorts. Exercising felt like a HUGE effort.
I thought I should try to change my sleep environment – perhaps I was too warm, too cold, or the room was too light.
Then I remembered how, a few years ago, I had to ditch my light-based alarm clock because as soon as it brightened at all, I immediately woke up fully. There was no gentle awakening, I was asleep and then AWAKE and still tired.
And I thought about how, even though I went to bed fairly early, half the household was going to sleep after I did so there were lights going on and off in the hall as they got ready for bed. And then I considered that, when the sun rose, an unavoidable sliver of light leaked around my curtain and woke me up.
I thought about trying to get them to change which lights they turn on, and maybe buying a darker curtain for my room. That seemed complex and possibly expensive.
That’s when I hit on the solution….a sleep mask!
I even had one already – it came with a pair of pajamas my mother-in-law gave me a few years ago.
In my mind’s eye, I was going to look like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, all sleepy glamour and tassled earplugs. (I can’t actually imagine wearing earplugs to sleep but to each their own)
In reality, of course, I look ridiculous.
More sleeping goofy than sleeping beauty.
Luckily I don’t have to watch myself sleep* – I can just enjoy the process.
And I REALLY enjoy waking up feeling refreshed.
It’s not just that the mask helps me regulate the light level in the room, it has also become a signal that it’s time to sleep. It’s almost like a focusing tool for resting. (I even use when I am taking nap)
Even though it feels faintly ridiculous, this small change has made a HUGE difference in my life.
Totally worth feeling like sleeping goofy.
Have you ever tried a sleep mask? Could you sleep while wearing earplugs? Do you have any other tricks for making your environment more amenable to a good night’s sleep?
PS – Yes, I have also tried melatonin, on the advice of my doctor, and it’s great. That was after the mask solved the problem, though. The melatonin just makes things a bit better again.
PPS – Also, I have been able to start taking my ADD meds again which makes life a lot easier.
*I’d end up awake all night laughing at myself. Even that photo is cracking me up. All glam, all the time, that’s me!