Sleeping Goofy

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.

Nothing worked.

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)

Actress Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. She is a slender, brown-haired woman and she looking out around her apartment door. Only her head and one shoulder can be seen, she is wearing a light blue sleep mask pushed up on her forehead and there is a tassel visible, dangling from her right ear.
Audrey and I have very little in common, apparently. 😉

In reality, of course, I look ridiculous.  

More sleeping goofy than sleeping beauty.

The author, a white woman in her 40s with chin-length brown hair, is wearing pink and white pyjamas and  a white sleep mask that has black stars on it. She is smirking. The background of the photo is green.
See what I mean? Totally foolish. PS – My pajamas read ‘waking up is hard to do’ – ha!

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!

21 thoughts on “Sleeping Goofy

  1. What a great solution- I used one when I worked 3rd shift and had to be in bed by 5pm. I also use a fan- more so for the repetitive noise vs the breeze.

  2. What a great solution — so glad you found it. I used to use a sleep mask all the time because my partner used to wake up and read in the middle of the night, or text, or watch videos! But I’ve gotten away from it. Yesterday on the 6:30 a.m. train I was trying for a nap and the light was too bright. I was using my coat as a blanket and noticed the hood. I thought, “hey, maybe if I put the hood over my face!” It was perfect. I could still breath well enough and I was plunged into total darkness. 90 (!!) minutes later I awoke from the best sleep I have ever had on a train. Maybe I will go back to the sleep mask too. I just so happened to throw one into my toiletries bag when I was packing for the weekend. Mine says “rebooting.” Sweet dreams and thanks for the great post. FWIW I like your mask and the way you look in it and love that your PJs say “waking up is hard to do.”

    1. I’m really happy on your behalf about that nap.

      I am strongly pro-nap, some friends and I joke that we can’t compete in the nap Olympics because we’ve gone pro.

      I hope the sleeping mask also works for you 🙂

      And thanks for the vote of confidence on my mask, my PJs and on me. 💚

  3. Nice read Christine! I too have lost my sleeping superpower recently. 😕 I use an eye mask mostly in the mornings if I wake too early but maybe I will try going to sleep with it on so I don’t wake early. I have one that is black and like those built-in-boob tshirt bras so it sits comfortably off your eyes – I love it! Happy sleeping!

  4. I wear cochlear implants. Without them I can’t hear a thing. Sometimes I lay awake wondering why I can’t fall asleep and then realize I didn’t take them off. I also like some adjustment time in the morning before putting them back on.

    I’m also have a read to fall asleep habit lately. I read on my phone with the screen set to black with white text. If the book isn’t exciting it works instantly. Eventually I’ll have to read a bit during the day to get past a slow section.

    1. Oh, I didn’t know you had to take out cochlear implants at night. It makes sense that you would have trouble falling asleep if you are used to not being surrounded by noise while you sleep (I hope I am not being insensitive, I don’t have the vocabulary I need to discuss issues surrounding hearing.)

      An adjustment period in the morning makes a lot of sense, I think I would need the same.

      I like your reading-to-sleep technique. I can’t read on my phone in bed, I don’t have enough willpower at that time of day to stay off Facebook! I’m glad it works for you 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      1. The cochlear implants processors are about the same size as hearing aids do not very comfortable to lay on.

        I have a parental controls app on my phone that deletes the Facebook app every night from bed time until morning. Pretty severe solution but it’s worked well 😁
        I wanted to be able to use my phone to read or for work but kick myself off certain apps.

  5. When I was having serious menopause-induced sleeping problems, I decided to throw everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink at it: HRT meds, chill the bedroom down, fan for white noise, make room very dark, AND use a sleep mask. It tends to work, but sometimes too well– if I don’t set an alarm, I’ll sleep for a loooong time. I am using it these days, and like the message it’s sending that another commenter (or you?) wrote, as if it’s saying “time to go to sleep”.

    Question: does your sleep mask sometimes make your face a bit hot? Mine sometimes does. But overall, it’s a big win. Thumbs up for goofy sleeping. How could Audrey Hepburn and you be wrong?

    1. I’m glad to hear that your heavy artillery approach worked, even if it worked a little too well.

      Having that ‘time to sleep’ signal is a huge thing for me. I think that, because ADD makes time such twisty thing for me, having anything that sends a strong time signal is very powerful.

      My mask isn’t very tight so I haven’t found it hot (so far, at least). I wonder though if it extended a bit further down my nose would it be overwarm? Anything that feels like it angles my breath back toward me always makes me feel sweaty.

      Well now! I had only thought about how different AH and I were but obviously we were both brilliant on this point! Ha ha!

  6. Friendly reminder to all to talk to your doctor about getting screened for sleep apnea if you are having low quality sleep.

    1. Mine comes off sometimes and I have to put it back on – I think my main disruptions were in the early part of the night anyway.

      I have gotten it to stay on longer by putting the elastic under my hair instead of on top of it.

      And perhaps the one Tracy suggested above might be helpful?

      Good luck!

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