Sleep, The Final Frontier

Clearly this baby isn’t me. For one, it’s sleeping.
Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash

The other day my mom shared a story with me. When I was a baby they needed to have me sleep in a different place for the night. I was just old enough to climb up and peek out of the crib, which, while adorable, can quickly turn into a parent’s nightmare when several hours pass and baby still refuses to lay down and asleep. Apparently I didn’t sleep the entire night and stood peeking out of the crib waiting to be rescued.

Knowing my tendencies, that doesn’t surprise me one bit. Growing up, I was the kid who was always the last to fall asleep at sleepovers, if I slept at all. I never could sleep well when camping, and the first night in a hotel anywhere meant a night of tossing and turning.

Everyone agrees that sleep is important. A bad night’s sleep can wreck an entire day. It cuts back productivity, drains energy, and makes us less able to cope well with stressful situations.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

As an adult, and especially as a parent, I’ve hit new exciting milestones of being tired that I’d never imagined. One day, when it had been several weeks since I’d had a decent nights sleep due to not one, not two, but three kids taking turns keeping me awake at night, I forgot how stoplights worked and who’s turn it was. I had no clue which way I needed to look to make sure I wouldn’t be plowed into.

That marked a turning point in my adult life to start learning how to get better sleep. I studied every article I could get my hands on to learn about scheduling, meditation, exercise, vitamins and supplements. I became more proactive about my kids sleep schedules and my expectations for them to stay in bed. I took back my night.

Most nights at least are okay these days.

It’s turned into a delicate balancing act. If I haven’t had my walk that day. or if it’s fall or winter and I haven’t used my happy light enough, or if I’ve forgotten to take my vitamins, or if I’ve got a lot on my mind or an unresolved problem, those bad nights still come, but much further apart than they used to.

My attitude about having a bad night has changed as well. Now it means I can go down to my office and spend a few hours working at my computer or reading in the silence of a sleeping house. Sometimes I catch up on YouTube videos.

I wouldn’t wish poor sleep on anyone. It’s disruptive, it means I’m tired during the day, and sometimes it makes me angry. But, had it not been for insomnia, I wouldn’t have turned into a voracious reader as a kid. When you’re too tired to cause havoc around the house, reading is a great alternative.

I’d even go as far as saying that if I didn’t have insomnia, I wouldn’t be a writer today.

If you find yourself struggling with sleep, I totally understand. There’s no easy solution and I wish there was. But, there are things that can help and it’s worth it to learn about your specific needs then make steps to work toward better sleep.

How do you feel about sleep? Do you sleep easily, or do you struggle? Let’s talk about it in the comments.


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2 thoughts on “Sleep, The Final Frontier

  1. I never thought I had a sleeping disorder, but my kids often tell me otherwise. I know I stay up late, but the problem seems to be too much to do rather than a sleeping problem. Besides, I enjoy working without interruption, so I keep at it until I can’t stay awake any longer. Normally, I’m asleep seconds after my head hits the pillow and I use to stay that way until the morning alarm went off. Consequently, I never considered that staying up until the wee hours of the morning could be a sleeping disorder. However, the past year has been different. I still stay up too late, but not as late as I use to. I don’t sleep through the night anymore, which means I can’t stay awake as late. My stress level is through the roof and I don’t like the person I’ve become. I’ll blame it on lack of sleep. Your post reminded me of what I’m missing, regular exercise, writing and vitamins. All three things have been on the decline. I will do better starting now. I just spent 2 nights in the hospital with Mark and have a new appreciation for my own bed. I should enjoy it for more hours each night. My bedroom is a lot more peaceful than the beeping sounds and hourly nurse interruptions of a hospital room. Hopefully feeling and expressing gratitude is another antidote for insomnia. I’m going to start writing a few things nightly about what I appreciated in that day. I think setting a bedtime alarm which allows time to unwind in my peaceful bedroom might help too. It can’t hurt, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just got back from a family vacation, talk about missing out on sleep! With the kiddos on a school schedule, it tends to keep me on a schedule as well. That, and I can really tell if I’ve had a bad night – like tonight. Slept in too long this morning… It makes a huge difference in my day. Here’s to better night’s sleep for everyone!

      Like

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