Many people have insomnia these days.
Some people have bona fide clinical insomnia; the kind with no apparent cause.
I believe most people have insomnia due to their own behaviors.
I know because I’m one of them.
Granted, mental health issues and medications can cause insomnia, but people’s routines and lack of discipline feed the problem. Again, personal experience.
We know that phone screens emit light which activates your brain. It’s not just the light – the intellectual stimulation contributes. Reading news, reading an exciting novel instead of a boring one, etc.
We all know caffeine is a big culprit. But caffeine is so damn good that – at least in my case – I sometimes take the bait anyway during the afternoon. Sometimes I can get away with it, other times I pay the price.
It depends on what you’re accustomed to. I can handle regular old coffee as late as 2 or 3 in the afternoon most days.
However. When I have my occasional sugar-free Red Bull or Rock Star, I have to be careful.
That shit really is like crack in a can.
We’re talking about organic caffeine versus synthetic caffeine. I don’t know about you – but I feel that difference. Synthetic caffeine hits my body much differently and kicks in faster. I won’t go near a caffeine pill. Caffeine pills feel like a heart attack.
And with energy drinks – I’m sure the cocktail of b vitamins and whatever else contribute as well.
I wanted to work out today. For the first time since last summer. Bam – grab that orange Rock Star Recovery. Delicious. I made it through the workout.
I get home and I’m all over the place. Here comes the Squirrel Spirit. I tried playing classical exercises on my guitar. My focus was shit. I’m more obsessed with writing lately. All I could think about was crawling on here to write.
Finally, I abandoned the exercises and just started noodling. I played moonlight-sounding suspended chord things, and slowly the focus came around.
I still feel like a wire with current running through it. Half inspired, half squirrel.
Some of this may be The Train. It was coming anyway. Last weekend I sat at the old dilapidated train station, staring at the wall, writing about my deep blues. Making mild comedy about suicidal ideation. 72 hours later, here comes the Train.
Last weekend I couldn’t deal with any music but icy Radiohead, but tonight I looked over at my speakers and felt the height of creativity; arrows in the sky, falling ribbons, soaring U2-sounding guitar effects and I feel connected.
Look into those speakers, peer past the orbs into the cones, down into the wire and there’s your door to the universe.
But not always. Only on special nights.
Shit, this post was supposed to be a concise guide about good sleeping hygiene. Let’s get back to that.
So, we know we shouldn’t stare at screens. We know we shouldn’t have afternoon caffeine. We know we shouldn’t exercise too late or work on a stimulating project. We all know a wind-down routine is good. Old fashioned books or the Kindle Paperwhite.
But for me – something else works like a charm. I’ve talked about her before, but I want to talk about her again.
Jody Whitely. Right Here.
Due to the Rock Star drink, she may not help me tonight. But she helps me on most nights. I’m hoping I can introduce her to someone here with behavior-based insomnia who isn’t aware of this fantastic sleep resource.
Last night I was on the Lexapro, a medication that causes sleep difficulty. I felt all zippy when it was time to go to bed.
I finished one novel, then started reading The AA Big Book. If I wanted to, I could have read the whole book all night long.
Instead I put on Jody Whitely.
I played one of her 2-hour sessions designed for Depression and Anxiety.
I hit fast forward to the second hour – I wanted to get into the Good Shit right away. The first half is just depression affirmations.
Some imagery works better for me. I was after the floating leaf. Halfway through.
She talks about a leaf swirling down on a pond. Swwwirrrrllling down.
I rarely get to the end. I’m asleep within a half hour.
I’ve heard some people say sleep hypnosis doesn’t work for them. I’m astonished. I believe them – it’s just hard for me to believe because it works so well for me. Apparently, I’m quite sensitive to suggestion.
Shit, a trained hypnotist could probably get my ass on a stage and make me bark like a dog in front of people.
If someone is reading this who has never tried sleep hypnosis, I’d recommend it. Jody Whitely is The Queen. And she’s such a Good Soul.
Her life story (available on her website) is fascinating in and of itself. I admire her for discovering her true role in life and becoming successful in middle age.
If you’ve tried sleep hypnosis and believe it doesn’t work for you – perhaps give it another try and find a voice that works.
They’re like therapists. You gotta find the fit. And there’s plenty of them on YouTube. Maybe you need a male voice. Maybe you need a different female voice. Etc.
Sleep well and be well.
People are welcome to comment. I never say that because it’s usually such a put-on for blog engagement. But, well, I wouldn’t mind having some engagement one of these days.
Ha! I’ll practice that pitch and perhaps be less passive aggressive next time.
I usually read the comment sections on articles, blogs, etc. So, I do like hearing from people. Maybe you have some sleep tip that works, and we should all hear about it.