Tuesday, December 23, 2014

All I want for Christmas is SLEEP.

Hello, my name is Catherine, and I'm an insomniac. I was born this way - I can remember endless hours tossing and turning in my bed as a child, waking in the night, unable to fall asleep again, the whole insomnia catalog of issues.

I have a brain that never shuts up. This is not because it's full of anxiety and dwelling on problems, or because it's so brilliantly creative and constantly churning out fabulous brilliant ideas. My brain just runs like a hamster on meth, 24-7. It makes grocery lists, considers what to do about the balcony floor, (tile, concrete paint, or new carpet?) and when it would be ideal to get a new Subaru, or is that silly because my nearly 9 year old car is just fine, all at THREE FUCKING A.M.! I mentally re-organize the files in the land department and work on spreadsheets in my sleep - if it's incredibly boring and repetitive, my brain will seize on it and start working on it in my sleep, until it wakes me up. My conscious mind doesn't do this! When I'm awake, I calmly work my way through the things I need to address. When I fall asleep, my subconscious launches a free-for-all. It's annoying.

For years I've been searching for effective ways to help myself sleep better, without resorting to prescription medication (because I'm not comfortable with the idea of taking medication that would make it hard to wake up if I had to in an emergency). Of course, what I really need is a way to quiet the hamster on meth that lives between my ears.

What about meditation? Tried it, couldn't sit still for three minutes, let alone 20, and how does one focus on the breath when there's lists to be made and stuff? I've tried and failed many times, but I've always, always wanted to master meditation.

A few weeks, maybe a month ago, I stumbled across a link to Headspace. There's a free 10 day trial, so I figured what the hell? And I tried it. I have no idea why, but this time, I am able to actually sit and focus and...meditate! This works for me! And it really, really is helping me in so many ways, I signed up for the membership. The hamster on meth is responding to this, I'm feeling calmer and happier 24/7.

Great, right? I am doing this every day, consistently, right? Um, no. I somehow manage to get busy, get off schedule, skip days, etc. So here comes another item on my 2015 checklist: I am going to meditate once every day, just for 15 minutes, in the month of January (and beyond, of course, but they say it takes 30 days to build a habit). And you, my small but loyal band of people with time to kill who read this wee little blog in the wilderness, can have a stake in this. Headspace does a sort of a scholarship; if I meditate every day for 30 days, I will get a free month of the paid site to give away, if there are any takers. But first I have to hit that 30 days without skipping a day goal. I will do it, because I want meditation to be a habit; I'm already feeling the effects.


besshaile said...

Me me me

so me

only - I don't want to wait 30 days so I am going to examine the site and then maybe I will pop for the join too. When I do meditate every day I do so much better the other 23.75 hours of the day. Thank you for the pointing arrow - you have given me so many good tips over the years. You are my guru.


ellen kirkendall said...

Never too late to try something new! My brain does that too, but seldom enough that it does not drive me completely mad.

KatyaR said...

I have music that plays in my head from the time I wake up in the morning till I fall asleep at night. It's like my own personal radio station. Falling asleep can be tough some nights because of that. I have some non-tonal meditation "music" that I play when I go to bed, it helps. As long as there's no melody, I'm good.

I tried Headspace--loved it, but the subscription costs are really high. Maybe someday....

Karen said...

Interesting! I think I'm going to sign up for the 10 day trial and see if it helps. I can usually fall asleep fairly easily, but boy do I keep busy in my dreams! I'd like to not be waking up so tired!

Catherine said...

KatyaR - Really high? It works out to $7.99 a month, it was cheaper than one bottle of the cheapest of the cheap wine worthy of self-medication in the hope of getting some sleep - and believe me, I don't buy one bottle of wine a month. It IS billed as a lump sum, which gave me pause too, but when I did the math I decided it was worth it. It's working!