I am taking Jeff Goins’ Writing Challenge: 500 words a day for the next 31 days. It is already late and I haven’t had time to write today. It’s past my bedtime and all I want to do is fall into bed and catch up on some of the sleep I’ve missed this past week.
It’s been a hard week sleep-wise. Three (or more) out of seven nights, I have come awake at least once, and even up to four times, before dawn. Some may fail to see what the problem is because they probably would just go right back to sleep. But sleep rarely comes that easily for me, unless I’m super exhausted.
Falling asleep is a process in my world. I get into bed and have to acclimatize myself to my surroundings, especially the sounds. I can’t sleep to loud, repetitive, or strange-to-me sounds. I can’t sleep to music. It must be relatively quiet for me to fall asleep. I can’t sleep if my feet are cold or hot, or if my back is cold. I can fall asleep to crickets chirping, to oceansong.
The ocean is, arguably, my favorite part of nature. There’s something about the sea that centers me. When I can’t sleep due to strange or loud sounds, I turn on my sleep app and cue up the gentle ebb and flow of ocean waves. The sound of the sea always lull me to sleep.
So I’m hoping to make up for several nights of lost sleep tonight because I hate feeling exhausted on a Monday morning. It cramps my style and makes the week drag. I’d have to take caffeine to stay awake, and that would launch another cycle of sleeplessness for the week. I hardly ever drink caffeine, so when I do, it takes a really long time to leave my system. I never have it after the noon hour because I love my sleep, but sometimes even that early morning cup of coffee is still making its way through my bloodstream by bedtime. Ugh.
Speaking of love of sleep—mine goes back to my final semester in high school when I got only 4 hours of sleep on any given weeknight. We were racing against time to finish the senior year syllabi for several subjects before our final, comprehensive exams. Between homework and studying to retain every single thing I’d learned in high school, there really wasn’t much time for sleep.
Once the comprehensive exams were over and high school was done forever, I was ecstatic. Sleep and vegging out were the only things on my agenda. Every. Single. Day.
And that’s when the excruciating cluster headaches began. The doctor said it was post-traumatic stress from running on insufficient sleep for three months. I promised myself then that I would never again skimp on sleep. Nothing in life is that important. It can all wait.