My cure for insomnia…

Since I was a teenager (at least!) I have had a lot of trouble with insomnia. When I moved back to Edinburgh (almost) 5 years ago, I discovered one of the issues – my body clock for whatever reason is not designed to have long sleeps before Midnight. 

When I was in high school I never got enough sleep due to the early mornings. If I went to bed early I would toss and turn and wake up all night long. I’d usually get to sleep a couple of hours before my alarm would go off. I found it so difficult to get up and most days if I managed to brush my hair before walking out the door to school, that was an accomplishment. If I got a wee bit of make up on, a massive achievement. If I had a shower and washed and dried my hair – award winning. 

Needless to say I was never the perfectly dressed made up teenage girl. And most of my classes found me head on my desk drooling as I failed to stay awake.  

My work in care was horrific. It was quickly established that I don’t function well if I’ve had to get up early. 7.30 a.m. shift start and I was walking into door frames, tripping over coffee tables and falling sideways (asleep) during handover. Even if I stayed awake all day exhausted, I would still not be able to sleep before Midnight to get up at 5.30 a.m. the next morning if I was on another early shift. 

I also quickly discovered that if I tried to go to sleep straight after coming home from work (so I’d get a good night’s sleep before going back in the morning) I would dream wildly. Again I’d wake up over and over. By morning I’d be more exhausted, anxious and feeling like crap.

And that my friends is when I discovered two things.

1. Gymnastics

If you want to know how I became a person that watched gymnastics once every four years to knowing who all the top gymnasts in the world are, NCAAs and all the latest gymnastic news…it’s all because of YouTube. I started watching gymnastics competitions, fluffs and interviews in bed to relax and escape.

And I’m quite happy if it results in dreams of me doing gymnastics. They are fun dreams!

2. American TV series

I do know that watching NCIS, The Mentalist or Without A Trace is not a good idea RIGHT before I go to sleep. Because then I think about it too much. But a bit of Cougar Town or Friends is just what I need. I don’t have to think about it. It’s fun. It’s mindless. Yes, it can be a little trashy, but my brain can switch off. In fact with help from a little sunlight (thank you longer days) and Cougar Town, I’ve been able to get to sleep a little earlier and get up a little earlier too. This morning I managed to make porridge AND do a load of laundry before I went to work. I showered, put make up and everything too. 

3. Stand Up Comedy

Again. Thank you YouTube. I think I need to get some DVDs too though. It’s chilled, and I love it. Though it does result in me having to save up a lot of money when the Edinburgh Fringe Festival rolls around each summer with the amount of comedians on my ‘gotta see’ list!

I realise that online loads of people will say you shouldn’t watch rubbish on TV. We should be reading books etc. Well, I do agree. But I also disagree. I need to be able to switch my brain OFF before I go to sleep. Not do something that gets my brain whirring with more thoughts. I love to read books during the day when I have time off. I love to spend evenings doing things like helping with Girl Guides, having dinner with friends, going to housegroup, going to the gym with friends. Or writing on my blog like I am just now. :)

So I hope you won’t judge my mindless TV viewing too much. 

Anyway, gymnastics rocks. It’s inspiring. I would probably eat tons more junk and not bother going to the gym at all if it wasn’t watching those athletes put the entire world to shame!!

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