Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Contest Fever

Don’t forget my contest! Information is here. Enter once a day until Sunday at midnight. And share with your friends!
Anyway, what I want to talk about today is the importance of a good night’s sleep. For me, it’s vital. Right now, I feel all bleh because I had a couple of bouts of insomnia lately, and it’s not helping with my writing. My brain doesn’t want to be creative, form an idea, run with it until it becomes a story. It doesn’t want to find all the uses of “was” and “that.” It wants to stare at the TV because I didn’t fall asleep until after one a.m. and woke up at six, tired but for some reason unable to slip back below the surface.

Falling asleep has never been easy for me. Well, maybe it was when I was very little, but I can remember being ten, awake, wondering why I’m tired, I want to sleep, and yet I can’t.

Sorry, I just fuzzed out for a little while. Anyway, I can’t pinpoint an exact cause for this terrible affliction. When I was young, I shared a room with my sister and she certainly wasn't any help. Think loud, screaming conversations with her boyfriend. And then in the morning, loud, screaming music as she got ready for school, which started over an hour before mine.

Hm. Making a little more sense now. But even after I got my own room (thank God), I could not fall asleep. It was nice and quiet, but I would crawl into bed at nine and not sleep until after midnight, on a good night. There were times when I was up until two, three, four a.m. and then had to get up to go to school at six twenty. And I can’t even say that was infrequent.

I tried everything: meditation, concentrating on nothing, counting backwards from one hundred visualizing gold letters on black backgrounds. All came with the same result, i.e. bupkis. I wanted to sleep more, but until a doctor actually gave me medication, I just figured I was someone who didn’t fall asleep within twenty minutes of lying down, like how some people can’t process milk. Sure, I wanted to sleep, but I assumed I was destined to a life of feeling slow and dull, like I do right now. One thing, though: it does make me appreciate the fact that my nights are now pretty much all good.

Here’s hoping that tomorrow, I can sit down here and do something. Without it, I cant do anything properly. It makes me miserable. What is it about sleep, especially dreaming, that is so vital for the brain? Its known that the day with the lowest rate of heart attacks and car accidents is the day after daylight savings time ends, and the day with the highest is the one where it begins! That extra hour stolen from springtime really helps. 

What about you guys? How important is sleep? And can you be creative without it? I’m curious to know.


  1. Sleep is critical, of course. And this is coming from personal experience, but it's possible to get the amount of physical rest your body needs, but not feel mentally rested.

    I've been dealing with a lot of issues in the last few months, and it's had that effect of making it hard to feel properly rested.

  2. I can't function without sleep...all nighters never worked for me.

  3. I used to have the same problem. I would lie awake for hours, unable to fall asleep.

    Luckily, I found something that helped me, and I no longer have that problem (after 20+ years of not being able to fall asleep). (Email me if you want more info. I'm not going to turn this comment into a spam-fo-mertial.)

    There was a great documentary on sleep on TLC or Discovery or some channel like that. Sleep is vital to our health. I know if I'm overly tired, I end up getting sick.

  4. I have no trouble sleeping whatsoever. My brain is so fried after a typical day that I usually fall asleep minutes after I hit the sheets. So I cant relate, but I do sympathize. :(

  5. Sometimes I have to lose some sleep to write, just because that is when my ideas hit the most.

  6. Awful, isn't it? And strangely enough, I get the best ideas from dreams that happen after I've woken up really early, tossed and turned for a few hours, and then finally fell asleep.

    Here's hoping tonight is better.

  7. My husband has been that way for years too. We tried everything, listening to relaxing music at night, subliminal cds, stretching, you name it nothing worked consistently. He finally stumbled across something that works: he listens to the online version of the Economist (a British world news magazine-he's loves finance stuff) and it puts him right to sleep for the whole night. Sounds weird I know, but keep trying, you'll find something that relaxes your brain.

  8. I definitely struggle with insomnia, but I have to be laying down for the insomnia if I want to be any use at all the next day. All-nighters are (mostly) out. (I say "mostly" because I did it once, last week, to finish a paper, and I didn't die.)

    But, my body gives me such conflicting feedback that I don't really know whether I can be creative without it, although I do know it's a "no" when the insomnia lasts longer than a few days.


Please validate me.