Not to be arrogant, but I am really racking up the accomplishments these days. In addition to my finely-honed skills at not remembering, I am entering Olympic-caliber territory in not sleeping. My new pattern: go to bed at 11 pm, wake up at 1:30 a.m. Do not go back to sleep. Repeat every three or four nights. And yes, I am a lot of fun to be around after two hours of sleep, as the CE can attest.
I have never been to Seattle, but I have been sleepless in a host of other cities. Last night it was Newport Beach, where we are spending a fun weekend visiting stepdaughter Tina and her family. Yesterday was a perfect day and last night should have offered up a perfect sleep. But instead, I was wide awake at 1:38 a.m. First thought: “No worries. Plenty of time to go back to sleep.” And then I proceeded to break all the rules for doing so.
One of the caveats for dealing with 21st century insomnia is to kill the backlight. According to researchers, the “blue light” emitted from smartphones and computer screens, mimics daylight and therefore suppresses the “sleep hormone” melatonin and tinkers with our body clocks. So my decision to reach for my iPhone and play two real-time games of Words With Friends with an apparently equally sleep-challenged friend was probably a bad one. I followed this up with a worse decision: I checked the news headlines.
I don’t count sheep. I count worries. And they are at least as plentiful as little lambs in springtime when the top Twitter trending items are #ebola and #ISIS. Trust me, there are no sleep-inducing scenarios around either topic. By 4 a.m. I was desperately trying deep breathing exercises, which go something like this: “Breathe in slowly…ohmygosh ohmygosh now they’ve got warplanes…breathe out slowly…ebola ebola EBOLA!!!!“.
After another hour of staring into the dark, I picked up my phone again and Googled an article about worry and sleep. The advice in a nutshell: “Let go of your worries.” Oh, okay, sure. “ISIS…ebola…ISIS…ebola…yikes what is this about a Dragon’s Nest? Does that mean there were WMDs after all?” The only saving grace of that very long wakeful night is that it is over. And that my beloved husband (who slept like a baby, by the way) fetched me a latte at 6:15 a.m. when I started crying from sleep deprivation.
Oh, and I learned, FWIW, that there is a company out there that manufactures blue light-blocking lights and eyewear. It is called LowBlueLights.com (clearly no one stayed up all night coming up with that name…) and if you subscribe to their insomnia-inducing theories about the carcinogenic effects of melatonin suppression from blue light, you can buy a filter for your phone or tablet screen, a low blue light reading lamp or a snappy pair of light-filtering orange specs guaranteed to terrify your spouse if he or she awakes in the night and sees you wearing them. I like that idea. Then I won’t be the only one not sleeping.
Off to take a nap…