Julie Julie


Julie has struggled with insomnia for over 20 years, and her lifestyle, working as a teacher and owner of a German pretzel bakery, has made it challenging for her to focus on sleep.


3 A.M. Memos

This week, I had the opportunity to talk again with sleep expert, Natalie Dautovich. After my initial conversation with her, I tried some new advice. First, I started to compartmentalize my life a bit more. I’ve started to shut down my electronics at a reasonable hour, maybe eight o’clock or so, and then wind down with some relaxing activities. In the past, I’ve been still working in the middle of the night, even when I don’t have to. Obviously, when I have a baking job to do, I’ll be in the kitchen late at night. But that’s not every night! It seems like on my off nights, I’m not actually going to bed. I keep working and working. Sometimes it’s related to work, sometimes it’s just catching up with old friends via email. I think it’s led to some misunderstandings, at times. For example, when I can’t sleep, I tend to think and over-think matters. It’s not unusual for me to craft unusually long emails to my friends. I think it’s actually become a burden to a few of my friends, as I noticed they were responding less and less to my late-night email manifestos. It’s quite possible I burned them out with information overload. My coworkers at the college seem mostly bemused by my 3 am memos. But I have no idea how my messages come across. Am I confused about what I’m supposed to be doing on the job? Am I just a big Go-Getter? I think there’s a better balance I could find, rather than emailing my boss in the middle of the night.

While the physical commitment of drawing the line on my work day is easy enough to attempt, it’s the mental drawing line that’s so evasive. If you were to look into my brain, you would see 100 wheels turning. Lists are being made. Plans are hatched. Concepts are mulled over. Good ideas come to the front, bad ideas get buried. When my thoughts are at an impasse, they just sit and turn in place. These wheels encompass my two careers, my dreams, and my day-to-day reality. Let’s not forget my reality. There are grocery lists, summer schedules for the kids, feed the pets and don’t-forget-to-flip-the-laundry sorts of mundane tasks.

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