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.


Repetitive, Rhythmic and Quieting

I’ve been trying to compartmentalize my life, and shut down my computer at a reasonable time. One of the “sleep tips” on the NSF Insomnia webpage is to wind down without electronics, because the light that our devices give off is activating to the brain. Plus, I’m usually doing work on my computer at night, which is also probably activating for me. I find myself still in “work” mode, so even when I try to go to sleep, my mind is mulling over what I did at work today, and what I still need to do for tomorrow. I’m a teacher part-time, and a small business owner. My task list is never completed, and I accept that. But I still have this bad habit of working late into the night. So one change I’ve made is shutting down my computer by 8 p.m. Instead, I try to wind down with other activities. I turn to my hobbies: sewing, crochet, piano, gardening, or reading. These activities are repetitive, rhythmic, and quieting. I find that crochet is really helpful for sleep. Using my eyes to see where the hook is going and the repetitive rhythm make me sleepy. However, I am not making much progress on any of my crochet projects this way! It’s okay — I’m happy to be able to fall asleep.

Even with this change, I’m not really feeling sleepy at the “right” time. I start feeling so sleepy around 4 p.m., and it’s easy for me to just close my eyes and nod off, as soon as I get home from work. I can sleep just sitting in a chair. You could probably prop me in a corner, and I could sleep at that time. Another sleep tip on the NSF Insomnia webpage is avoiding an afternoon nap. I don’t know how to really avoid it in a healthy way, though. My usual trick is turning to caffeine to stay awake. I know it’s not healthy. But I don’t have a good solution for that yet. I read on the NSF website that light therapy might be a good solution for retraining my circadian rhythm. I do have a small light box that I have been using in the mornings to help jumpstart my energy. Maybe I need to use it in the afternoon, too. I am rarely in one spot, though. I wonder if there is a portable, battery-operated light box on the market?

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