A lot of people think of insomnia as not being able to fall asleep, and certainly that’s an issue for some people. For me, I can usually dose off as long as I have a distraction for my brain. I posted before about listening to the Sleep With Me Podcast . Other times I’ll listen to mildly interesting normal podcasts or familiar tv reruns. So, most of the time I can doze off fairly easily. My problem is that I go through cycles when I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and I won’t be able to go back to sleep.
I know I’m not the only one that wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep… it’s actually a pretty common form of insomnia*. It can be related to alcohol consumption (when the alcohol wears off it causes CNS stimulation – but I only drink rarely), sometimes it’s stress related, it can also be related to not having an ideal sleeping environment (too hot, too cold, bed too soft, bed too hard – the goldilocks complex). I seem to go in phases. I’ll sleep through fine for a long time, other times if I wake up I can’t fall back asleep. It certainly is worse when my life is particularly high stress, but it happens other times as well. It’s actually part of what helps me flip my schedule for work (I work nights – 3 nights a week). The night before I have to work, when I wake up to go pee or for whatever reason, I just make myself get up and stay up so that I can sleep during the day before work. So I guess there’s a good chance I’ve trained myself to be prone to this behavior. *sigh*
I know you aren’t supposed to get on your computer, phone or tablet if you can’t sleep (and to limit use before bed) – but let’s be real, if I’m awake I’ll likely be on one of those devices. (Like right now, of course.)
Anyway, I found this free app for MAC (there’s a version for linux and windows machines too) that automatically decreases the blue light coming from your computer screen at night. It turns the light into a kind of rosy shade. It seemed a little dim initially, but after using it for a little while my eyes adjusted just fine. It is definitely less jarring in the middle of the night. The application is called F.lux and here’s an article about it (there’s a link to go to the F.lux site for download at the bottom of the page.)
It’s a free app with no add (freeware) but they do have a link to donate if you find it useful. So if you get it, consider passing a few dollars their way.
I wish they had an app for devices as well – apparently some of what they need access to isn’t allowed to outside developers. At least there is now a “night-shift” function available which makes the light dimmer and more golden.
Guess I should try to get some more sleep. I have to be up in 2.5 hours (oops, that’s another thing – you aren’t supposed to look at clocks if you can’t sleep, because it increases “sleep anxiety”.
My dogs on the other hand, seem to have zero difficulty with this sleep thing.
* A lot of researches believe humans naturally have biphasic sleep – we wake for awhile then go back to sleep. Apparently we’ve been doing this for a very long time. If you are curious, here’s an article about sleep that explains more about biphasic sleep (among other things).