Getting that all-important sleep in, even while stressed to hell…

It’s been an insane week. I’ve been doing all I can to wind down and relax a bit, maybe play guitar and piano to try and relieve some tension. But when the brain won’t shut up, sometimes I’m stuck doing mindless things.

Or at least they should be semi-mindless. If I was smart, I’d have worn myself out with exercise or frenetic house cleaning (I did get one of my sets of blackout curtains up, so that’s a start). Other than that, I’ve just shuffled papers and done jigsaw puzzles.

I guess that’s a method of house cleaning–get these puzzles off the table and onto the wall, quick.

The problem is I have the same deal with jigsaw puzzles as I do with reading books. When I’m in the zone or totally sucked into the book, I just want to keep going. With books it can be easier to get over as I’m already in bed; I’m just having trouble staying asleep. I’ve had books so good I’ve woken myself back up to read another chapter or two.

That’s kind of rare, and only happens when my eyes were tired but my brain wasn’t. A little shuteye to rest the eyes and then I’m back on the page.

Because I don’t fight it, I tend to rest easier and eventually stay asleep all night.

Puzzles, though…I’m clearly not laying down, and I just get so into them I want to stay up and finish, or get as far as I can as a goal.

And I’m damned worn out–thanks to my knee popping a lot this morning, I was not willing to do a walk around or get on the elliptical. I should have done so plenty of times this week, but never did. I’m annoyed about that, but I just have to suck it up and do it tomorrow. At least with school coming back in session I have a terrific excuse to re-create my wake and work schedule and take advantage of a couple extra hours in the morning.

Discipline. And that consistency will help sleep.

Exercise, healthy diet, and consistency help sleep. Trying to de-stress, however, is a bit trickier when you know the stress just isn’t going to disappear. You’re gonna wake up in the morning and it will still be there.

I always hear “stop stressing yourself out.” Yes, my expectations are set high and I tend to shoot myself in the foot more often than I’d like to admit. But it’s a different story when the stress factors are external ones you really can’t control. I should be able to control my reaction to them, naturally, but when you’re worn down and you know you won’t get a good dose of quiet and relaxation for a few more days… the release valve just can’t purge the ick fast enough and it builds and builds.

At least today was a decent day, not nearly as nuts as yesterday. Tomorrow is going to be a helluva lot of craziness, but I have to remind myself that that’s tomorrow and don’t borrow trouble. After a chapter or two of a book I may drop right off and wake nice and refreshed.

But we still have to try.

I’m all about finding the best methods to get better sleep, and will be researching and trying out many ways to get it done (and see what worked and why or why they didn’t).

That’s my personal research goal for the next few months. Maybe we can figure out some new ways to really get things going right (and get rid of depression with decent sleep). Hmm… I sure love a learning opportunity.

Right now, though, I’ve got the glue drying on my latest jigsaw puzzle and it’s time to get that book on Ancient Rome and go to bed.

And stay there til my alarm goes off and I get on with life.

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