Friday, April 10, 2009

Midnight yoga and insomnia lottery

I frequently wake up at 3 am. Thoughts racing, sometimes, other times sluggishly half-dreaming. Could be about peak oil, Transition Towns, financial disaster, other times nothing particularly interesting or alarming. I swear this problem has been worse ever since my pregnancy, but that could be because of the occasional loud noises from my son's room. Whatever the cause, I know from experience that I will usually lay there for one or two hours until I can go to sleep again.

These are my favorite ways to spend some time as I attempt to lull myself back to sleep:

1. Yoga. If I breathe properly and get into the stretches, I can start relaxing and feel a sense of well-being come over me. Then it's time for sleep.

2. Writing. If I am awake because I am writing a Frau post in my head or because I have a list of things to do scrolling down my brain, I need to write it down. Once it's out of my mind, I can usually get back to sleep.

3. Winning the lottery. This is what I do if I don't want to get of my warm, snuggly bed. Here's how I play: take the last seen powerball amount, divide it in half (to get the immediate payout), divide that number in half (to deduct taxes), and that's the amount I have to play with. So a $104 million powerball would result in $26 million for me in the bank.

I've played this game for a long time. For a year or two it always resulted in lists of countries that I want to visit. Then it was lists of charities to support or create. Right now I usually end up designing a large intentional permaculture community in the middle of the city. (By the way, I've never bought a lottery ticket.)

Anyone else have this issue? What are your tried and true ways to get through those wakeful hours in the middle of the night?


Lewru said...

I wake up frequently (2-3 times/night)but don't usually have trouble falling back asleep. If I do, I usually do the most mundane, boring thing in my head. Like go through the steps of a recipe I know by heart (black bean soup is a good one) or pretend I'm shopping for the groceries I need and see myself walking through the aisles, picking up the items I want, scanning the labels and price, etc. Sometimes I think about the house I grew up in and try to imagine the carpet and furniture and decorations in each room. That can be nostalgic!

Theresa said...

I usually try my 4 count deep breathing thing: Take a breath in to the count of four, hold it for four, release slowly for four, then wait four counts before doing it again. I do this right before I go to sleep the first time, so usually it will tell my brain and body that it's time to go to sleep again. If this doesn't work, I don't have a Plan B - I shall try some of yours!

I do play the lottery game too, but usually for the opposite reason: to stay awake, like if I have to drive when I'm sleepy. Or, sometimes just because I want to think about something nice for a while. My current plan with sufficient lotto winings would be to get all family members out of debt, and then buy parcels of land to keep them out of developer's hands, and start an open pollinated seed farm on the most suitable parcel of land. And we would build a 'green' building for our Tai Chi club that would also be a multipurpose building for sustainability courses and workshops and a meeting place for citizen activism, etc. It's nice to dream :)

Eco Yogini said...

Although I've never tried to practice yoga in the wee hours, I have played piano at 3am before when I couldn't sleep. Sigh- that only works if there is no one else in the house... Complete freedom :)

eatclosetohome said...

I wake up so regularly at 4am that if I don't, I assume I'm sleep deprived or sick. :) I don't try to get back to sleep; I'm rarely up for very long. Having a snack helps me sleep, though - I can't sleep when I'm hungry.

Wendy said...

I used to have a wicked case of insomnia, and I'd lie awake for hours, often just worrying. I couldn't turn off my brain. I tried all sorts of things, like counting sheep and imagining myself writing big numbers on a chalkboard counting back from 100 to 0.

What worked for me was to sing a silly song (There was a farmer who had a dog and Bingo was his name-o ... works really well) over and over in my head. It keeps me from thinking about all of those things that keep me up at night, and I go right to sleep.

Anonymous said...

I build small houses in my mind. Its a challenge to make everything fit and look good. Then if I need to I reconfigure part (move door or kitchen) or change scenario (1 person to 2, year round to 3 season living only etc). Then if I still have more time to daydream or can't sleep I think of the minimum amount of stuff needed to have a good life and see if it would fit.

Green assassin Brigade said...

lottery game is much easier in Canada,
most games are already immediate payouts, no annuities

No tax on windfall winnings, you only pay tax on subsequent years investment earnings.
So despite lower jackpots its all yours.

Me, I'd find a small village with a only a couple hundred people, buy wacks of land and start an eco village bringing enough people in to coup the town come next election giving us the contol needed to build a real green and sustainable village.

then the usual, seed farm, breeding programs for heritage animals, eco lodge with a variety of week or weekend courses on survival/sustainability skills.
Bees, dairy, mule breeding,

Alison Kerr said...

Reading is my favorite activity when I wake up and can't get back to sleep. I always have at least one book in progress, and sometimes 2 or 3. I have a great LED book light - one of my very favorite possessions - which I take with me even when I travel, because I just can't stand not to be able to read if I awake. This way my hubby can sleep on in bliss! And reading makes me sleepy, so I'm happy too :-)

blondeoverboard said...

i've been an insomniac since i was a kid. i remember being 9 or 10 and lying awake listening to the house noises, my dad snoring, my brother talking in his sleep, the dog's tags rattling while she scratched. the fastest way for me to get back to sleep was to think of santa. i'd picture him flying all over the world. eventually a sense of warmth and well-being would lull me back to sleep. these days i still lie awake but my thoughts are more about the future; am i making the right decisions? are the kid's growing up alright? did i remember to mail the mortgage payment? did i remember to take something out for dinner? now it's not santa that helps me get to sleep but thinking of all that i'm grateful for and all that i see that's still good in the world.

Verde said...

If I'm worrying, I try and do something to take care of the problem. If I'm creative, yea write it down and get it out and go to sleep. Just awake? Quile or surf. If it's a regular thing I plug in one of the church's night offices and figure that's why I'm awake.

Matriarchy said...

I play the lottery game, too! I make elaborate plans for real estate projects, trips, houses, seamstresses, gifts I would give to friends, etc.

I also play the "genie" game. If you met a magic genie that gave you three wishes, what would you wish for? Be sure to phrase the wishes very carefully, to prevent a mischievous genie from messing with you. Wishing to "lose weight" could result in your legs disappearing.

I am also a list maker, so when I am trying to fall asleep, I keep my list making in the "fantasy" realm - lotteries and genies - to keep from feeling like I need to jump up and make a written list.