Whose sleep has been messed up since the time changed last week?
Me! Totally raising my own hand here.
The time changes definitely wreak havoc with our internal clocks and can lead to sleepless nights.
I know how important sleep is to all aspects of health—physical, mental, and emotional, as well as to the health of our relationships as it’s sooooo easy to be cranky and pick fights when you’re tired.
I also know that sometimes sleeplessness serves an important, and loving, purpose. And if you have an awareness of how this could be true, it will relieve you from some of the mental stress of panicking about the hours of sleep you’re not getting.
Take a look at this list of 7 things your sleeplessness might be trying to tell you. I hope that at least one of them will speak to you and help you make the most of your next insomnia incident.
- You need alone time. Solitude is a human requirement. Especially if you are a female human, and especially if you are a female human who is either pre-menstrual or menstrual (true story). And whether you’re a female or not, if you’re an introvert, you especially require solitude. If you find yourself up in the middle of the night for no clear reason, it could be just that you need time to swim in Lake You. Try to enjoy it.
- You require quiet time. This is similar to number 1, but there’s a slight difference: Sometimes you need literal quiet and total lack of distractions in order for important messages to penetrate your skull, or for inspiration to come and land on your shoulder. When I am working on something important I will stay up late one night a week and just get thoughts down on paper. It’s so peaceful, and I feel so happy and relieved once I’m done that even though I go to bed “late” (which, for me, is midnight) I get great rest because I’m relieved.
- There’s something deeper going on that needs your attention. Maybe, just maybe there’s something going on in your daily life that you are consciously or unconsciously ignoring. Because it’s too big. Or too scary. Or makes you feel a feeling that’s uncomfortable. In this case, your sleeplessness is telling you that ignoring it is starting to have negative consequences. Consider it a tap on the shoulder from the universe. You don’t have to completely figure out the thing you’re ignoring—you just need to start paying attention.
- There’s something you’re doing on a regular basis that is no longer serving you. It could be that you’ve got some habit going on that’s just not helping you out. It could be watching shows on your cellphone, listening to political podcasts before bed, or staying up past the point where you start to get sleepy. Or any other number of things! Whatever it is, it’s getting you out of your natural get-sleepy-and-go-to-bed rhythm. You can totally do that—just ask yourself, is whatever I’m doing worth the interruption to my sleep?
- There could be something going on with your hormones—either stress hormones or reproductive hormones. Track it for a couple months—do you sleep more or less when you’re ovulating? Menstruating? Is it related to stressful periods at work, or your busiest day of the week? I am always an advocate of talking to an integrative medical practitioner such as a naturopath or an acupuncturist to see if there might be a way to give yourself some physiological support.
- Your body needs a little help to switch into rest mode. We’ve all got just a silly amount of possible stimulants within arm’s reach—emails, texts, tweets, etc. Sometimes you need to give your body the cues it needs to start winding down. Can you stretch for 10 minutes before you get into bed? Or read by candlelight (not as crazy as it sounds; it’s very comforting and soothing).
- There’s something going on in your physical environment. Maybe there’s light sneaking into your sleeping space, or the heat is set too high, or there’s a lot of electromagnetic radiation in your bedroom (something I’m learning a lot about for a ghostwriting project I’m working on…trust me, it’s real!), or maybe even solar storms that are sending a lot of radiation into the atmosphere that are stimulating (that’s a thing). Doing a little sleuthing might reveal a tiny tweak you can make that makes it a lot easier for you to drift off. I’ve read about people using an automatic timer to turn off their wifi every night at 10:30 and their sleep improved dramatically—think outside the box!
Wishing you insight and peace.