Counting Sheep

I’ve never been good at sleeping.

Somehow I just never mastered the elementary skill of shutting my brain down for a few hours. I exercise and eat well, but I’ve got very persistent insomnia.

I drink way too much caffeine, but even when I was completely caffeine-free this would happen. I drink caffeine now to combat the fatigue that results from not sleeping.

Years ago I took some time off to try to concentrate on doing nothing but getting a regular sleep pattern going. No work or other responsibilities for a few weeks. I used the time to get a lot of exercise outdoors, read books, avoided electronics, and avoided stress. The closest thing I got to a natural rhythm was a stable pattern of 30 hours awake followed by about 6 hours of sleep. The only way I can sleep for 8 uninterrupted hours is if it’s preceded by at least 48 hours awake straight, or at least a week of 3 hours or less per night.

I don’t like the idea of things like sleeping pills, because I always worry that I’ll need to wake up for some emergency and be unable to. I have three young children and don’t want to be unresponsive if they need something.

As always, I’m interested in your thoughts! If you’ve got any good advice, I’m all ears.

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