Sticking it to Insomnia

Forget fighting to fall asleep. Get up and do something.

On Sunday night, I had the hardest time falling asleep. And then, when I finally DID fall asleep, I woke up hours before I needed to.

It already wasn’t going to be a typical morning. I was scheduled to go to Austin, about 60 miles north, for an all-day workshop/planning session, and knew I needed to get up relatively early to get ahead of the city’s infamous traffic.

And of course, of all nights, and of all mornings, I was wide awake a full two hours before I needed to hit the road.

Insomnia sucks. There are lots of things to hate about it. But one of the things that bother me most is the time wasted. The day after not sleeping well, in addition to feeling groggy and tired, I often wish I had just gotten up instead of trying to fight it in bed. I could have read something, cleaned, even worked, ANYTHING other than stare at the ceiling for hours.

THIS TIME, however, I took action.

I got up. I got ready. I hit the road.

I drove most of the way to Austin in total darkness (which made it feel like I was on my way to catch an early flight), and when I arrived I was so early I had to talk my way into the building, and I pretty much had the place to myself.

It took a cup of coffee or three to get going. I settled in, found a nice comfortable spot, and started working. I took a call, sent out updates, and eventually hit a stopping point, all while most sane people were sleeping or just starting their commutes.

And the best part? I never felt miserable!

I was certainly tired, but I never felt like I couldn’t make it work.

Did I go to bed at 9 pm Monday night? Absolutely! But I didn’t feel like I had lost on all fronts. I felt like I had a decently productive day, so much so that when it was time for bed I didn’t feel like I was losing again by doing so.

Maybe that’s the key.

Perhaps, my occasional, random, battle with insomnia doesn’t need to be fought by trying harder and harder to fall asleep. Against every instinct, maybe the solution, like most solutions to most problems we face, is to accept what we can’t control and to put our efforts into the things we can do to make the most of the situation.

Here’s hoping I don’t have to put this to the test again anytime soon.

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