How to Stay Awake When You Really Want to Sleep

The Night Owl Syndrome.  For several years, I was able to continue my dark life.  All felt right inside my soul.  I could stay up all night, sleep in the early morning, and then go about my business ready to conquer my world.  Having kids helped me stay awake – the late night feedings, the rush to their crib as anxiety would creep into my body thinking they would stop breathing for no reason, etc.  Then, I used the time difference between being in Albania and attending a school with U.S. deadlines.  I was able to stay up late working on assignments to REALLY earn that second degree.  The different time zones also gave me cause to stir around on Twitter and Facebook at the wee hours of the night – of course, always ‘working’ on promoting my previous blog, t.g.i.f.

But, now?  I’m 37.  I’m turning into an old weakling.  I can barely make it past midnight, and actually prefer to be asleep a little after eleven.  I’m losing my edge, friends.  And, I don’t like it.  Not one little bit.  The long, dark winter nights of Northern Europe have confused my mind and made me think nonsensical rationalizations like – it’s been dark for 16 hours, so you must have been up all night.

Those false accusations have nearly taken away my Night Owl .  And, I want him to return to me.  I miss him.  A little bit.  So, I’ve devised a way to help me feel like I’m getting the most out of my night-time hours.

  1. Drink lots of water right before bed.  This way, every few hours,  I’m forced to wake up, get out of bed, and walk around the house.  As I stumble into the bathroom, I can give myself a jolt of energy by blasting the bright lights over my head. Plus, the little black fuzzies that I see when I close my eyes, to go back to sleep again, help me feel like I’m in an alternate universe.  Or, traveling through space.  And that leads to strategy #2.
  2. Let my mind wander.  I know one thing – if counting sheep (BORING) gets us to sleep, then I need to do anything but count sheep.  I want to solve problems, think of interesting stories I could write.  Get in and out of bed trying not to disturb anyone as I fumble around for paper and pen to write down the amazing epiphanies that reveal themselves to me at 2 a.m.  I know they are going to be some good stuff.  (Case in point – today’s post was given to me at 1 am and then again at 5 am this morning.)
  3. Set my alarm at an absurd time so I have to keep hitting the snooze button every five minutes.  I don’t really think this one needs an explanation.  It’s pretty cut and dry here, my friends.  If I don’t let myself fall asleep, then I am always awake.  Right?  I might be a bit crabby the next day, but hey, I got to be that Night Owl once again.  Well worth it.
  4.  Read something disturbing.  With 24 hour news cycles, it’s not hard to find some nerve racking story online that will give me the heebie jeebies in the middle of the night.  I know I can get at least an extra hour of being awake out of this tactic.
  5. Clean the house.  Oh, who am I kidding?!  I’ll never do this one.  But, at least I know it’s an option.  My husband always tells me to keep my options open!


Until next time –

Simply live,


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