My dear insomniac friends and/or technology junkies out there. Today I’m doing things a little differently and I will share with you the art of reading until your eyes fall out. Let’s talk.
(How cute is my plush fox? Yes, this is my real pillow, my real bed, my real everything. This is where I sleep —and read.)
I don’t know about you guys, but since I was a little kid, I have always had trouble falling asleep (and then staying asleep). I would usually go to bed, turn the light off, and stay there for 1-2 hours waiting for sleep to take over. The thing is, when you’re in bed but don’t sleep, you start to think. A LOT. About anything and everything, and your brain can’t shut off. I have struggled with this for almost all my life, and I still haven’t exactly fixed it, but I found a way around it.
Find your escape
In 2012, I was in my first year of a Master’s Degree to become a teacher (spoiler alert: I quit); we had 20+ hours of classes per week, homework, the national teaching exam to prepare, and a 30-page paper to write. Let me tell you, the anxiety levels were HIGH, and at the time I found that falling asleep was only getting harder. The fact that we usually spend our time in front of a computer or television right before sleep isn’t helping either. Some can easily fall asleep in front of a TV, but usually, the light that comes out of a TV or computer screen messes with your brain and make it believe that it is day, so when you try to go to sleep, your brain disagrees.
But one day, I got restless, laying in my bed, going crazy over all the thoughts that clouded my brain, so I decided that I needed a distraction. So I went to my —then pretty slim— bookshelf, and picked something up. It was Stardust by Neil Gaiman —not that is really matters.
And then, it hit me: if I turn off my computer approximately 1 hour before I usually would and go read a book instead, my brain has time to get rid of the computer light signals (I don’t know what else to call it), and I’m reading something that takes me away from my real life, real problems, and real anxiety. It is not a full-proof technique, and sometimes, even after reading and not having been in front of a screen for an hour or more, your brain still won’t leave you alone and decide you can’t sleep.
Read until your eyes fall out
Lately, I’ve been home a lot, which means that I don’t move that much, and my body isn’t tired enough to help in the sleep department. My anxiety is also back with a vengeance, and for a while, I was so out of it that I couldn’t even read (dark times). But now I’m slowly trying to get back into the swing of things, and instead of panicking because I can’t fall asleep, I try to tell myself that it doesn’t matter, I don’t have to set the alarm for the next day (little victory in all my misery), and I read until my eyes fall out. What I mean by that, is that I don’t want to turn off the light and put my head on the pillow, only to be flooded with thoughts again; so what I do is: I read until I am so tired that all I can think about is closing my eyes and putting my head on my pillow. Again. Not full-proof (nothing ever is), but quite effective.
All in all, my insomnia / inability to fall asleep / anxiety are what made me pick up book after book; they are basically responsible for my 100+ book TBR and my thirst for stories, which eventually led me to even create this blog and pursue a career in the book industry (this is going to take a little more time than creating a blog though 🙁 ).
You can find solace in even the darkest things… 🙂