Archives for Sleep


Panic After Dark: Fertile Ground for Middle-of-the-Night Panic

Well, I thought last night at 4:30 am, at least tomorrow's Panic About Anxiety blog post just wrote itself. But let's rewind a a couple of hours first, shall we? I had a hard time falling asleep last night. I don't know why, but I don't often question it. It happens. It's no big deal. What I do know is this: laying in my bed while tossing and turning never seems to help. If I can't sleep, I like to change locations until I'm sleepy enough to return to bed. So at about 2 a.m., Netflix kept me company as I lay curled up with a soft blanket on my living room floor. I fell asleep to TLC's My Strange Addiction. (Who in the hell watches that before bed, you might ask? Well, for context, I was watching an episode about a woman who was addicted to sleeping with her hair dryer every night. So, um, it was sleep-related programming. Sort of.) I fell asleep on the living room floor wrapped up burrito-style in my blanket. It was oddly comfortable. Until 3:50 am rolled around.
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How to Transform a Mouse Into a Bear: Are You Amplifying Your Mice?

As an adult, I definitely understand the logic of how small things sound like big things at night. It's the Contrast Principle in effect: during the day, there are so many sounds in nature that we're unlikely to hear a tiny mouse scurrying near our feet. But at night, with its absence of light, dull orchestra of crickets, and an imagination open wide, tiny sounds get amplified by our minds. As we learned in my last blog post, in a tent full of scared eleven-year-old Girl Scouts at summer camp, a field mouse scurrying through the leaves = a big hungry bear searching for a late-night snack. At the right (or, well, wrong) thoughts and a tiny mouse becomes a big bear. It doesn't necessarily need to be dark outside for our mind to amplify the wrong message. When anxious, small things sound like big things. When sick, small things sound like big things. When depressed. When overwhelmed. When tired. I mean, think about it: when's the last time something small -- say, washing a load of dishes -- seemed like a gargantuan task? Maybe it was yesterday when your nerves were already abuzz thanks to your colicky little one screaming her head off.
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I’m a Night Owl. Should I Fight It or Accept It?

Today, I slept until 10:40 am. Oops. At the moment, I don't have a steady 9-to-5 gig, so the consequences of sleeping too late aren't financial. They're just annoyingly...biological. You see, I've been diligently trying to train my body to wake up earlier. I have this wonderful soon-to-be-husband with whom I'd like to sync sleep cycles. Last night, he went to bed at 9 pm so he could wake up at 6 am for work. Five hours later, after organizing my counter, putting away dishes, and listening to a few podcasts, I finally settled down to sleep at about 2 am. I want to be a morning person. I really do. In fact, I blabbed enough in December about wanting to be a morning person that my fiancé bought me the Philips Wake-Up Light for Christmas. It's this nifty little bedside alarm clock that slowly lights up like a sunrise. A half hour before your programmed wake-up time, the light glows dimly. Then, each minute, it kicks itself up a notch. When your alarm finally comes on (buzzing or bird sounds, in my model's case), the now-bright light should make it easier for you to rouse yourself from sleep. Should. Should.
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