Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The World Through Orange-tinted Glasses, and Other Sleep Hacks

I recently read this article on how eating sugar messes up your sleep. That was my hope, anyway. Maybe it was the sugar I was consuming in mass quantities? Maybe if I just lay off the (mass quantities) of sugar, I'd sleep like a baby? (Why do we say that, by the way? Who wants to sleep like a baby? They get up in the night. Then again, so do I, so maybe I already sleep like a baby?)

Could it be the sweet stuff?

Anyway, I gave up sugar, and for a few weeks, wow... I slept great. I was actually looking forward to going to bed because really, I enjoyed great sleep for maybe three weeks? It was wonderful. I was all excited to get back to the blog to tell you all about it, but then....

The other shoe dropped.

I started sleeping horribly. I went through an absolutely terrible season of miserable, wretched, pitiful sleep (or lack thereof.) Despite all the wonderful benefits of giving up sugar, the effects on my sleep were short-lived. So it was back to the drawing board.

While browsing through the library stacks, I came upon this book:

Who can resist a title like that? I can make you sleep. I hope so, Paul. Truly... I do. This is what's so great about the library: you can try every random English hypnotist, free of charge.

The book... it's totally unhelpful. He tells you to watch a movie of yourself... sleeping. Who would want to watch that? I'm thinking about my movie. How incredibly boring it would be, then I start thinking of ways I could make it more exciting! So people would want to go see it! Then they'd love my movie! And by then, I'm wide awake.

So no, I didn't like the book, but it comes with this marvelous CD. It's all woo-woo music and this Paul person talking at you. It's not new-agey commentary at all. He's not telling me to salute my inner goddess or anything like that, but he's just reminding me that I actually can sleep... and honestly, for an insomniac, that's half the battle.

So I tried it out one day. One very bad day when I had been up since 3am. I dropped the small people off at school and came home, put the CD into the player and drew the shades.... and...

I didn't sleep. But, I should mention, I can never nap in the morning. Really. Never. Something about my biorhythms prevents me from napping in the morning, but the CD was still quite nice, despite Whatshisname. He was actually a little creepy. He was trying to be all chill and relaxing, but ended up sounding like some smarmy guy you'd meet at a tourist bar in the Piazza Navona... like he was going to put something in my drink and try to have his way with me.

The thing about chronic insomnia is that it begets insomnia. As any parent knows, the less your children sleep, the less they sleep. They get wired and hyper. And the same is true with adults. Except we're just crabby and not quite so annoying.

I didn't sleep that morning, but I did feel significantly feel more relaxed. I just didn't like Paul. He freaked me out. If only I could get Anthony Howell to record a sleep hypnosis CD... I would love to fall asleep to his sonorous voice.... wouldn't you?

I wouldn't say the creepy hypnosis CD was the magic bullet, but it chilled me out a little. At least I wasn't bouncing off the walls and obsessively reorganizing the spice cupboard. It was a start.

Then... I discovered the magic orange glasses.
Three-year-old in Darth Vader pajamas optional

It's the BLUE LIGHT! In the library, with the candlestick. 

Yes, people, They're orange. #howcoolami?

Actually, there is research behind the orange glasses.

As it turns out, blue light is BAD for sleep. It's the stuff emitted from your computer, fluorescent light bulbs and... oh yeah... the SUN. Blue light suppresses the pineal gland from producing the hormone melatonin. You want blue light during the day. It gives you vim and vigor! But at night? No. Not so much.

Melatonin makes you sleepy. Yes, you can take melatonin supplements, but I wouldn't recommend it. They're fine to take temporarily (like when you're jet-lagged,) but if you take them every night, it will cue your body to actually produce less melatonin, so it really doesn't help you in the end.

But the magic orange glasses block the blue light. You can enjoy delightful light bulbs AND your electronic devices without the sleep-sapping effects of blue light. Yay!

For the past few nights, I've been putting the small people to bed and popping in a Foyle's War and my #howcoolami? orange glasses.
And I've slept quite remarkably well. Could this be the solution? I don't know. But at least if I can't have Anthony telling me, 'I can make you sleep!,' I can hear him say, 'Sihr, there's beeeeen a muhrdur.'

It's the next best thing.


  1. LOVE this! You totally rocked those shades! Ahhh, Anthony's voice? That voice, makes me, ahem, you melt like putty! Best sleep aids... Sweet dreams my friend! x

    1. Thanks! I just need to get nicer PJ's. Can't be making my sleep movie in my old nursing tanks. ha!

  2. Wow! I've never heard of that.

    1. Interesting, huh? I learned about the whole blue light thing only recently. Also, a ready suggested f.lux software on the computer to reduce blue light. I posed about it over the AMWIAB FB page. Best part? It's FREE!