Writers and Sleep

Do you wake up in the middle of the night with that story pestering you? I relate to that.

Do you wake up in the middle of the night because you just had a stupid dream and your mind keeps replaying it or re-arranging it so it will end according to your waking ideas? You were in the middle of an unpleasant situation and you want to edit it?

Do you simply go to bed and you are mentally writing or editing so you toss and turn for an hour or two?  I wish I could add  some humor, but the subject isn’t funny.

Any one of these or a variety of sleep-disturbing issues will leave a writer  unable to think clearly during daytime writing hours. You know that. Have you conquered the battle? Please share your methods.

Here are a few of mine:

  • Stop writing an hour or two before bedtime and let your mind think of other things.
  • Keep a notebook and pen on the nightstand. If your sleep is disturbed by a dream, don’t ignore it or “re-arrange it”. Make some notes in your notepad. Who know? It may develop into your next story. *
  • If you wake up with a thought about a story you are writing, write it in your notebook so it will not keep rotating in your mind.
  • If you go to bed and sleep is delayed with thoughts of your story, there is no point in tossing and turning. Get out of bed and make some notes and return to bed with a reminder you do not need to think about the story – it is time for sleep.
  • Treat yourself to some Sleepy Time herbal tea a short time before bedtime to help your body relax. Forget coffee or sweet tea. caffeine and sugar will stimulate your wakefulness.
  • You have probably already been encouraged to take a warm bath before hitting the sack. Add some relaxing herbs like chamomile to your bath water.
  • Stay away from TV and computer screens which will interfere with your pineal gland which is your wake and sleep clock. That includes middle of the night note jotting. The nightly news can also disturb rest.
  • Melatonin is helpful for insomnia.  It supports the pineal gland.
  • Read something boring just before you fall asleep. That’ll put you to sleep!

* Does anyone remember the Secret Life of Walter Mitty by  James Thurber? He was always having waking dreams at any time of the day and any place. The character escaped his boring life this way. It was turned into a movie which I never saw. Apparently it was edited for the screen by adding crude comments, language and action violence which I am not interested in.

Post your comments to share. Have you had success with any of these ideas? Have other methods been successful? As writers and readers, we all need a little help now and then.