Sleep Revisited

Getting enough sleep is often difficult for a writer. During the Christmas season it can be even more difficult. In addition to visions of candy canes and sugar plums dancing in our heads, we have plot points, character development, or the fear of that dreaded word—writer’s block.

Back on September 7, 2016 I wrote a blog about sleep. A Blessing or a Curse Ever since that blog was published, several people have shared different methods they’ve used to get those necessary ZZZs. I’ve tried most of those methods, and usually one or another will work, but lately I’ve had more trouble than usual and have ended up getting only four hours of sleep. (When that happens, I hate how I feel the next day.)

Since the Christmas Season seems to be a time when people find themselves stretched to their limits, I thought I’d revisit the topic of sleep.

The December 25, 2017 issue of the magazine First has an article on “Holiday Stress Enders.” I like the “cure” for insomnia that the article suggests. “To sleep deep,” the headline says, “Dig into dessert.”

The magazine states that British scientists have found that enjoying chocolate at night might help you drift off to sleep 20 minutes sooner. It’s evidently the blend of cocoa and sugar that does the trick. The combination switches off the production of orexin. (Orexin , according to wikipedia, is a neuropeptide that regulates arousal, wakefulness, and appetite.)

So hand over those brownies, I need a good night’s sleep.

I recently told a friend who is a yoga instructor that I often have trouble getting to sleep. She told me to practice my yoga breathing when I go to bed. (If you’re not familiar with yoga breathing, it’s a three-part-breath in which you slowly inhale through your nose, hold your breath for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale through your nose.) A better explanation can be found here:

I do find it helps, but it doesn’t always lead to sleep.

Just recently I received a message from Frank, “The Sleep Judge.” He suggested I take a look at this article.

27 Sleep tips that will make you fall asleep in 7 minutes or less

So I did take a look, and the article is great. It’s much more thorough than my blog on the topic. (It now has 45 tips.) If you’re having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, take a moment to click on the above site or go to

Meanwhile, try to get enough sleep and enjoy a stress-free holiday season. This should be a time of joy.


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16 Responses to Sleep Revisited

  1. Sue Myers says:

    Trying to turn off the To Do list running through my mind at this time of the year is hard. I can usually fall asleep reading, but by 1a.m. the list has me awake. I’ve cut out caffeine after 6 p.m. which helps a lot. Thanks for the great ideas.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Sue, I have to cut the caffeine off by noon. I’ve found writing down what I have to do the next day at least stops me from running the list through my mind (so I won’t forget).

  2. Melissa Keir says:

    Lists and ideas keep me awake. Luckily if I fall asleep, I usually don’t wake up except to roll over for the dog. Once in a great while, that happens and I spend a few minutes watching mindless things on my cell phone and then fall asleep again! 🙂

  3. I’m a poor sleeper so this blog is one to which I can relate.

    • Maris Soule says:

      And I can relate to your comment, Jacqueline. I’ve always has a difficult time going to sleep. I rarely get 8 hours sleep, and I think it’s great if I get 7 hours.

  4. paula says:

    Thanks for thinking of our general health at this time of year, Maris. Good sleep is so important. I looked at the Sleep Tips and saw several of them that I do, even though I usually have a fairly easy time getting my zzz’s.
    The breathing ideas are great. A friend who practices homeopathy and I discussed sleep and relaxation once. We started talking about how babies breathe when they sleep. It’s a lower belly breathing and they sleep deeply when they do get to sleep. So when I lie down, I concentrate on deep breathing and my lower belly. Shallow breathing seems to be a symptom of my anxiety.
    I learned to put on more covers too, even though my body thermostat runs hot. I discovered it was more difficult and took longer to get to sleep if I felt chilled. I usually have a book in my hands when I climb into bed. I read until I feel sleepy–which doesn’t take long– and there I go!
    I used to have a mild case of sleep apnea, but since I lost weight, that’s gone. The only thing that seems to wake me up now is … um, a need to go to the bathroom.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Thanks for your comments, Paula. The three part breathing (taking a deep breath and holding it for a bit) helps when driving, too. Feeling tense, take a deep breath, or two or three.

  5. Lucy Kubash says:

    My biggest sleep problem (and I’ve always been this way) is I’ll sit down to watch a TV program and bam, I’m gone. Sometimes I don’t even remember feeling sleepy, I just go out. Then I wake up an hour or so later (or two or three)and am wide awake. So then I write for a while or read or watch TV (Hallmark Christmas movies this time of year!). I rarely get 8 hours or if I do, not all at once. I do like that chocolate idea.

    • Maris Soule says:

      I normally don’t fall asleep watching TV unless it’s one of the shows my husband puts on. They’re still looking for the money pot on Oak Island. 🙂 If I do fall asleep, I’m like you, Lucy. I wake up and am good to go for another few hours.

  6. I also use a yoga breath called mrigi mudra. It’s too hard to explain, so here is a link

    It looks complicated, but once you get the rhythm, it feels very natural. Great post, Maris.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Betty, I’ve used that way of breathing and it is relaxing. Not so good if you’re in bed on your side, but definitely one to use if sitting in your car, waiting for traffic to unsnarl. I’m sure my yoga instructor said the name, but I didn’t remember it, so thanks.

  7. Diane Burton says:

    Usually, I don’t have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep. But Hubs does. So I’ll share your tips with him. And I’ll try some of them when I have trouble. Back pain can make sleep elusive. I hate depending on medication to sleep. Getting up and reading in another room helps. Good luck with getting a full night’s sleep.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Thanks, Diane. I guess I should have treated my back better when I was younger. My husband and I are also opposites: he says he’s going to go to sleep and within minutes he is asleep.

  8. I always fell asleep quite easily but the older I get, the more erratic sleep seems to come. I do sleep through the night usually, but I love the deep sleep of my younger years when I woke up full of energy. Thanks for the tips.