The Method I Don’t Recommend to Reset Your Sleep Schedule

When you mix working from home with insomnia and chronic illness, you get a sleep schedule like mine. I don’t fall asleep easily, and I hate lying in bed staring at the ceiling for hours, so I don’t go to bed until I’m tired. My bedtimes varies from anywhere between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. Often, my body wants to stay up a little bit later every night until my “days” are wibbly-wobbly, time-wimey.

I like to let my body sleep when it needs it, but every so often I’ll try to force my circadian rhythms back into normality. I do this because my co-workers don’t like having meetings at 3 a.m., I don’t know any 24/7 hair salons, and my dentist prefers I come in during office hours. Who knew?

This week, I’ve been attempting to force my sleep schedule forward, so I stay up two hours later each day until it gets back to normal. It’s a little lonely being awake when everyone else is asleep (and I particularly miss my husband), but it’s also kind of peaceful. I get a lot of work done tapping away at my laptop in the dead of night. When I get too tired to work, I’ve been playing Dragon Age: Origins to stay awake. Dragon Age is one of those games where you keep saying, “I’ll just do one more quest,” and before you know it, you’ve done fifteen. So it’s perfect. (Side note: should I romance Alistair or Leliana?)

I wouldn’t mind the wonkiness so much if staying up didn’t take such a toll on my body. I don’t know if healthy people experience these same symptoms, but my head hurts, I’m getting bouts of nausea, and my body is weak and exhausted. It’s kind of like having the flu, but without the puking.

I can confidently say I don’t recommend this method for solving insomnia. If you can tolerate melatonin or other sleep inducers, can use light (try yellow-tinted glass at night and opening your curtains in the morning), or food (eat at the same time every morning and don’t eat late at night) to manipulate your body into going to bed earlier, do that instead.

Sleep well. This Elven Mage Grey Warden, signing off.

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About the Blog

Allison Alexander is the author of Super Sick: Making Peace with Chronic Illness, the Editorial Director at Mythos & Ink publishing, and a co-host of the Wayfarer’s Guide to Worldbuilding podcast. She regularly writes about how disability is represented in fiction and reviews sci-fi and fantasy books.

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