We all know that not getting enough sleep is not good for you. Really quite bad for you actually. Our bodies and brains need that time to rest, cleanse, restore. Studies show that chronic low sleep (ie. less than 6 hours/night) can have big impacts on your mental and physical states: deficient immune system, low mental clarity, poor ability to operate a car safely, gain weight, chronic inflammation, and more. However, almost a month ago, I had a major case of insomnia. I was about to launch my new business to the world, and the adrenaline was PUMPING! I was excited. Nervous. Thrilled. Terrified. My brain was wiiiide awake. I did the standard tossing and turning. I pinned recipes, fashion ideas, and inspirational quotes. I reached out to the lovely FB community, where I'm lucky enough to be part of a few "closed" groups that happen to have international members! I shared my big news and that I was too excited to sleep, and a few of them indulged me in encouragement and banter for a little bit. I turned my laptop back on to make a few more adjustments to images. I went back to tossing and turning. The cycle repeated.
Around 3am, I started having stream of consciousness thoughts. It was like all of my fear-logic had gone to sleep. I was now delirious. But not the anxious, bad kind of delirious. The good kind. Sort of like being in a happy intoxication. And my brain was just doing it's thing almost independent of me. Spitting ideas at me. Ideas for blogs. Ideas for photos for the site. Ideas for Instagrams. Past mentors I should share my news with. It was amazing! Luckily I had the presence of mind (how?!) to jot them down in my phone, quickly. Ignoring typos and autocorrects, knowing I had to just get them out of my head before I lost them. I guess that helped tire me out, because around 4ish am I finally fell asleep!
I was reflecting on this the next day, and I was thinking that I really wish there was a way to induce such free floating thought and brainstorms without being drunk, high or completely sleep deprived (all of which can have negative side effects).
And the only thing I can think of, that's even slightly related, is super deep meditation. The kind where you're so inside the depths of your mind that you almost can't feel your arms. (Or does that only happen to me?) That's the only other time I can recall having a sensation of having thoughts and ideas float right at me without trying. Without forcing them or turning them off, etc. When it's in that meditative state they're not usually as creative or fast though. It's a different vibe. Sometimes it feels like my thoughts are coming from someone else. I definitely don't reach that state often, But it's pretty neat when I do.
It also reminded me of my when I was younger, I'd go through mini phases of staying up all night painting and writing. As if I had too much to express to sleep. If I remember correctly, it would happen most often in the Spring. It's like my brain is sprouting up from the winter doldrums. And that coincidentally (or not) happens to be the season we're in now too.
Chronic insomnia is different and really can be a doozy. It doesn't feel filled with creativity and ideas. It feels frustrating and sometimes panic-stricken because you just want to go to sleep so badly. I've gone through phases of that too. Keeping myself on a more regular sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine after noon definitely helps. I'm very grateful that I'm not dealing with that right now. But I do have new appreciation for a creative Spring all-nighter!
I'm going to include tips on how to sleep better in my upcoming newsletter. You can sign up free, here!