I’ve had insomnia since childhood. Blame my anxiety, blame my over-active brain, blame my thyroid, blame staring at screens until I’m completely over-stimulated. Whatever, The point is, it’s not unusual for me to get just four or five hours a night, and for weeks on end.
I’ve tried everything – herbal teas, warm milk, breathing exercises, supplements. Even sleeping pills don’t do anything except make me feel goofy and groggy.
Sleep masks (which go over your eyes) have long been part of my routine. They work kind of like sticking a cover over a budgie cage when it’s bird bed time. Sensing pure darkness, your brain produces that sweet, sweet sleep chemical, melatonin, and off to the land of nod you go. In theory.
The problem is that staring at screens really, really interrupts that signal by interfering with melatonin production. Blue light – the kind emitted my mobile phones and computers – is so good at making us feel awake, that it’s sometimes used in factories to keep shift workers alert through the night. Jeebus almighty.