Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I know a lot of artists who struggle on and on with insomnia, myself included (as is evidenced by the fact that I am writing this blog post at 4 AM when I should be sleeping). Yet many don't talk about it and some even see it as a character flaw, sign of weakness or simply a private matter. Thus, I am going to offer some of my experiences here, so that others can relate.

I tend to get insomnia due to three main reasons: stress, unfinished work, and changes in my overall health. Stress and worry can keep me up when I am deeply concerned about something, even if I can't do anything about it right then. If I leave a project in the middle of it, especially if the creative juices are still flowing and it wasn't a long-term piece spanning several days or longer, I almost always have a hard time sleeping. Health can also be a factor, especially whenever I'm experiencing hormonal changes (like when I'm menstruating) or when I am sick or my allergies are acting up due to difficulty breathing from sinus congestion.

I have some means of combating insomnia. If I'm stressed or worried, it can help to write my concerns out by making a to do list for later so I can clear my mind and not worry that I may forget to act upon whatever woke me in the first place. If it's my health, a hot bath will sometimes do the trick, although sometimes I still wake up again later. The hardest to get back to sleep from is when I'm up because my mind is still occupied with an unfinished project, usually because I'm totally jazzed about it. However, I often find that when my creativity is the cause, the ill effects of having insomnia are greatly lessened and I can function on less sleep unless the problem is ongoing. When all else fails, I have some sleep aid pills, but I only fall back on those very rarely and will not take more than one in a two-week period for fear of becoming reliant upon them.

When I do get insomnia, I rarely ever get the kind that makes me unable to get to sleep as I tend to fall asleep easily without much hesitation. However, I can have difficulties staying asleep and sometimes cannot do so for more than two or three hours before I awaken again with my mind reeling. Anyways, tonight I'm up because of my sinuses. Having taken a hot, steamy bath that didn't help enough on its own, I'm writing this post while I wait for the sinus headache medicine to kick in.

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