I have struggled with insomnia occasionally in my adult years and much more frequently since my first cancer diagnosis. I don't know if it's my age, the years of chemotherapy and side effects, my old bed or things that go bump in the night but I very often wake up between 3:00 and 4:00 and can't get back to sleep, no matter how much I toss and turn.
I've learned not to look at my phone or turn on my computer. There is something about the back-lit screens that jolt me further awake, making it impossible to get back to sleep before dawn. And lying in bed, trying to will myself back to sleep just adds to my frustration.
I've started to keep a book-light on top of whatever novel I'm currently reading by the side of my bed. When I sense that sleep is temporarily hopeless, I read until I feel that it's worth it to take another crack at sleeping. Sometimes this is a couple of chapters. Sometimes it's a couple of hundred pages.
Reading is so soothing. It distracts me from worries of inadequate sleep and doesn't let me indulge the fear and anxiety that thrives in the middle of the night. And when I read at night, I feel none of the guilt that can accompany daytime reading that voice that says I really ought to be doing something more productive.
Last night, I read "Saints of the Shadow Bible" by Ian Rankin. I started it before bed last night. I'm now on page 150. I know it would be better to be sleeping more. I've cut out afternoon caffeine. We're trying to figure out how to afford a new bed, after 17 years.
I could write a book on what to do to cut down on insomnia. For now, though, I'll just appreciate the joy of reading one.