Sleep Routine

I’ve become a lady of routine in the last year or so. I do so much better if I wake around the same time each morning, make my smoothie and coffee, work during the daylight, read in the evening, and climb in bed between 10:30 and 11:30 PM. I started the routine because of my migraine disease, having read a lot about how interrupted sleep, changing patterns, unpredictable routines, etc. could serve as triggers for migraineurs. I continued the routine because it made me feel more energetic, more cheerful, and more productive. Oh yeah—the migraine frequency decreased, too.

Readers of this blog know that I’ve talked before about my inabililty/unwillingness to stick to a routine that actually works for me. Case in point: I know I feel better if I walk regularly, eat regularly, keep a consistent sleep pattern, avoid the avoidable triggers, and take my vitamins. Yet I don’t stick to it.

This week I’ve discovered something, though—messing up the routine isn’t just hazardous to my health, migraine-wise. It screws with other facets of my life. Today I am nannying. Whenever the baby is asleep, I try to squeeze in work (bookstore work, editing assignments, and/or writing). Because I have such a short span of time in which I can get things done, I pound out a lot of work during nap time. That is, if I’ve been feeling well and keeping to my sleep schedule.

Today I could not get myself motivated to work during naptime. I usually feel borderline-feverish with the long list of things I want to do during business hours while the baby sleeps, but today I just felt listless and tired. There are a handful of very important matters to attend to, but I just don’t much care. All I want to do is take a nap.

Luckily, I’ve had a good time the nights I’ve been up late this week. On Monday, friends came over for my birthday celebration. On Wednesday, a friend of mine (who happens to be a stellar children’s author) came to Athens to sleep over and hang out before her school visit the next morning. And last night, my sister and I went to the UGA Women’s Basketball game and then spent a couple hours downtown with some new friends. All fun things. All worthwhile things. But dang I am tired now.

Which begs the question many chronic migraineurs have dealt with before: how do you decide which routine-breaking activities are “worth it”? Which nights is it okay to go to bed at 2 AM instead of 11 PM? And which mornings will you be so groggy (and/or headachey) that you wish you’d just not done that fun thing the night before?

I’m torn. The weekend is here, and I certainly want to go out and have fun and spend time with my sister, who does NOT go to bed at 11 PM. But I think what’s best for me will be to make sure I’m home a little after 10. I need to get back in gear, and my routine may be the key.

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