Four Ways to Relieve Insomnia


Image courtesy of the Austin Diagnostic Clinic.

My boyfriend and some of my other friends have issues with insomnia. Their main problem is waking up in the middle of the night, mind racing, and not being able to get back to sleep.

Here are some tricks they’ve found to be helpful. Please add yours in the comments!

1. Run through your five senses. As you lie in bed, take an inventory of what you are you seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling. Next, say each sensory input in a complete sentence to yourself. (You don’t need to say it out loud, but say it in your head.)

And say it twice. For example, “I am hearing the whir of the air conditioner. I am hearing the whir of the air conditioner.”

This sounds kind of weird, but apparently it’s effective. Many people fall asleep before they get through the complete list of their sensory stimuli.

2. Meditate. Meditation is awesome for many purposes, including lowering levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). It can also help with sleep issues. Here are some simple instructions on how to meditate and a five-minute video about meditation to relieve insomnia.

3. Get out of bed. Lying awake for hours teaches your body to get into that very habit: lying awake for hours. Once you feel your brain kick in, get out of bed and go sit somewhere else, like on a couch or in an armchair, in another room. Read a book or magazine for about half an hour. Then head back to bed. Sleep should come easier.

4. Ban devices from your bedroom. Lose the TV, the laptop, and the smartphone. Well, don’t lose them, but locate them far from your boudoir. They are all way too stimulating. An e-reader may be OK, though again it’s better to leave your bedroom to read.

Any of these work for you? What else does?

A Setback and a Triumph


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Over the last few months, I completed a short screenplay that I started writing over two years ago. It’s a horror movie, an adaptation of a story I read years back that I couldn’t get out of my head.

I wrote a draft in fall 2011 and gave myself nightmares. The tale is dark. It tapped into some of my most secret fears. I wasn’t comfortable diving deeper into them.

Last October I reread it and liked it more than I expected to. My writing group read my draft and, instead of deciding that I was a creepy weirdo for having written such a thing, gave enthusiastic feedback.

I started revising, and investigating how to get permission for my adaptation. This would be necessary if I were to try to produce the film, or enter it in a contest–put it out into the world in any way.

After running a gauntlet of reps, lawyers, publishers, and other gatekeepers, today I got my official answer:


The author, who is well known, has a policy of only taking permissions requests from well-established agents or screenwriters with whom he is familiar. I understand that he needs to protect himself from a million screaming fanboys. But I am truly bummed. This is the first script I’ve written that is strong enough to produce. And I can’t.

On the other hand…This is the first script I’ve written that is strong enough to produce. After two years sitting in a drawer because it scared me so much, and another four months of revisions, it is solid. I’m so proud that I wrote it.

I think adapting from existing sources suits me well, since plot is the hardest element for me about screenwriting. Next time, I’ll get permission first before I really throw myself into it.

In the meantime, I’m working on an original, feature-length screenplay. Permissions not an issue. Plot? That’s another story…