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No. 83 The Game of No Artificial Light After Sundown

The breathing (snoring) gets heavy when the sun goes down.

I'm a 54-year-old big baby about going to bed early."This is MY time!"

"What if I MISS something?"

"I'm an ARTIST; I don't do MORNINGS!"

In the past, I would read a sleep study article in the hope of finding other victims of sleep disorders and take comfort in our shared self-pity. I didn't look for solutions, just justification for my long naps.

Then I read an article about giving up artificial light after sundown. No TV. No computer screen. No iPhone. Only reading and writing by CANDLELIGHT. Now THAT appealed to the child in me who loves to play at night.

Around nine o'clock, I get ready for bed. Make sure I have my book and writing prepared. Put five or six candles on a small tray, light them in the kitchen, carry them into the bedroom, and put the tray on my bedside table. I then proceed to READ A BOOK or WRITE for one to two hours EVERY night. I am burning through all 736 pages of Annie Proulx's Barkskins and my journal is bursting.

I sleep better. I get up earlier (more time to write) and most importantly, I am still having fun — all this after less than two weeks.

This won't keep me from going out on a Saturday night but the nights I am home, I look forward to this new routine ( I mean game.).

Pro tip: Don't blow out the candles in the bedroom unless you have a lot of ventilation. I carry them into the dark kitchen, blow them out, and then go back to bed.

My boyfriend is not playing this game with me, so I ordered a sleep mask -- so comfortable, so cocooning - so he can have a light on when he comes to bed and wants to read.

It's easier to try in June because the days are longer. I also make a conscious effort to be outside in natural light as much as possible -- again, easy in June. February is going to require some compromise.

In addition to this routine, I take a full dose of my allergy med (Zyrtec -- if you care.) and I use a sleep app called Pzizz. I need all the help I can get. Between menopause and experiencing a lifetime of insomnia, this new routine (I mean game.) is downright enjoyable. Let me know if you try it.

I'm off to bed. Goodnight!

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