Saturday, May 14, 2011

Criminal Minds Versus Chamomile Tea

Criminal Minds Is Robbing Me of Sleep

By Christine Clark
Criminal Minds is keeping me awake. This morning was another 5 a.m. wake-up, and bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived, I struggle to focus. It’s not easy on six hours of sleep, or five, or fewer, as has been my experience the last week or two.
I blame Criminal Minds, but it’s really my own fault. I love the show. That love surprises my family, because I usually shy away from anything blood, guts, and gore. (Confession: I have watched Dexter, but not having premium TV channels keeps that in check. And Dexter truly is another story.) Vampire movies, books, and television shows don’t interest me. Whether it’s mosquitoes, fleas, anything, human or not, if it wants to drink my blood, I avoid it—in life, in books, and on-screen. My son begs me to watch war movies with him, and when I give in, most of my time in front of the screen is spent curled in a ball on the sofa, a pillow covering my face and eyes, my muffled voice calling through the fabric, “Tell me when this part’s over!”
Criminal Minds, too, has pillow-over-my-face scenes, but that doesn’t make me turn the dial to off. I like the show’s psychological aspect, which makes sense because the FBI Behavior Analysis Unit is the show’s focus. My workload has been intense for about six weeks, and when I turn off the computer at 8 p.m. or later, I don’t want to think about commas, and semi-colons, and passive structure. Criminal Minds takes me away.
The problem is, I just started watching the show about six months ago and it’s been on TV for years. A&E and ION run episodes every evening and even have marathons. I have a lot of catching up to do, and it’s easy when the show is on for several hours. I also have a slight addiction to it, and I’ve been giving into that addiction.
I don’t know why I wake up an hour or two before the sun, but I do, and I usually can’t get back to sleep. My days are usually too busy for naps. Criminal Minds complicates my sleep cycle when I watch until 11 p.m. and wake at 5, or earlier, and sleep walk through the day, fueled by caffeine, more caffeine, and chocolate.
Last night, the clock said 11:06 when I turned off the TV. When I woke early again today, I decided it’s time for a change. I need a bedtime routine—one that does not include Criminal Minds.
Tonight, I will have a cup of calming chamomile tea before bed. I will go to bed early—9:30—and I won’t watch Criminal Minds, not tonight. I also will read something soothing, perhaps Bailey White’s Sleeping at the Starlight Motel, or J. California Cooper’s Some Soul to Keep, and I will not eat chocolate later than 6 p.m. After I catch up on my sleep, I might reconsider Criminal Minds, but with restrictions. I will watch only one episode and then turn the TV off, but I will try to avoid such shows at night. I might watch one on a dreary Sunday afternoon, when I want to turn off the world as I know it.
The importance of sleep rings true for me as I struggle zombie-like through this morning. My sleep routine will put me back on track. I can begin my days on a clear note, ready to face the world, and accomplish the many things I want to each day. I know the bedtime routine is probably the most important routine of the day, because it sets the stage for the next day and for my life.

What is your bedtime routine? Do you have one? Does something like Criminal Minds keep you awake? How have you successfully overcome addictions to certain TV shows that you know do not benefit you or your life?

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