Anyone that’s been around here for some time might remember I have very vivid dreams. Realistic, detailed dreams that I remember almost every night. As awesome as it sounds, it’s exhausting.

For years, I’ve been cursed with waking up several nights a week. I would fall asleep and like clockwork, I would wake up 20-35 minutes after falling asleep. But I didn’t just wake up casually. I woke up startled; in a panic. Someone was breaking into our house, water was spilling from the ceiling, trying to find the mandoline slicer for the onions…you name it and I probably woke up in a panic trying to figure it out. But it was so real to me – as if it was a hallucination. This has been happening for years and years.

Steve is so kind and tries talking me out of it, but I’m difficult to reason with in this situation and yet I’m fully awake and recall everything the next morning.

There have been periods of my life where its just once a week and there’s been periods where this happens almost nightly. And going to bed earlier didn’t solve the problem – I still woke up 20 minutes after I fell asleep.

6 months ago, I was on instagram watching an instastory from a “friend” (a.k.a. a person I follow that I’ve never actually met, but feel as though we’ve been friends for years!) and she started answering a question that a follower asked, “Tell us something unique about your husband.” She turns the camera over to him and he explains that he wakes up almost every night – with similar hallucinations. He explained they were triggered by light and the only thing that helps him is to wear an eye mask every night.

I thought there was no way a $5 eye mask from amazon was going to make a difference in my sleep.

But it was only $5 and I figured I’d give it a shot. It has been the best $5 I have every spent.

Since the first day I started wearing the eye mask to bed, over 6 months ago, I’ve never had another hallucination. (There was one night that I woke up just like old times, but then I remembered that I forgot to put the eye mask on that night.) I’m still not even sure how that’s possible except that they were triggered by light. And you think – well bedrooms are relatively dark, especially at night. But I would see everything in the shadows and I mean everything. There was a little light from the window. There was small light from the security panel. There was the light of the telephone indicating it was charging, light from the alarm clock – and all of it was wreaking havoc in my life.

So now it’s all tuned out. I sleep in complete darkness. Actually I fall asleep in complete darkness. Sometime, half way through the night it usually falls off and by morning I’m never wearing it. But I just need it to get through my first sleep cycle and then I’m golden.

It’s such a bizarre solution to such a random problem and yet I have instagram to thank for helping me figure it out. I’ve searched out this problem time and time again and no where did it offer such a practical solution. (Most solutions say to stop drinking which I don’t do, to get more sleep which I’m guilty of and to get on anxiety medication which wasn’t what I was looking to do.

Anyway, just thought I’d throw it out there just in case there is anybody else that’s a little crazy like me and was looking for some insight!