May 16, 2017

#ReadADessen: Along for the Ride

I’m thrilled to be a part of #ReadADessen, a campaign hosted by Penguin Teen to countdown to the release of Sarah Dessen’s upcoming book, Once and For All (out in June!). It just so happens that this week, the two featured novels are two of my favorites from her – What Happened to Goodbye and Along for the Ride, which is my absolute favorite and which I have the honor of featuring today. 

Along for the Ride is the story of a girl named Auden, who is dealing with the aftermath of her parents’ divorce and the insomnia she’s experience as a response. She ends up spending the summer with her dad and his new family in a small beach town, unaware that this is the summer where her entire life is going to change thanks to new friends, new experiences and a new boy who comes into her life. I absolutely love this novel! It was a book I read at a time when I was experiencing a similar upheaval in my own life, and even though our experiences weren’t the same, I found it easy to relate to what Auden was going through. It will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason!

One of the things that Auden and I have in common is our insomnia. Though we lie awake at night for very different reasons, the result is the same – a lack of physical rest, a feeling of unsettlement and just overall fatigue and frustration. Because it’s something I experience every so often, I’ve come up with a couple of ways to cope with insomnia that work for me. I thought it’d be a good idea to share them with you guys today!
  • Drink hot milk or hot tea. When I was a kid, I used to drink milk right before I went to sleep every single day. It’s a ritual that calms me, though I often interchange it with a cup of hot tea (preferably lavender or chamomile) these days. The soothing nature of this ritual is helpful in getting me ready to sleep. 
  • Read a book. I would advise reading an actual physical book versus using an electronic device, simply because I think that the lighting on a device would stimulate your brain to stay awake. While this occasionally backfires on me (if I get too into the story, I won’t be able to stop reading), I generally find that after a certain number of pages, I will start to yawn and feel sleepy. 
  • Meditate (or listen to calming, ambient noise). If you’re anything like me, the sound of the rain on a rooftop or the waves crashing on the shore of the beach will be relaxing to you. I know that it’s my racing thoughts that tend to keep me up at night, so being able to clear them away helps in preparing me for a good night’s rest. 
  • Write in a journal. This is one of my favorite coping mechanisms. I generally tend to have insomnia when I’m feeling strongly about something – whether it’s a good feeling (which is rare) or a bad one (which is common). I find that getting my emotions out by writing about whatever is going on in my head is helpful in clearing my mind and getting me relaxed enough to sleep. 
  • Pray. While I’m including this one from a Christian perspective, it can work for you no matter what religion you ascribe to. I’ve always found my faith to be a comfort, especially in times when I feel anxious or angry or afraid, and since those feelings often are the cause of my insomnia, it isn’t a surprise that talking to God helps me sort through them and feel at peace enough to sleep.

While I can’t guarantee that any of these methods will work for you (and truth be told, they don’t always work for me as sometimes I end up staying up all night anyway), these are my tried and tested ways of coping with my own insomnia. If you’re like me (and Auden) and struggle with sleep sometimes, I would love to hear about how you cope with your own insomnia in the comments section below. And be sure to enter the giveaway below as well, to have a chance to win a set of all Sarah Dessen’s books – including Along for the Ride!

Enter for a chance to win one (1) set of Sarah Dessen’s books in paperback (ARV: $132.00).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 17, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 1, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.


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