Oftentimes, I will ask myself the question above: “Why can’t I sleep in peace without any disturbances?” (FYI, it doesn’t help when you have two chihuahuas that bark very loud). Better yet: “Why can’t I sleep at all?” Sleep is very important for one’s overall health, mind, and body. I can’t function at all if I get less than 8 hours a day. I will be moody, irritable, and frankly, the “B” word. (I think you know what “B” word I’m talking about!) Since I live with depression, getting those precious 8 hours are rough.
Some days I will sleep 6-8 hours a night or sometimes less than that and sometimes more than 8-12 hours. Typically, on a day off, I will get my 8 hours, but take a long 3-4 hour nap (Don’t do this! It can keep you up all night) during the day because I have no motivation nor energy to do anything.
My mother is the same way. If my dad and I didn’t get her out of the house once in a while, she’d be sleeping all day. My sleep patterns are different every night. I stick to a routine and jump into bed around 11:00 pm and try to get up around 7 or 8. But sometimes, I will wake up later than that. It really depends on what’s happening in my life. If I’m stressed about something or know that I have to be up in the morning to go to work, then I will not sleep at all. I will close my eyes and try to count sheep in order to fall asleep. There are many times where I will look at the clock like a hawk. Sometimes the clock reads 3:00 am and the next time I look it could be 3:10 am. I find insomnia very annoying and it affects me in so many ways.
This is what insomnia does to me:
- Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep (The slightest noise can really make it difficult for me to go back to sleep)
- Sleepy during the daytime (I can get very sleepy around the early afternoon when I get up early such as 6:00 or 7:00 am)
- No concentration at all (When you’re sleep deprived, this is usually what happens!)
- Zero motivation (There are times where I feel like doing nothing at all because I have no energy or motivation at all)
- Depression and anxiety are some of the main factors (Great!)
Some people keep sleep journals regarding their night’s sleep and it’s something that I should start doing. Write down what time I went to bed, what time I got up and so forth. I did a little reading and found out that I have chronic insomnia. This type of insomnia can last longer than acute insomnia.
So the question is: how do I manage my insomnia? There are plenty of ways to manage your insomnia. Some include: establishing a regular sleep schedule (I try to go to sleep at the same time every night), avoid foods and drinks that keep you awake, stick to warm milk or chamomile tea, invest in lavender oils to help you relax, no eating (heavily) after 7 pm, get some exercise or meditate, and etc.
I’ve tried over the counter products such as melatonin, NyQuil and other sleep aids that you can find at your local drugstore. For me, melatonin made me more sleepy and more fuzzy after taking it. I didn’t feel well rested at all. NyQuil is something that I only use when I have a cold. I don’t dare take any sleeping pills such as Ambien without a consultation with the doctor because those can be habit forming as well as the over the counter products.
Fun fact: I’m a tosser and turner. When I climb into bed at night, I will start off on my back and then in the morning, I could be on the floor. NO JOKE. My body can’t stay still during the middle of the night. When I’m having an episode of insomnia, I will toss and turn like there’s no tomorrow. Living with this is brutal. I’m pretty lucky that my anti-anxiety medication knocks me out and helps me sleep. But when my body is stressed and so many things are racing through my head, I will not sleep at all.
One of the tricks that I use to fall asleep and stay asleep are: take a deep breath and relax, count sheep (if I have to!), close my eyes, close my blinds and wear my earplugs. For me to sleep peacefully and soundly, it has to be silent. I mean dead silent. So quiet that you can’t hear a pin drop on the floor. The slightest noise will aggravate me and I will have the worst nights sleep imaginable.
For all the insomniacs out there, I feel you and I struggle with it on a daily basis. Find remedies that work for you and try to get your zzzz’s.