I feel like I’ve struggled with sleep my entire life. When I was younger I hated sleeping all by my lonesome. I remember having nightmares bad enough I was scared to go to sleep. I also remember times where I just couldn’t sleep. When I was about 15 or 16 I struggled getting to sleep. I always just had all these things on my mind, and I would lay awake forever. My struggle to sleep actually led me to create my first blog all those years ago! Since then, I’ve always had very odd sleep cycles. I’ll go weeks, maybe months going to sleep with no problems and waking up with no problems. I’ll also have weeks or months where I cannot get to sleep. Or I’ll wake up early in the morning and be unable to get back to sleep. Then I spend days exhausted. Not just sleepy, but so tired a nap seems like the only answer. A few months ago I tried to Google reasons why I could go weeks sleeping and being just fine, and then spend weeks so tired I could barely function. I didn’t get any definitive answers, so I just figured I was weird. Since just after Christmas I’ve been in one of my “sleepy” cycles. I think it started when Rob went from a night shift to a day shift. I started getting up early to wake him up and make him breakfast. For a while I just got really tired in the middle of the day, I took a nap here or there. Then I would wake up at 6 and be ok till lunch. After lunch I’d get so sleepy I’d have to take a nap. Rob would get home, we’d eat dinner and watch TV, and I would be dying to go to sleep. So, we’d go to bed. And I would lie there, and lie there, and lie there. Tossing, turning, counting, relaxing, and eventually getting up because I knew sleep was far, far away. I’ve been in this horrible cycle now for the ENTIRE month of January. Yesterday I was surfing the interwebs and was clicking through links when I stumbled across these symptoms.
- difficulty falling asleep
- waking up often during the night and having trouble falling back to sleep
- waking too early in the morning
- feeling tired upon waking
- sleepiness during the day
- general tiredness
- problems with concentration or memory
I was sitting at the computer, with my jaw dropped! That’s it! That’s me! Insomnia. I thought insomnia was something that happened all the time to people, or it happened once and not again. Then I read this other section which stated this…
“Insomnia also varies in how long it lasts and how often it occurs. It can be short-term (acute insomnia) or can last a long time (chronic insomnia). It can also come and go, with periods of time when a person has no sleep problems. Acute insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks. insomnia is called chronic when a person has insomnia at least three nights a week for a month or longer.”
I had no idea that’s what insomnia was; I didn’t know you could have it for a while and then not have it. It’s nice to know what is going on, but now to take steps to fix it. I’ve made a few changes already in this new year of treating my body right. I’m trying my best to feed it foods that are good, whole and healthy. But health isn’t just about food, it’s about sleep too. I’m going to try to fix my insomnia with good sleeping habits, and I hope that will get me back on track and out of this funk. In case any of you out there also struggle with this, here are some good sleep habits for beating insomnia.
- Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Try not to take naps during the day because naps may make you less sleepy at night.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day.
- Get regular exercise. Try not to exercise close to bedtime because it may stimulate you and make it hard to fall asleep. Experts suggest not exercising for at least three to four hours before the time you go to sleep.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal late in the day. A light snack before bedtime, however, may help you sleep.
- Make your bedroom comfortable. Be sure that it is dark, quiet, and not too warm or cold. If light is a problem, try a sleeping mask. If noise is a problem, try earplugs, a fan, or a “white noise” machine to cover up the sounds.
- Follow a routine to help you relax before sleep. Read a book, listen to music, or take a bath.
- If you can’t fall asleep and don’t feel drowsy, get up and read or do something that is not overly stimulating until you feel sleepy.
- If you find yourself lying awake worrying about things, try making a to-do list before you go to bed. This may help you to not focus on those worries overnight.
((Insomnia information found here))
Does anyone else struggle with insomnia? Have any extra tips to share?