- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Spending Another Night with My Friend, Insomnia
Pleased to meet you, Insomnia
Have you ever tossed and turned until noticing that the clock says "4:16 a.m." and you know sleep is not coming soon? Well, let me introduce you to an old and regular friend of mine, Insomnia.
During my lifetime, I have had inconsistant sleep patterns. As a teenager, I remember finally collapsing around Thursday afternoon, after a long week of 4-hour sleep nights. I had to be at school by 7:00am, and I always went, but I always went tired. In college, I learned that I should not sign up for the 8:00 a.m. M-W-F classes because I found myself alert and awake until the wee hours on my school nights. Maybe it is because I am from Las Vegas and we just don't sleep here.
By my working years, I started on the "swing shift" schedule of 3:00 p.m. - Midnight, which then caused me to finally drift off at around 4:00 a.m. I still never slept much, I just found myself going to sleep later and later. Finally, when I had kids, I figured out what true exhaustion meant, and I thought I had the sleep thing all figured out.
When my father was diagnosed with a terminal illness, Insomnia came back to visit. I was not able to sleep much at all, causing more stress and anxiety. I was exhausted all the time, but never let on, and never slept much, tossing and turning while I tried to figure out how I was going to save him. I never did figure it out, and when he died, sleep became less and less fulfilling. Now, my mother, after suffering from another horrible terminal illness, died in February and my old friend, Insomnia, has come back to haunt me.
When I noticed this trend returning, the first thing I did was invest in earplugs and an eyemask. I decided that if I couldn't see or hear anything, it would be easy to fall asleep. Unfortunately, this isn't this case for me, because I've found that the eye mask looks quite lovely when perched over my forehead while typing on my keyboard.
Then I tried downloading self-hypnosis applications on my smart phone. I thought the relaxing sounds of my Scottish virtual hypnotist would lull me to sleep. Then I tried an American hypnotist. Then I tried new age music. Classical music. Spa music.
Herbal tea. No caffeine. Hot bath. Sleep aids. Conversations with my dogs.
Recently I have started using Melatonin drops before bed. They seem to work because at least 20 minutes or so after squeezing two droppers-full under my tongue, I get sleepy. That's a start. Right?
My father was a psychiatrist and a very, very smart man. He told me that the only solution for insomnia was to stop fighting it. Lie in bed and rest- it's better than getting up and not resting. Turn off the tv in the bedroom. Resting is better than the anxiety insomnia causes, and eventually we will all fall asleep.
Does it work? I'm not sure because it is 4:30 a.m. and I am not in bed resting, my television is on, and the eye shade is on my forehead. I can hear my dogs snoring while I type away on the keyboard. In fact, the more I think about it, the sleepier I am getting.
Think I will go rest now. Goodnight!