To sleep, perchance to dream…

two-babies-sleeping-54sInsomnia. Defined by dictionary.com as “inability to obtain sufficient sleep, esp. when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; sleeplessness.”

There has been much talk about this subject in my household lately. I am an insomniac. I have been for years. It’s not something I am vocal about, it’s just something that I deal with. I have tried everything – medications, acupuncture, exercise, no coffee after 4pm, no coffee at all, cutting out sugar, no tv or computer after 10pm…etc. Nothing short of a blow to the head works.

My KoD, gotta love him, is bothered by my lack of sleep. He worries about my lower immunity, the potential for slower reflexes when driving, possibility of moodiness. Lack of sleep can affect so much. According to Matthew Walker, director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, lack of sleep can turn us into “emotional Jell-o”. From what I understand our brains need to have time to rest and rejuvenate in order to help us face another day at our best. Without that, our thinking and feeling is sluggish and maladapted. When I have had a particularly bad night, watch out world, because the moodiness is there. I can be irritable and easy to fly off the handle. I have had years to get used to me without sleep. I can put up with me in any mood. It’s a lot to ask of someone else.

Apparently insomnia generally starts for a specific reason – stress, anxiety, depression, pain. But when these issues have passed sometimes the insomnia sticks around because it has become a learned behaviour. Your body has become used to not sleeping, so it doesn’t do it anymore. It’s a question of breaking the cycle, which is why they prescribe sleeping meds for 7-14 days sometimes, so after a week or more of sleeping your body has readapted. Theoretically. Sleeping pills do not work for me. Maybe once or twice they will, but after that, sure, they will knock me out, but 2 hours later I am wide awake and hyper vigilant. Fail.

I have no problem falling asleep, most nights. Although, truth be told, it is much easier to fall asleep when I am snuggled in a warm pair of KoD arms, than when I am alone in my bed, but I still tend to fall asleep ok. The problem for me is staying asleep. Small noises wake me. The slamming of car doors, the revving of motorbike engines outside my window, the sound of my upstairs neighbours moving furniture at 3 am. They seem to do that often, and she likes to clop around in her wooden clogs at that hour too. If I have a vivid dream – that wakes me up with heart pounding. Getting back to sleep hardly ever happens. When the kids were babies and needed me in the middle of the night I had no problems going back to sleep. In fact there were times that I wondered whether I had really been up or not, or would wake up 10 minutes later freaked out about “omg where did I put the baby??”

But that was before I was hit with chronic pain (thankfully no longer a major factor in my life) due to herniated discs, exacerbated by 7 months of enforced bedrest during my last pregnancy. My sleep has never been the same. I am no longer in pain, no longer need to wake up to nurse babies, depression and anxiety – not an issue. Am I stressed? Hellz to the yes, who isn’t these days, but is it enough to keep me from sleeping soundly? I am no longer alone, I have the KoD with me, although not always physically, but emotionally he is with me 100%. The kids are tfu tfu BH healthy and surviving in school. I have awesome communities around me, here and in the US. The daily crises are not big ones and are easily solved. Am I worried about finances? Yes. Do I wish I actually lived with my husband? Yes. Do I worry excessively when I am up at night? No. I am not awake worrying at all. Sometimes that’s when I come up with my best ideas for blog posts and articles. I like to just follow my thoughts – being mindful. Sometimes I get lost in my imagination for hours, and it passes the night.

I do not turn on the computer or tv in the middle of the night. Even if I am not sleeping, I stay in bed and pretend to sleep. My body can rest a little bit.  Maybe it might even be fooled into thinking it slept? I do sleep better when I have exercised, but it doesn’t always work. If I go to sleep by 10, I am for sure up by 2. On the odd occasion when I sleep 6 hours, I have woken up at least twice.

So people, what cures have worked for you? I am not interested in the chemical route, and have tried valerian root, hot milk, alcohol, acupuncture etc. Help me sleep better so the KoD doesn’t have to worry anymore…

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21 Comments

  1. frumgoth says:

    I have been plagued with insomnia since my ex-husband and I separated 9 years ago. I also tried medications, no coffee, etc, and I still wake up every night, but I found that taking small amounts of flaxseed oil 2x/day helps me get back to sleep when I do wake up. (This was totally a coincidence – I started taking it for other reasons, not the insomnia, but luckily it had this effect).

    Hope you get some sleep soon!!!

  2. sandy says:

    have you tried soaking in Epsom Salts before bed? what about a CPAP machine?

    • hadassahsabo says:

      CPAP is for those who suffer sleep apnea. thank G-d that is not my issue. I have not tried soaking in Epsom salts – what is that supposed to do?

      • sandy says:

        I was prescribed a CPAP machine so that it would ‘hopefully’ help my fibromyalgia insomnia. I really don’t have sleep apnea.

        Epsom Salts contain Magnesium. Magnesium is important for a good night’s sleep. You can Google to find out more.

  3. Chanief says:

    I often wake up during the night and can’t fall back to sleep. Sometimes I toss and turn and am only just aware that I am not asleep. Sometimes I drift in and out but still see the clock every hour.

    Usually it’s one ache or another keeping me from being fully comfortable but not bad enough to get me out of bed for an advil or aleve. (I am lucky to have a bad knee, an inflamed wrist that I tend to sleep on, tmj due to grinding my teeth especially when stressed, sometimes soreness from excersize etc.)

    One dose of melatonin does help me fall right back into a deep sleep but I find myself groggy in the morning so I only use it on weekends and then only if I am absolutely desperate for sleep.

    Ok, I’m no help. Just had to share… ;)

  4. amulya says:

    i love kids very much. but i don’t think these kids r that much beautiful

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