Lifestyle

The Insomniac Diaries

Hello again everyone,

I challenge you to find me someone who doesn’t love sleeping. Adults only (long gone are the days of being a kid and not wanting to go to bed, ever.) I’m afraid I’ve got a bit of a reputation for being the sleepiest girl EVER, but here’s my excuse: for a good deal of my life, sleep has evaded me completely. I mean, years have gone by where I haven’t slept AT ALL. That kind of sleep deprivation is only acceptable when you have babies.

Okay, I’m exaggerating a little bit (but only a little bit.) I’m trying to laugh about the insomnia that I have suffered from for pretty much my entire life, because I just don’t know how else to handle it, to be honest. I’m alright now, for the time being, so I’m trying to take advantage of all the sleep I can get before the next inevitable wave of insomnia hits me.

For me, the main problem with not sleeping is that it means I can’t do anything productive during the day. I can usually handle one sleepless night and be fairly functional the next day, but after two or three nights of barely any (or sometimes no) sleep, I can hardly muster the energy to get out of bed and my brain and body are both just confused, frustrated and upset. What’s even worse, it’s not like I can just crash and go to sleep. When bouts of insomnia hit, it’s so hard to stay positive because I just feel like I’m wasting so much time, which is something I can’t stand, and trying to sleep becomes the most stressful experience.

 

Insomnia
Image from Doylestown Health

 

As I say, recently I’ve been sleeping okay. Jetlag from travelling doesn’t help, but once I get back into the right time zone, I think my sleep will be fairly normal. I still have the occasional sleepless night, but it hasn’t ever gotten as bad as it was when I was in University a couple of years ago. I wish I had known that you can get extensions on deadlines due to insomnia. If you’re a sleepless student, definitely look into this. For me, it was sometimes impossible not to miss important lectures because of my f*cked sleep pattern, but I never told any of my lecturers. It wasn’t until a friend told me he had an extension on a big project because of insomnia that I even thought about it.

So, how do I handle insomnia? The short answer is, I don’t. I know I should, but the last thing I want is to be prescribed drugs that will make me dependent and completely unable to sleep without them. If it ever gets worse, I might have to try and investigate any underlying issues that are causing it, although I think, since I’ve never been good at sleeping even as a child, it’s probably just an awkward personality trait. I’ve tried a few over-the-counter sedatives, but have found them very hit and miss. The best one I have tried is Kalms (the normal one, not one-a-night), which mostly works very well, and is a herbal remedy so doesn’t cause addiction. (Disclaimer: obviously consult with your doctor before taking any medication. Probably consult with your doctor if you have insomnia, tbh.) I’ve also found (by accident), with a success rate of almost 100%, a glass of red wine before bed tends to knock me right out.

I think, fellow insomniacs, that different remedies work for different people. For some, breathing deeply is enough (although if one more person tells me, ‘just focus on your breathing!’ I’m gonna knock someone out), for others, actually consulting a doctor and getting some medication might be necessary. My personal advice would be that if you can’t get to sleep, get the hell out of bed. There’s nothing more soul-destroying than lying in bed, tossing and turning for hours, knowing full well that you aren’t going to nod off any time soon. For me, it helps so much to get up and do something (usually writing, or if my brain has fully turned to mush, watching TV.) It sucks, but at least you will be a little less focused on how much sleep you’re not getting.

 

4
Image from Shutterstock, FYI this picture is called ‘young untidy woman reading book at night’ and I’ve never seen a more accurate description of myself.

 

Finally, sleep when you can, folks. Take advantage of all those precious hours when your brain finally switches off. Go to bed early and get up late when you can. Make the most of your days, of course, but rest when you can and when you need to.

Feel free to show this article to anyone who gives you a hard time about sleeping in. Insomniacs unite!

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2 comments

  1. I always have at least 1 or 2 nights a week where I get pretty much no sleep. I try to listen to calming music. I have started magnesium tablets which have worked surprisingly well. I also have a stash of sleeping tablets hidden away (from travelling), but I try to avoid them as I don’t want to get dependent. They are only for worst case scenarios.

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