Insomnia probably sounds like a minor problem to those who do not suffer from it. But for those of us who do, it is like a huge , unclimbable mountain to get over.
People suffer from insomnia for many reasons. Each insomniac could tell you a different story but in the end we all suffer from our sleep being less than normal.
The origin of our insomnia may be different but we all end up having to compete with people during the day that have slept a normal sleep cycle the night before. We feel less than normal and somewhat disabled compared to other people.
We insomniacs usually do not reveal our problem to most people due to the fact that they would not understand. What’s worse, they offer lots of junk help.
By “junk help” I mean unsolicited advise and suggestions that don’t help and make us feel worse. They say “just take a sleeping pill”, “go see your doctor”, “try a cup of nice tea before bed”, “play some soft relaxing music”, “take a bath” or my all time favorite “just try to RELAX at bedtime”.
If there is nothing else insomniacs have in common it is the lack of being able to follow the advice “Just RELAX and stop worrying and you will fall right asleep.”
Holy crap, don’t you think we’ve tried that?
So you try hard to be polite and say, “ok, I’ll try some tea and I will relax and I’m sure that will fix it.”
My mind races so fast at night , there is no way to slow it down. Tea tastes great but does not relax me. Besides I usually find that it is way too much effort to make a cup of tea. As far as the bath idea goes, I do usually take a shower at night. But the reason for that is that I know I will oversleep in the morning and barely have time to get out the door to work on time.
It becomes a horrible cycle that snowballs out of control. On my usual insomniac schedule , I fall asleep around 3am.
When I have extra anxiety in my “daytime life” then 3am turns into 4 or 5am. When there is extreme anxiety in my life then I am awake until 6am or worse, for weeks at a time. Once it sets into that cycle , then I would give anything to go to sleep “early” again, meaning 3am.
Then I wake up late and have to rush. I feel guilty that I overslept and am determined that I will go to sleep on time in the future. I feel like there is something wrong with me. I tend to feel this way when I wake up.
At night I feel ok and I sometimes just accept my insomnia and “go with it.”
But tomorrow morning I will some amount of shame that I can’t get it together like other people.
It feels like the chemistry in my brain is very different at night than in the morning
( meaning noon or later) when I wake up.
I am tired when I first get home from work at 11 pm. Then over the next hour , something happens to my brain and I suddenly am wide awake. Then I am afraid to wait until the morning to get things done, because I am always too sluggish in the morning.
My brain is not fully functioning when i wake up. So I feel as though I have to get things done right now, in the middle of the night, while I have the chance.
If I don’t take the trash out, do the dishes and make a you-tube video right now, I will miss my chance.
I become so anxious that the important things won’t get done that I start doing them, and doing them and doing them.
I decide that tonight I will have a cut off time of 2am before I sleep. But one thing turns into one more thing and just five more minutes… Suddenly it is 4:30 am and I have no idea how it happened.
I have tried to control it. It is easier said than done.
I truly believe that my brain and my body work their best between 12pm and 3am. I am afraid to miss that time zone because I fear what in world would happen if I only did things when I am barely functional.
I feel most productive when the household and the neighborhood is asleep.
It may be to the point of a phobia of going to sleep too early.
My OCD will kick in around 12:30 or 1:00 am and I will feel a compulsion to get things done in my house and things related to my work and my future.
I think about what it would be like to get up early and get stuff done. But when I think of it, I have this fear of the morning. I can’t explain it but I just don’t want to get up and be busy, especially out of the house and dealing with bright eyed , bushy – tailed people. YUCK!
Who are they? I can’t relate to them at all.
I like to go grocery shopping at 2am because it is not crowded and I feel less stressed by the other people in the store.
I wonder if the majority of insomniacs are introverted like me. Sometimes I feel like I just don’t want to be around people all the time. I can have solitude and peace at night , in a way. Only my own brain gets in the way of my peace.
I am also afraid of the morning because I have this fear that I will use myself up too soon. Then what will happen near the end of my work shift? How will I keep going if i am so tired and still have to work until 11pm.
Anyway, it is 1:15 am now. This is about when I will take my shower and then attempt to go to sleep by 3am. That would be an improvement over how bad it has been lately.I will try to resist starting a load of laundry although I put it in the bags, ready to go, just before I started this blog.
I always feel behind and that I am not keeping up. Maybe writing this blog at night will help to calm me so that I can sleep earlier. We will see what we will see.
I am interested in what other people do in the middle of the night when they can’t sleep. Feel free to leave that in the comments below.