If you’ve ever had trouble sleeping, you know the pain. That feeling of complete exhaustion, yet your body and brain just won’t let it happen. It’s frustrating and the lack of sleep can affect other parts of your life.
From as long as I can remember, I’ve always suffered from the inability to fall asleep quickly. I’ve tried every piece of advice my friends, family, doctor and the internet have provided me but in the end, I have just come to accept that it normally takes me 1-2 hours to fully fall asleep. I have a prescription for a sleeping pill when things get really bad but am pretty stubborn when it comes to actually taking it.
The other night, I had one of my bad episodes. They are much more rare. More commonly I will fall asleep by about 3am which seems to be my breaking point. However if 3am comes and goes, then it’s usually an all nighter.
So how do I spend my night? Below is an approximate list of times, activities and thoughts that filled my night so you can better understand.
10:00 pm – Bedtime routine begins, hubby is downstairs getting the kids lunches done, I brush my teeth and change in to my PJ’s.
10:15 pm – Hubby and I are in bed, we always watch 30 mins of TV. I know screen time before bed is a big no-no but we always enjoy this time together so I risk it.
10:30 pm – Hubby is snoring beside me (damn him and his ability to fall asleep so quickly). I poke him in the back and tell him it’s time to turn off the TV and remove his glasses. He tells me he “wasn’t sleeping”. Within seconds of him removing his glasses, he’s snoring again and I roll over to begin my bedtime hell.
10:45 pm – I’m feeling like something isn’t right. I double check my phone to make sure my alarm is set, clear all my emails and turn off my notifications until morning.
11:00 pm – I wonder if my husband locked the front door. He sometimes forgets to do that. I get up and go check. While I’m up I might as well go to the bathroom. I don’t actually have to go but it was worth a shot.
11:30 pm – I started to doze off slightly but was awoken suddenly by something. “Was it a noise or did the dog kick me?” Damn, I was so close to actually falling asleep.
12:00 am – I’ve replayed some fight I had with a friend like 15 years ago over in my head. “I wonder what she is doing now? Why were we such idiots? Seriously, why am I thinking about this now? I need to clear my mind. Think of nothing but sleep. Sleeeeppppp…”
12:02 am – “Maybe some water will help”. I keep a bottle on my bedside table so I sit up slightly to take a drink. Hmm maybe I should take a pill. I hate the idea of taking a pill, I reserve them only for when I really need them and tonight I think I’m fine. It’s just taking a little longer than normal but I should be asleep soon. I’m so tired.
1:00 am – I grab my phone and check the time. “Seriously, it’s been an hour? What did I do for the last hour? Oh right, I thought about those emails I need to send tomorrow. Damnit, okay I need to sleep now. I should think of a song, a slow, sleepy song. That sometimes works”.
1:30 am – “I can’t get this damn song out of my head because I can’t remember how it ends! Maybe I should just YouTube it so I can hear it end and then I can sleep. Ya, that will work”. I sit up in bed and open my laptop. I listen to the song. Ahhh that’s better. “Well, now that I’m up, I might as well send those emails I was thinking about”. I vow to only stay on the computer for 15 minutes. In reality, I’m on for an hour.
2:30 am – “I should have taken the damn pill. Shit”. Now it’s too late because by the time it kicks in, the effects won’t have worn off when I have to wake up. I go to the bathroom again thinking maybe that will help.
3:00 am – This is the point where I would normally fall asleep if I was only experiencing a regular “episode”. I usually still end up with about 4 hours which still allows me to be quite functional the following day.
The latest episode wasn’t so kind.
3:30 am – “What the hell?? I should definitely be asleep by now”. I am angry that I’m not. I wonder if it’s because I’m wearing a night gown instead of pants so I change. “Yes, that feels better”. I open the window to get a little fresh air in the room, splash a little water on my neck and go to the bathroom yet again. “Okay, this is going to work”.
4:45 am – Staring at the ceiling. I have replayed a “moment of regret” from my teen years over and over in my head wondering what I should have done instead. I remind myself that it doesn’t matter. The sun is starting to come up. I’m now debating whether there’s any point to trying to sleep now or if I should just call it and get up. I start to doze off…
5:00 am – Some loud-ass bird outside my window starts up with the most annoying noise I’ve ever heard which wakes me from my partial slumber. “YOU’VE GOT TO BE FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME!”
5:15 am – My husband’s alarm goes off. I watch him slowly get out of bed and tip toe to the bathroom. It’s cute that he’s trying not to wake me. I say “Good Morning” and he is startled. We chit-chat quietly for a few minutes as I tell him about my night. I start to feel sleepy again…
5:45 am – I am out cold. My husband soon leaves for work and I sleep for a good 45 minutes until my daughter comes flying in my room and crawls in to bed with me. Guess it’s time to start my day.
8:05 am – The kids have left for the bus and I don’t have to be anywhere until 11:30am. I am exhausted. My everything hurts. The thought of coffee makes me feel ill. Most days I would have to start working or I’d have somewhere to be. Luckily today I don’t have to be anywhere until 11am. I set an alarm for 10am which will give me enough time to grab a shower before I have to go. Sleep comes very quickly now (of course!).
10:10 am – I hit snooze once and am now up. I’m feeling okay. The 2 hour nap helped. It’s going to be a long day. My biggest worry is that this will happen again tonight. Typically my insomnia comes in groupings of 2-3 days in a row. I promise myself that tonight I will take a pill.
10:00 PM – After having had a long, hot bath, I take a pill and climb in to bed. Sleep finds me within an hour and I wake up in the AM with that familiar foggyness after-effect from the pill but otherwise feeling refreshed. I broke the cycle and tomorrow night should go better on it’s own. I hope.