Insomnia

It seems cruel that I should be getting such terrible sleep just before I have a newborn who will undoubtedly cause me to only get terrible sleep, but here we are. I’ve never been a great sleeper. I sleep super lightly and anything wakes me up. That’d be fine except that then I can’t go back to sleep. Or I can but it takes 20-30 minutes. And if I wake up after 4 am? It takes an hour or more. I know I’ve mentioned that my kids get up at the crack of dawn which means I usually fall back to sleep juuuuust before they get up.

Waking too early in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep is known as sleep maintenance insomnia or sometimes as early-rising insomnia. I don’t generally have a problem falling asleep at the beginning of the night (although that also usually takes 20 minutes or so) but man it sucks to lay in bed at 4 or 5 am unable to sleep. Sleeping pills don’t help any. I mean, I guess they do in the sense that I have less trouble falling back asleep int he middle of the night, but I never feel well rested after taking a unisom, (even if I’ve adjusted to the effects after taking it for several days.) As a result, even if I get 8 hours of sleep I still feel like I haven’t had enough. And, the worst part, taking something to help me sleep makes me irritable the next day and drops my patience level with my kids to the bare minimum. So it’s no good all around.

I follow all the “rules” for preventing insomnia, with one exception. If you have insomnia, it’s often suggested that you not sleep where you can see a clock. Theoretically it prevents you from counting the minutes, focusing on how long you’ve been awake or how long until you have to wake up. But for me? It drives me INSANE not to know what time it is when I wake up. And if I can’t see a clock I will lay in bed ASSUMING I need to be up any minute waking myself up more and more until I track down a clock and find out what time it actually is. (Generally not anywhere close to time that I need to be up.) When I wake up (even in the middle of the night) it’s like a light switch being flipped. I am asleep and then I’m NOT. There’s no gradual coming to consciousness, it’s just BOOM. Eyes open, awake. Which means I canNOT rely how sleepy I feel to know if I should be going back to sleep or not. Hence the need for a clock.

Anyway, I’m not sure I have a point here except that insomnia sucks and I really wish I could get a good night’s sleep.

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16 thoughts on “Insomnia

  1. I am the very same! I rarely have issues falling asleep, but STAYING asleep? Yeah no. All the medical and alternative help seems to be for FALLING asleep too!

    I never really realized it, but even after 8 hours I am groggy and feel like I can’t get out of bed. It stinks and I wish I could come watch your babes while you got some good sleep!

    (I nap like Rip van Winkle though!)

    • Weirdly, one of my issues when I was very first dealing with serious insomnia was that I was sleeping TOO MUCH. Or rather, trying to sleep too much. Made me extra tired. I’ve found that 7 hours is ideal for me.

  2. OH!! Clock! I ditched the digital and keep myphone on silent near by. There is an issue with the light that hinders deep sleep apparently. It DID help. Some Android phones (or clock apps) have a dimmed clockfunction for night too. The other thing that helps, that I was just reminded of is a sleep mask. (I started using foam earplugs in the morning only after 1st wakeup too. I still can hear but muffles the noises that I latch on to that keep me up)

    • I’ve also heard that about clocks, and the one I have right now is pretty dim (some are definitely bright enough that the light bothers me.) Often I just keep one across the room. I’ve tried white noise and earplugs, but I’m weird about needing to be able to hear stuff. Like, if I’m not SURE I could hear something I’ll strain to listen for it. Ends up being worse than if I knew I’d be able to hear it. (Man I have a lot of sleep issues.)

  3. I mostly sleep okay, but I wake up much more easily than Xander does. If the dog gets up and fidgets, I kind of come half awake. If K gets up, I’m generally awake before she starts fussing. She is (finally!) sleeping all night, which means my sanity is starting to improve, but when she was waking up several times a night and Xander just didn’t wake up as fast as I did, it was bad. He said I could kick him to wake him up, and to his credit he never grumbled about it, but that meant I was already awake. If I don’t get sleep, my temper is very short and I’m irritable. I am hoping that the next six to nine months as we get ready to move to wherever will be relatively good on the sleep scale, because I’ll need it!

    I hope you start getting better sleep. Oh, melatonin in the evening helped when I was having bad insomnia. Maybe psychosomatic. Who knows.

  4. You always know all the interesting tidbits about sleep. I only know a little, and all of it is about my own issues (narcolepsy). I get insomnia when I’m pregnant. and if it didn’t suck so much, the mix of insomnia and narcolepsy would by hilarious. Since I’m not currently pregnant, I can laugh about it, but oh, it is terrible. I also tend to wake up all at once, versus gradually, depending on the time of night. Like if it is past, say, 4 am, and I wake up, that’s IT. I’m up. Thankfully my tiredness overrides this at least some of the time lately – it would be unbearable if I were up for good every time Hazel wakes me up around then!

    Hope you get some sleep! xoxo

  5. This is my problem too. I can fall asleep just fine, but staying asleep is my problem. I get better at it when I am sleep deprived and get to practice by having a newborn but other times? If I’m up, I’m up.

  6. Man, insomnia is just the WORST. I am stuck in this weird cycle where I am awake between 1-3 every morning, and then at night I crash EARLY because I’m so tired from being up all morning, and then I get a chunk of sleep TOO early and wake up again around 1 or 2. And so it goes.

  7. Oh Elsha. I am so far behind on twitter and feedly that I didn’t even know you were struggling with sleep, too. We are in it together. I am sorry. It sucks. I have no answers. But it is exhausting and frustrating.

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