Struggling with Insomnia

For those that don't know what this is, it's basically a condition where your brain doesn't stop even when the rest of your body is ready to go to sleep. Now this I have been dealing with practically my entire life. However, it's not the direct condition. Mine is unfortunately a byproduct of my bipolar disorder though I didn't always know it was related to this, but it might just be something separate but I'm lumping it in with the disorder. And some days it's worse than others.

I know I've been doing Blogmas, but felt I needed to share this. Mainly because when I'm writing this it's 3 AM and I literally can't sleep for the fourth night in a row. I'll return to regular Christmas relating blogging in a moment, which is why this one is coming a bit earlier than normal.

Basically, I experience the issue where I start yawning and try to sleep but my brain literally doesn't stop. It comes up with a million other things I can do and some nights there literally is no way of turning it off. Any relaxation technique or sleep sounds or sleep applications make no difference. And I'm left staring at the pitch black ceiling for hours until I finally give up and decide to do something somewhat productive. Or just watch something on YouTube or Netflix so I'm not overthinking things. This condition is made worse some nights by any type of visible light, any little noise, or changes in my sleep pattern. For light this can be anything from my alarm clock, power strip on the opposite side of the room, or streetlight outside my bedroom. Noise is something that's the hardest to block out, because I can't find any ear plugs that will prevent me from hearing things in the background that won't cause me to miss hearing my alarm or work phone when they go off. And there is an owl that decided to move into a tree near my room just two weeks ago, which makes for many nights staring at the ceiling. And lastly changes in my sleep schedule. For my job, I have to be on call every few weeks which means calls coming in the middle of the night and completing after hour maintenance. And I would not trade being on call just so it doesn't interfere with my sleep, as I love my job. It's just something that unfortunately severely effects my sleep every now and then. Normally I can shrug off the interruptions to sleep. But other nights, it's the worst thing possible as my body has a tendency to become in a state of being awake for the next week until I finally crash. Which is what is currently happening for me. I had maintenance on Wednesday, December 2nd that lasted until 4 AM and since then I have had the worst time trying to fall asleep. But that doesn't mean I just throw in the towel, it just makes it harder.

So some tips I try to use even when my body/brain refuses to listen in order to deal with the insomnia are:

  • Sleep aids that you can get at a drug store. I learned the hard way over the course of two years that prescription medication does not work for me as I have severe reactions that interfere with my life. So I had to turn to over the counter versions, which work some of the time if I use them very infrequently.
  • Trying to go to sleep and getting up at the same time, even if I can't fall asleep I still try to go to sleep at the same time every night so I can try to get back into my routine.
  • Avoid caffeine, now I used to drink two to three pops every day. I can now safely say I barely drink even one pop a day as I have switched to tea. And yes, tea does have natural caffeine in it. But I cut all tea consumption around 5 PM so I can get it out of my system before I try going to sleep.
  • Eat a light snack before bedtime, sometimes this really puts me into the sleep mood. But not always. Still it's something to try.
  • When I can't fall asleep for the life of me, get up and do something that doesn't require a lot of brain energy. As this will help you feel sleepy and maybe, just maybe you'll finally be able to pass out for the night.
  • Try something relaxing before you go to sleep. I personally do mediation or calming breathing techniques as I feel ten times more tried afterwards and often am able to fall asleep.
  • Lastly, if your brain is worrying about twenty things per minute while you're trying to go to bed, write down a list of all the things and an action plan for those items. It'll put your mind at ease so you can catch some Z's.

If you know of any methods that could help you fall asleep, I would love to hear them.

Alright back to our regularly scheduled Blogmas at 6:30 PM CST!