When WebMD isn’t busy telling people that their cough could be cancer or AIDS, they provide reasonable assistance in identifying various problems if you know what you’re looking for. They define insomnia as having one of more of the following symptoms: difficulty falling asleep, waking often during the night and having issues getting back to sleep, waking too early in the morning, and feeling tired upon waking. Based on that and a few other sites I checked out, I definitely have insomnia. Not a night goes by where I toss and turn while trying to drift off to sleep. I wake often and it takes what feels like forever to drift away again, if I can manage to do so at all. As a big fan of sleep, this is beyond horrible for me.
Part of my issue with falling asleep is that I can almost never manage to relax my brain, turn off my thoughts, and allow myself to descend into dreamland. I’ll be making plans, worrying about various issues, or thinking of things to post on here. If I go to bed before my husband, I unwillingly stay awake in anticipation of him coming upstairs, as I know I’ll wake up anyway when he comes to bed. I like to drift off to sleep with the television on, as I can’t go to sleep in total silence, but it sometimes backfires if something interesting comes on and I begin to listen. I’m screwed if I happen to glance at the clock; once I know what time it is, I can’t help but do the math and figure out how long I have before my alarm goes off, and then I can’t sleep at all.
Even with all of that and with the online literature, I am reluctant to say that I have insomnia. I’ve known people who have had it and my situation pales in comparison. I’ve been up since at least 2:44am when I accidentally caught a glance at the microwave clock, but prior to that I got about four solid hours of sleep so I’m functioning just fine. Yesterday was rough, as I barely managed to get an hour of shut eye, but the night before netted me about six on and off. The fact that I can and do get sleep, especially on the weekends, makes me feel like my problem isn’t serious enough to qualify as insomnia. Too many people throw that term around when all they experienced was one single lousy night of sleep.
I have tried prescription sleeping pills, but they always leave me feeling groggy the next day unless I don’t have to work the following day and can sleep until noon. I’ve tried herbal supplements and teas that promise to get you through the night, but they never work for me. I’ve had the TV on, the TV off, fans blowing, ear plugs in, light blocked out, in the bed, on the couch, blankets, no blankets, and while I manage to make some things work, I fail to find something that works all or most of the time. I’m reluctant to do some sort of trial and error thing with various pills, as I don’t want to rely on or become dependent on drugs that either don’t always work or that leave me feeling loopy. I feel stuck.
Finding a solution is vital if I’m going to hold onto any shred of sanity and be able to function like a semi-normal human being on a daily basis. What that solution would be is still a mystery to me. I’m posting this in the hopes that someone out there is able to throw some wisdom at me and suggest something I haven’t thought of and tried yet. I am a desperate and sleepy person, so I’m open to nearly anything so long as it’s legal and not terribly dangerous. Any advice you can share is more than appreciated; please leave your advice in the comment section.
Tonight I hope to break this three day streak of awkward sleep and get a real good night of rest. Since I seem to be getting sick for the 876th time this winter, I’ll be aided by Nyquil which will hopefully knock me out; it’s always hit or miss with that stuff for me. If I’m lucky, our 80 pound dog will sleep on the floor or curled up in a ball rather than sprawled out on the bed and stealing my blankets and pillows. I’m going to try to be in bed by 9pm like a proper old lady and I hope not to open my eyes again until my alarm sounds at 5:30am the next day. I’m hoping sheer exhaustion will keep me in a deep sleep for the entire night. 4th time is a charm, right? Right??!?