Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Help me get to sleep

Sleep is a luxury and under appreciated by you normal sleepers out there.  I've been a bad sleeper for as long as I can remember, a light sleeper, a self-diagnosed mild insomniac, and lack of sleep causes me many problems. Absolutely anything can keep me awake, or wake me up. Bad thoughts are the main culprit invading my brain in the deepest of night when everyone else is snoring their lucky heads off.  Dark thick clouds of badness invade and destroy, a thousand thoughts whirr through my mind at the speed of light, re-living arguments from (literally) years ago, depressing scenes from the news, worries about work, stressing over (imaginary) situations, stressing about (potential) situations (that don't even happen in the end). And why does knowing the time make it worse?  Whether it's two or five in the morning I suddenly seem to be counting down every minute until I am suppose to be getting up for a spritely day ahead.

I try to empty my head of all thoughts. I've tried meditating - I imagine I'm floating in the ocean with nothing but light blue sky above and a scattering of clouds. I can hear the sounds of the waves but then the water turns dark and it turns into a storm, some sharks appear.  I can't control the meditation and then I get angry about it so something else I'm presently angry about pops in and takes over and argghghhh it's never ending. 

Almost anything can wake me up too.  A noise from outside maybe. A light being switched on whether it be the click of the switch or the light in the room, or coming into the room from elsewhere - I'm so sensitive to it it will wake me in no time.  Are my eyelids super fine and thinner than anyone elses?  As you can imagine due to this condition sleep is a proper treat for me.  Something so many take for granted like breathing or eating. I love it.  I love it the way some people love cooking (I hate cooking) I love it the way some people love their kids (oh ok maybe people love their kids more) but you see where I'm going.  This vital element in life is tricky for some of us to get right!  The body repairs and rejuvenates itself while we sleep - that's why it feels so scrumptious.  I love a big cosy bed and squishing my face into the pillow but if the big bad NO that is insomnia comes knocking then I know I'm not going to enjoy the night.

I've been to the doctor and on occasion have been described a measly ten sedatives - that's never going to be enough. Here in the UK you sign up to one doctor at a time and when you run out of tablets if you want more you have to go and explain yourself.  If I lived in the US I'd be one of those who go on a doctor tour. Taking every prescription that I could possibly get into my grubby little mits.  It isn't just the basic need of sleep that I'm missing - sleeping shuts out all those nasty thoughts that I create.  I'd much rather be dreaming than reminiscing all the badness that's ever happened - most of which gets SO mentally blown out of proportion at that lonely time of night.  Then the next day there is tiredness, irritability and lack of clarity.  A good nights sleep makes Kat's world an entirely different place.

I've taken to buying sleeping tablets online.  My doctor, all doctors, will never prescribe me enough, because they are addictive, but I don't take them for any other reason than to sleep, however enjoyable that fuzziness is the next morning. If anyone I know goes abroad I put my order in. 

Tablets seemingly floating above a shaggy rug
Herbal remedies and sleeping aids bought in English stores are never hardcore enough.  I'm not condoning/suggesting/advocating buying any kind of tablets online.  Obv there is the risk of buying something that isn't quite what you think it is.  You can get ripped off.  You could get your credit card details compromised.  I do spend a lot of time researching sites before I take the plunge but even then there is a feeling in the pit of my gut that says uh-oh.

I've tried to go chemical free over the last few nights but I find myself still wide awake and end up taking something at gone two in the morning meaning I'm sleeping in later the following day and feeling groggy if I rise any earlier than I am ready to.

I wear sexy neon green earplugs to bed to shut out noise. I've cut down my caffeine intake considerably and try not to eat too late - undigested food in the gut is for sure going to contribute to a rubbish night sleep.  My alcohol consumption has all but stopped because I behave so badly when I'm drinking but also sleeping on alcohol is urgh.  I don't read or watch the news as it depresses me.  There is no TV in my bedroom.  I hadn't considered lowering my sugar intake until I read an article by Sarah Wilson about how and why she eliminated sugar from her diet, but this is something worth looking into. Although could be difficult as sugar is everywhere!  I will try and get up as early in the morning as I can and go to bed as late as I can get away with and avoid the temptation to nap in between.  I will take a little light exercise a couple of hours before bed - treadmill and wii fit stretching exercises.  Get myself as tired and relaxed as possible before bed time.  The cycle of no sleep and tiredness will eventually catch up full circle owing me at least one whole nights worth of proper, unaided sleep. 

Anyone else who has this issue will understand what a curse this is.  How tempting and delicious it is to take tablets every night but surely this isn't good?  I'm way too frightened to look up the long term effects of using sedatives long term but I can imagine the answer isn't a pretty one.  

Can anyone tell me what they do to help them sleep?

Thanks, big love as always xx


  1. Oh, I have the same problem when trying to sleep... I start thinking and then worrying and then panicking. Then I panic that I can't get to sleep! However, I've learnt to manage it without medication.

    I usually go to bed quite early at 9pm and read for a bit (nothing too strenuous) until I feel sleepy. Then I will put the book or Kindle down and go to sleep. I would give these tips:

    1) Try not to use any technology for half an hour or so before you go to bed. Don't look at your phone in bed.
    2) Read for a little bit until your tired.
    3) If you find yourself thinking.. Imagine the thought drifting away and try counting backwards from 200, if that doesn't help start from 300.
    4) Try not to look at the time. This just makes you worry because you've only got x number of hours left.
    5) Don't concentrate on sleeping. Just let yourself drift off.

    :) I am not a doctor, but maybe it'll help?
    Good luck. ♥

    1. Hey Abi, thank you SO much for your advice. I agree with avoid technology before bed - how difficult is it though huh! Last night when I couldn't sleep I grabbed my phone to make notes on it about not being able to sleep for this post. I will try reading until I'm tired - I'm going to try that one tonight.

      Thanks hun,
      Kat xx

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  3. Hello, Kat! I've only been an insomniac myself for about the last seven or eight years. I've never used any medications to help me sleep - I'm quite paranoid about taking pills myself (another one of my MANY quirks a psychiatrist would probably have a field day with!).

    Because my insomnia started in my early fifties, I've always assumed it was due to peri-menopause, and so I read a book called The Hormone Diet by Dr. Natasha Turner. She had some excellent suggestions, and when I followed them they really helped. Obviously (because it is 3:45 a.m. and I am wide awake) I have since stopped following them. I wish I could remember some of them to pass along to you, but the only one that stuck in my brain was to sleep in the nude! LOL

    Maybe you could get the book from your local library? If I remember correctly, there was an entire chapter devoted to the subject. What I liked best about the book was that it focused on natural solutions and not addictive medications.

    Anyway Kat, I wish you the best of luck in your quest for a good night's sleep! As for myself, now that I'm retired I find myself looking forward to my regular 2:00 a.m. awakenings, and almost miss them when I sleep the whole night through, Weird, hey? ;o)

  4. ah thanks for comment - I've pretty much had this all my adult life and can never really tell when it's going to really hit hard. I love sleeping tablets though! I think that's the problem - I don't want to become dependant or take medication unnecessarily.. I will check out the book. Thanks xx

  5. These are things that help me. No screen time before bed, not just scary movies, depressing news, addicting blogs, but the blue light of the computer wakes up my brain to much. Going to beg earlier, easier said than done, but the hours before midnight are precious, getting to bed earlier is more conducive to rest. Sometimes I'm just to exhausted to sleep if I'm up a long time, so I'm stuck with listening to my heart beat irregularly, my panicky thoughts race. A cold room with a cozy comforter. Socks on my feet. Down pillows. Flannel pajamas and flannel sheets. Dark, heavy curtains on the windows, no clock in sight. Quiet, if only my neighbors would cooperate.

    1. Hi Tess, thank you for your comment. I have recently discovered the wonder of wearing socks in bed - who knew! I got some really fluffy proper bed socks for Christmas and I am now a convert! I hear you about the the computer waking the brain too much - this is something I'll avoid as well from now on and I don't have any clocks in sight either. I've actually had three successful nights sleeps without meds the last few nights - so things could be looking up. Thanks again xx