One of my biggest struggles in life is getting enough sleep. This is most often to do with anxiety and stress. From the age of 15 to 25 I slept for an average of 4 hours a night. I hated going to sleep because I could not stand to be alone with my thoughts. I would lay in bed obsessing over my heart-rate, a bump on my leg, and every other symptom I could create. To keep myself from being stuck with the scary non-stop thoughts I would just go-go-go until I physically could not move and would pass out from exhaustion.
It did not help that I knew lack of sleep is extremely unhealthy AND even leads to higher anxiety. So, when I could convince myself to get in bed at a decent time I would worry that I couldn’t fall asleep and then obsess over the side effects of being sleep deprived. It’s madness, I know.
Once while traveling, I stayed in a hostel with a guy who told me all about his struggle with insomnia…the poor guy kept giving me every little detail not knowing that I was soaking it all up and storing it for my own future panic attacks. Convinced then, that I too had insomnia, I didn’t sleep for weeks!
While living in Albania, I learned to sleep. We were forced to live like Europeans (and I mean that in a very good way). We moved slower, sat down to drink our coffee, ate 3 hour dinners, and relaxed. We really relaxed. I not only slept at night, but I slept late, I took naps, I slept on the beach, I slept on our picnics, I slept anytime I was tired…it was glorious.
Getting all that sleep spoiled me, and now I cannot understand how I functioned for ten years on such little sleep.
Lately, I have been struggling again. I lay in bed at night, mind running wild with to-do lists and worries, and cannot go to sleep. A couple of hours pass and I then worry that I won’t wake up in time for work. More time passes and I worry I’ll never go to sleep. When I do eventually drift off, I wake up to the slightest movement or sound and struggle to go back to sleep.
I am not sure if it’s anxiety, my busy schedule the last couple of weeks, or something else, but I am tired (literally) and ready for a full night’s sleep. Since I’m not as skilled as I once was at sleepless nights, its starting to show. I’m grumpy at work (What do you mean we’re out of coffee!?!?!?!?!), mixing up my words (Chairs in your sit please!), and have very little patience (Did I mention I got peed on today?). Even my boss is noticing the bags under my eyes.
It’s now 1:40am on a work night, AND I am flying to Texas tomorrow. I know I should be in bed, but the anxiety over the trip and work beforehand is keeping me up.
I don’t have any answers or suggestions for this blog. I only have a promise. I am promising to try to get more sleep. I promise to search for the root of the problem, start getting in bed earlier, and sleep. Who’s going to hold me accountable?? Anyone else deal with insomnia?