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Friday, July 27, 2012

How I Deal with Insomnia

I'm a sleeper. Always have been. Growing up, my extended family loved to socialize late into the night, and, as a kid, I would simply curl up in the pile of coats when my eyes couldn't stay open. I've slept through storms and tornadoes--even one that landed a tree on top of my Grandma's house.

Sleep and I. We go together. (Sounds like that song...)


sleeping deer buck
Photo by jonnnnnn

Except when I have too much going on, sleep waves at me and says goodbye. Then I'm left tossing and turning, trying desperately to catch some zzz's. Or I fall into a coma-like sleep only to wake two hours later unable to fall back into that blissful dream-state.

Insomnia stinks. And, for me, it's like a rash--once it starts, it spreads.

Today's post is late, hours late, and one reason is because I've been fighting insomnia ever since we moved. Two nights ago, in order to get a good night's rest, I turned off Property Brothers before I found out which house they picked. And what happened? I ended up with a racing brain and no sleep for hours. The worst part? I wanted to cry that I missed Property Brothers--one of my favorite shows!

I wish I had a magic formula to eliminate insomnia, but I don't. All I can do is share my strategies on dealing with it.

First ask yourself the following questions:

1.  Is this a one-time occurence? If you normally sleep well but experience a night of little rest, try not to fret. It will clear up soon.

2. If the one night turns into a string of nights, ask yourself what is going on in your life that is stressing you out?

 For me, it's the combination of moving, remodeling, and driving my son to baseball several nights a week (it's in our old school district which adds two hours of driving time round trip).

3. Is there an end in sight for the source of stress you identified?

Our kitchen will be done within the week and I'll be able to unpack and cook again. This is the last weekend of baseball, and I'll have my evenings back. These two things will go a long way to calming me down.

Next, try these tips to survive until your sleep resumes a normal schedule.

1. If you're in bed, staring at the ceilling, try deep breathing exercises. One of my favorites? Inhale slowly and deeply as you count to six. Hold the breath as you count to four. Exhale slowly as you count to six. Repeat this until your body calms.

2. Try to stay awake. The purpose of this is to take your focus off the racetrack of jumbled thoughts and put it on keeping your eyes open. I'm usually exhausted when I have insomnia, and physically trying to keep my eyes open is hard. I often drift off.

3. Get out of bed and watch the rest of Property Brothers. What good does it do to stay awake in bed and miss your favorite show? You're up anyway! Enjoy it!

4. The next day, find pockets of time to close your eyes. I'm not talking about hours of naps; I'm talking about quiet periods of rest. You're going to be overtired if you're dealing with insomnia. Be kind to yourself.

5. Exercise. I know the last thing I want to do when I'm tired is exercise, but it truly does help me get my sleep cycles back on track. A 15 minute walk can do wonders!

6. Drink more water during the day. I get sleepy during the day, but staying hydrated helps me fight the drowsiness.

7. Last but NOT least--pray. Pray for the Lord to ease your busy mind, to take away the sources of stress, and to restore your sleep.

Have you ever dealt with insomnia? Do you have any tricks you'd like to share?

Have an amazing weekend!

6 comments:

  1. My dad dealt with it for years. He'd be able to fall asleep but then would wake up and not be able to go back to sleep. He did a sleep study and discovered he has sleep apnea. Now he wears a C-PAP machine and sleeps great.

    Praying you can get some sleep. I've had insomnia few times and it is no fun at all!

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  2. I'm sorry about the stress that is causing you insomnia, but I am so glad that some of that will soon cease.

    I do often struggle with insomnia. It is usually when my brain is overloaded because I have too much going on in my life. Usually, this involves people and how to deal with them.

    One thing I do, if I truly have tried, is just sit up and read a novel. Novels are the only sleep inducing books I have found. If it's a real good one, I may be in for trouble though. Your suggestions are good and I appreciate them.

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  3. Sorry your are going through that. It's the totally the move. Once you're really settled, you will sleep like a baby.

    I agree with exercise. Sometimes hubby and I walk about 10:30 pm, when we return, we are dog-tired.

    When I can't sleep and need to get up early, I do take a half of a Tylenol PM or Simply Sleep. I hate to do it but it works.

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  4. I have insomnia in spurts. Part could be due to fibromyalgia.Part due to the presence of caffeine in my system. I try to pray or mentally write on one of my writing projects. Caffeine senstivity cuts out a lot of things the rest of the world calls good: chocolate, cola beverages,Barqs Root Beer (Coca Cola product), coffee, and real tea.

    On a rare occasion I get to enjoy a piece of chocolate candy. I am thankful for white chocolate.

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  5. Thanks Jill! Insomnia is no joke. I haven't been able to sleep for months. I go to sleep late & have restless sleep & in the morning I'm peeling myself slowly off the bed :) ok really it isn't funny, but I gotta laugh or I'll cry. Thanks for sharing this post. In a way Im glad I'm not alone at 3am. Enjoy your weekend. hugs!

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  6. Sleep is a tricky thing. I have a couple of CD's that are to aid Relaxation and Sleep. I frequently play one of them as soft background music while I read and then when I'm ready to lie down my brain has gotten me in the mood.

    I also fall asleep to my favorite movies, the ones I have memorized.

    Sometimes I fall asleep while praying. Other times I fall asleep talking to one of the characters in a story I'm working on. The best news is then I usually sleep till morning.

    It has always taken me awhile to get used to a new home, and you have the ADDED issue of remodeling that's keeping you from settling in. Hopefully, all this will pass - and soon!!

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