Extreme Exhaustion Made My Life A Living Nightmare
I’m not ME when I’m exhausted. I turn into an irritable, restless, moody bitch. As a recovering insomniac, I’ve suffered most of my life.
Much like a child, exhaustion turns me into a tall, toddler who needs a nap. And, although it’s common to experience the occasional sleepless night, I’ve suffered through chronic insomnia that made my life a living nightmare.
“Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama.
We spend about 25 years of our life, asleep. A good night’s rest is important for overall health, allowing your body and brain to recharge. But, for something so natural, it’s hard to understand why so many people have difficulty mastering the art of healthy sleep. Suffering from chronic or even occasional insomnia can have a real impact on your life. So what is insomnia?
If you’ve ever been told to ‘sleep on it’ or that ‘everything will seem better in the morning’, you can understand how sleep impacts your mood and your decision-making abilities. Turns out, how well you sleep affects nearly every aspect of your life. You’ve likely experienced the occasional sleepless night, but imagine going 11 nights without ANY sleep? That’s the longest amount of time someone has gone without sleep! An exhausting 264 hours. Source
Sleepiness can lead to poor eating habits, irritability, and higher levels of depression and anxiety. Imagine how cranky you would be after 11 sleepless nights? Any insomniac will tell you, after a few sleepless nights you feel pretty crabby.
Being An Insomniac, Ruined Much Of My 20s.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been OBSESSED with sleep. Probably because I’ve never been very good at it. I suffered through many sleepless nights in my 20s, wide awake trying so hard to fall asleep. I was a clinically diagnosed insomniac, sleeping only every few nights for a couple of hours. Prescription sleeping pills didn’t seem to do anything to help, in fact, they made me more groggy throughout the day. I began to dread bedtime. I’d describe this experience as a living hell. It was the worst time of my life.
Extreme exhaustion led to depression, anxiety, and even paranoia. But don’t just take my word for it. Studies have shown repeatedly that insomniacs are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, compared to those who sleep regularly. In fact, insomniacs are 10 times more likely to have clinical depression and 17 times as likely to have clinical anxiety. Source
It wasn’t until I addressed the real underlying issues beyond being an insomniac, that I began to feel some relief. Here’s how I did it. If I can recover from my living nightmare, I’m sure I can help you sleep better tonight!
Steph’s Sleep Tips, Proven To Help Even The Worst Insomniac
Step One: Create a bedtime routine and try your best to stick to it. This has helped me a lot, and if my nightly routine is thrown off my quality of sleep is affected. Your routine can include a relaxing Valerian and hops bath, followed with a cup of tea and some reading (No, you’re Facebook updates and emails do not count). Then, brushing your teeth, putting on your PJs, turning off lights, setting your alarm, probably a lot of the things you do already.
Step Two: Turn off all devices. Cellphones, video games, and laptops interfere with our sleep quality, not only making it harder to doze off, but also interrupting our slumber with text messages, emails, and phone calls. For good night’s sleep, take the technology out of the bedroom.
Charles Czeisler, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said exposure to artificial light before going to bed can increase alertness and suppress the release of melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone. Source
Electronics Before Bed Ruin Sleep Quality
Nearly 95 percent of people questioned in an NSF (National Sleep Foundation) study said they used some type of electronics in the hour before going to bed, and about two-thirds admitted they do not get enough sleep during the week. Source
Step Three– Write down whatever is weighing heavy on your mind. Keeping a little notebook beside your bed so you can jot down ideas and thoughts before going to sleep is a great way to unload your mind. I find this helps separate me from whatever is going on in my mind.
Melatonin is a hormone that’s made by the pineal gland in the brain. It helps control your body’s sleep-wake cycle. After I take it, I usually get that good sleepy feeling within 20-30 minutes:)
Use This Sleep Potion
Step Five– spritz a little Lavender pillow and take 10 deep breaths. Fill your lungs right up and hold for a few seconds before you exhale. Studies show that lavender induces a deeper sleep and may even have the super power to turn you into a morning person. Hey, it’s worth a shot! Source .
Step Six– Practice gratitude. Studies show that expressing gratitude helps you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. Source
So, even if tomorrow is Monday, I’m thankful that I’m able to sleep well at night. Positive thoughts before bed can push aside the negative feelings and create a sense of inner peace- the perfect environment for quality sleep.
Step Seven– Put on a good Contoured eye mask (the one I linked is even good for eyelash extensions). Exposure to light can diminish your body’s natural melatonin levels.
As you lay down and prepare for a great night’s sleep, picture a peaceful, happy environment. It can be a sleepy town with a quiet beach, or scenic drive through gentle, rolling meadows. Imagine you have all the time in the world to discover your surroundings. Allow yourself to experience everything with all of your senses as you drift off into the perfect slumber.
If you’ve ever been an insomniac, share your sleep tips below. What got you through it?
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