Thursday, 5 November 2015

Don't Believe The Hype: Why I Don't Follow Advice for Insomniacs

I've been an insomnia enthusiast for a few years now and it would appear that I'm not likely to lessen my dedication to it any time soon.   When it first started, I just assumed it would eventually disappear and I'd revert back to sleeping through the night and feeling refreshed and ready to face the world each morning.    Only, it didn't pass.   It still hasn't.    

It'd be funnier if it wasn't true

After a year of so of feeling absolutely dreadful and reading all sorts of advice and tips about how to cope with insomnia, I gave up.   Nothing really seemed to work.  All that advice about  not reading made me wonder what I was actually supposed to do instead; and the whole 'not thinking' thing, well...it made me think more (I'm awkward like that).

In honour of many years spent considering my difficultly gettin' snoozy, I haven't really discovered things that DO work, but I have uncovered a list of things that have no impact whatsoever.    As a seasoned sleep deprived woman, I now laugh in the face of insomnia advice.   I can usually be found doing this in a somewhat maniacal fashion, on my own, very late at night.  

Hmmm....

Drinking Hot Milk:   What a load of nonsense.  Unless you're worried about a Vitamin D deficiency or have rickets, don't bother with it.   Drink wine.   I'm only half kidding here.  Sometimes, a few drinks sends me to sleep and other times it disrupts me even more.    However, milk, Ovaltine, or any other milky drinks (White Russians aside) just upset my tiny bladder.   It's one thing being awake during the night; it's a whole other thing actually prising yourself out of bed, in the dark, trying not to break your toe on the edge of the bed as you fumble your way to the bathroom in desperate need of a pee.   

Don't Read Your Kindle:   Why not?   I bought it, so surely I should be getting my money's worth?   Apparently, though, the light will wake me up.    No, no, no!   The glare from a strobe light being shone in my face by the Spanish Inquisition will keep me awake.  That dull light from that tiny little screen?  Don't make no difference, sister.     Read my Kindle, don't read my Kindle:  I'm still not sleeping.

Don't Watch TV:  WHY?   Can't I watch just a little bit?  I promise I'll keep the volume down so as not to disturb the sleeping people.   This is another one that doesn't really have any impact.    Unless, of course, I happen to catch a bit of The Apprentice or some other reality rubbish.   They should prescribe THAT at the sleep clinic.    Sometimes, the TV can take my mind off lying in the dark wondering why I'm still awake.    For a good while, in my early 20's, I tuned in to Sesame Street at stupid o'clock every morning and it was my saviour.     I still love you, Oscar the Grouch.   


How I look after a decent sleep

Warm Baths:   Being cleaner doesn't make me any more tired.    I would love to know if I can read my Kindle in the bath before trying to sleep, or is it just in bed I shouldn't be using it?   I'm confused.   Either way, it don't work.  

Kalms/Night Nurse/Zonkital:  Basically, any kind of herbal remedy I've tried (and there's been a few) have been entirely ineffective.  I take prescribed medication at night and that doesn't always work, so nothing else really has  a fighting chance.    

Being Tired:  Tried it.   Try it every night, mainly around 8pm when I think I could sleep for DAYS, and then I go to bed and BOOM....wide awake.    I can put in an 8 hour shift, drive to the leisure centre and swim 40 lengths, get home and make dinner, and I'm still twiddling my thumbs come 11pm.   
Clear your mind of all thoughts....  yeah, right.

Meditation:   Leave.   Do it now.   I can't clear my head for long enough for meditation to stick.   I'm all 'I wonder if the house is on fire" and 'what the hell was that odd noise that almost certainly sounded like an axe murderer??'.   You know, normal everyday thoughts that invade your brain at the most inopportune moments and won't go away.   I've tried, but my brain's too active.  ALL THE TIME.   

Yoga/Gentle Exercise:   Nope.  Nothing here, either.  Aside from the fact that I'm absolutely not bendy or flexible in any way, shape or form:  I just don't like it.    Yoga, that is.   I don't much like other exercise, either, but I do it every day regardless.    

To be honest, I've spent years reading different points of view and advice, but generally find it doesn't make great deal of difference to me.   The only thing that keeps me sane during the time i spend awake is listening to Audio books.   They don't particularly help me sleep, but they do distract me from the nonsense that whizzes around my brain and DOES stop me sleeping.    

Unfortunately, I'm now so reliant on them, I think I won't be able to sleep without them.    Seriously, if my internet is down (and I live in Wales, so that's quite a common occurrence) I send myself into a state of panic if I think I'll have to go to bed without someone to read me a story.    I've amassed around 80 audio books in the past 5 years and, according to my stats page on the Audible app, I've listened continuously for 3 months.    Basically, after all that, I'm still knackered, but I have spent a fair bit of money and know a lot more stuff.   

Do you suffer from insomnia or have trouble sleeping?  How do you cope with it?


Suzanne



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