Insomnia and Bed Dread
Last updated: May 2023
I need to just come right out and say it without mincing words. I dread going to bed. I mean that with every fiber of my being. I absolutely hate bedtime. Thinking about trying to settle into bed fills me with anxiety.
Somewhere around 7 PM each night, I start to fret. Heading toward my bed with nothing but negative thoughts about the coming hours is getting old.
I didn't always have bed dread
My life wasn’t always this way. In fact, there was a time when I loved crawling into bed. Why wouldn’t I? It was my favorite part of the day. All things comfortable and cozy awaited me. There was something so reassuring and almost freeing about snuggling beneath the covers with the quilt pulled up to my chin.
After living with insomnia for a few years now, I realize that I was being soothed by the notion that I could actually doze off with no problem. Falling asleep was as easy as placing my head on the pillow and closing my eyes. I had no doubt I would rest and enjoyed the prospect immensely.
How I miss my old routines!
Years ago, nighttime routines were the best. As a college freshman, I stayed up late to watch Are You Being Served?, ate a bowl of ice cream, and relished the delightful feeling of drowsiness that would begin to wash over me. It was like clockwork. Not, perhaps, the healthiest of choices for a bedtime routine, but it sure worked for me.
After I had my children, I regularly got in a few episodes of Will and Grace or Golden Girls before shutting down for the day, and I was off to bed for a very welcome 6 to 8 hours of solid snoozing.
Insomnia changed the game
Life is so different now. I can’t even begin to imagine looking forward to my time in bed. After all, who in their right mind looks forward to a fight? Because, let’s face it, for insomniacs, bedtime is a fight to the finish.
From the time we start to think about turning in for the night to the time our feet hit the floor in the morning, we are taking part in a battle we didn’t choose but are forced to finish. Most of us don’t come out on top.
Bed dread is real
I would give anything to not dread sleeping. To be able to shower, settle, and sleep would be a dream come true – no pun intended there. Facing the fitful tossing and turning and the inevitable rising anger is absolutely exhausting. Funny enough, it’s not exhausting enough to make me sleep – a shame, that is. Bed dread is real, and it stinks.
Frustrated? You're not alone
That’s kind of my no-holds-barred assessment of insomnia as a 46-year-old who used to love bedtime and all the joy successful sleep can bring. I didn’t come here to offer comfort this time because, today at least, I can’t. I came here instead to offer you a shoulder to cry on.
You are not alone in your frustration. You are certainly not the only one out there who misses what used to come so easily and regularly. When you are at your worst, staring wide-eyed at the ceiling and feeling completely defeated, come back to this article. We are out here – tons of us staring at the ceiling right along with you fighting the silent fight.
Do you have bed dread? Tell us how you cope (or feel free to vent!) in the comments below.
What do you do at night when you can't sleep?