Insomnia: Waking More Than Usual
I tossed and turned last night. This was my third night of tossing and turning all night. While this is not unusual for someone with insomnia, the number of times I woke up was. I generally sleep an hour or two, sometimes more, without waking up. I did not sleep for more than half an hour without waking. This is a huge problem.
When I wake up more frequently, I feel like I have not slept at all. I am not able to reach a deep sleep that makes me feel rested. This leaves me feeling exhausted and frustrated.
Long nights lead to even longer days
I can generally function well as long as I can get at least one 2-hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep. I am not at the top of my game, but I can manage fairly well. When I cannot manage to get at least a 2-hour stretch of sleep, I spend the following day in a fog. The ability to focus and concentrate is nonexistent. I am disoriented and unproductive.
I am a control freak, and I freely admit that. Make no mistake, I am not saying I like to be in control of others, but I do like to be in complete control of myself and any projects I undertake. Feeling disoriented makes me feel like I am not in control, and I do not like that feeling. This leaves me extremely frustrated and agitated. My inability to contain my irritability leaves me feeling even more out of control.
Physical effects of worsening insomnia
Aside from the mental effects of insomnia, my body feels tired. I ache. My muscles feel sore and tender. Three nights without a 2-hour-long period of uninterrupted sleep has me physically and mentally exhausted. I can only compare the physical effects to the body aches associated with the flu. It just hurts all over, and only sleep can cure this ache.
The aches are accompanied by a heaviness in my limbs. It feels like it takes so much more effort to lift my arms and legs. They feel heavier, and this leaves me feeling even more exhausted. I just want to curl up in a ball and sleep for days. The problem is that I cannot do that. I cannot sleep. I am stuck in a rut of exhaustion and confusion.
Struggling to find an effective treatment
Of course, I could take a sleeping pill to force myself to sleep. The problem with that is I wake up feeling worse when I do. I feel groggy. I still feel disoriented and even more out of control. Nausea is added to the rest of my troubles. That is unacceptable to me, so I do not see that as an option.
I have tried different things over the years. It all makes me sleep for varying periods of time. None of it makes me wake up feeling better. None of it has what I would consider an acceptable amount of side effects. I am on this sleepless journey alone without any chemical assistance. It is a solo trip, and I am just trying to muddle through these long days.
In no way am I bashing anyone who uses sleeping tablets. I wish I could. I wish they were helpful for me, but they are not. If they helped me, I would be taking them, too.
Coping with insomnia and exhaustion
As exhausted as I am, I am still finding ways to get through the day. Caffeine is another no-no for me and I have mobility issues, so I have to be creative in finding ways to stay alert. I do not have many options. Music helps me get through a lot of days. Other days, I feel like I am just scraping by.
If you have any helpful tips for someone who cannot drink coffee and cannot take a walk, I would love to hear them. Help me find a way to get through these very long days of extreme insomnia. How do you stay focused on your worst days?
Will you take our Sleep Disorders Survey to raise awareness for insomnia?