Sorry for What I Said After Yet Another Sleepless Night

It’s safe to say that insomnia does strange things to our minds and bodies. Some of us find ourselves nodding off at work. Others are plagued with foggy thoughts. There are even large numbers who have physical effects like loss of balance and weakened immune systems. For me, one of the most frustrating things about days that follow sleepless nights is the increased irritability I experience. That irritability can lead to some awkward and sometimes regretful encounters.

How insomnia increases irritability

Being short with others is never something I set out to do. It has never been part of my agenda to snap at anyone, but a night with little to no sleep will inevitably bring out the worst in me.

Tossing and turning all night long leaves me feeling extremely irritable and leaves me tolerating less and less from those around me. In the last few years since my insomnia really kicked in, I have noticed exactly how it impacts my relationships – and it’s not something of which I am proud – at all.

Words hurt

From answering and making phone calls to dealing with the general public, I just feel less and less capable when I am tired. Questions that seem to have succinct and obvious answers – I have no time for them when my mind is weary. I tend to answer curtly. Again, not my goal, but definitely the way it goes many days.

My family, unfortunately, is not immune to my brief and cutting remarks following a night with no true rest. There have been many days I have looked back on exchanges with children and regretted the way I handled myself. I am no stranger to apologizing for both my lack of focus and my snappishness. Insomnia is no excuse for treating those around me less kindly than I should, but it is absolutely the cause.

Making things right

I am a teacher – I should be able to figure this out. There’s a way to help students who aren’t quite ready with the correct answer or who need more time to process a question. We give them some “think time.” Sometimes that little extra bit of time allows them to take a breath, search for the right words, and articulate their response. Why can’t this work for me? Why can’t stepping back from the situation, no matter how minor, and giving myself time to breathe work for me, too?

The answer to my insomnia might not be within my grasp, but I am capable of figuring out how to decrease the chances of uttering some stinging remarks. Giving myself “think time” is a great way to begin. The next time I feel that clapback about to snake its way from between my lips, I am going to think twice, then twice again. Controlling my insomnia won’t ever be that easy, but this is 1 way I can make my day better for everyone around me. “Think time”--noted.

Are others finding you less than a pleasure to be around after a sleepless night? Have you noticed that your tolerance is lacking? Tell us about how insomnia increases irritability in the comment section.

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