A woman with insomnia with wide open eyes staring at the ceiling while lying in her bed

Too Tired to Sleep: The Irony of Exhaustion

At the end of the day, I am often exhausted.

The ability to fall asleep does not improve regardless of how tired I am when I go to bed. In fact, being overly tired often makes it worse.

The unwelcome second wind

Have you ever heard someone say they were too tired to sleep? I am sure many have experienced this at some point, and some struggle with it on a regular basis. The frustration of this exhaustion is compounded when you have become accustomed to functioning on little sleep.

Your body adapts and kicks into overdrive with a second wind. That burst of energy keeps you from falling asleep. That is what I mean when I say I am too tired to sleep. It seems to be a common occurrence for people who deal with insomnia.

We are often given advice on how to improve our sleep. I have been told to wear myself out by exercising before bed. That leads to an increase in energy, and the possibility of sleep ends for several hours. While this is helpful for some, it is not helpful for me. I have also been told to get out of bed earlier so I am tired enough to sleep at night. That leads to the second wind hitting around bedtime, so it only keeps me up later. I am certain others have the same experience.

The struggle to stay asleep

After struggling to fall asleep when I am overly tired, I find that I cannot stay asleep. In fact, I will wake up more often when I go to bed exhausted. My body keeps sending small bursts of energy throughout the night and waking me. It is difficult to go back to sleep when this happens.

For a brief period of time, I feel energized. Then I must wind down from that feeling in order to drift off again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Repeat nightly for weeks until exhaustion has turned your brain to mush.

A frustrating and vicious cycle

The older I get, the less energy I have. I am also in the midst of physical therapy to improve mobility, and this only adds to my exhaustion. I am too tired to push myself to exercise more, and I am too tired to sleep enough to have the energy to exercise.

This vicious cycle is hindering my progress. It is also adding to my frustration and trying my patience. I still have those bursts of energy throughout the day, but I am finding they do not last as long. The longer-lasting bursts of energy happen when I am trying to go to sleep.

Sleepless nights and drowsy days

As much as I struggle with getting enough sleep, I keep pushing to make it through each day. Many of us do. We are exhausted, and it is even more exhausting trudging through it all after spending hours staring at the ceiling at night.

What do you do when you are too tired to sleep? I cannot tell you that I have found a solution to this problem. I have not. What I can tell you is that if you struggle with being too tired to sleep, you are not alone. As a fellow insomniac, I feel your pain. May we all find a way to get a good night’s rest.

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