Navigating Insomnia by Learning to Listen to My Body

I hit 47 this year. Gah. I have to admit – not loving the way that sounds. But on with the show, right?

Strange things are happening to my body and right on track with the warnings of all the women who have gone before me. Aches, pains, and more oddities every other day. That’s okay. I can handle it. I won’t like it at all, but I can deal.

Over the last 2 years, since my tinnitus started and my insomnia kicked into high gear, I’ve tried to find new ways of coping. If I don’t, I will worry myself death.

Years spent ignoring my body's clues

I have decided to just listen to my body. When it comes to my sleep habits, I am now allowing myself to tune into my body’s cues. It’s taken me many years to realize that my body actually does let me know when it has had enough.

I’ve spent a lot of time working straight through projects when my body was all but screaming at me to slow down. I should have listened. Time after time, my aching back and utter exhaustion told me so.

Changing my mindset and learning to listen

The early stages of Meniere’s disease and 24/7 tinnitus began wearing me down 2 years ago. Beginning in October of 2019, my sleep habits rapidly went downhill. After spending my nights wide awake, teaching all day, and then tutoring after school, my body had had more than enough. By 6:30 each evening, I was ready to crash – completely. For several months, I fought it tooth and nail. I finally caved.

When my body, weary from work and the humming in my head, hits the couch and my eyes begin to close, I listen. My body is telling me that I may not sleep later, but I can catch up on some rest now. Naps have never been my thing, but they are growing on me. I find that if I ignore the nap signals, I pay for it later.

For me, there is sometimes such a thing as being too tired to sleep. If I can strike back at insomnia in this one simple way and score even occasionally, I’ll go for it.

Turning down the bed and the distractions

I have always been one to stay up late – as late as possible. Insomnia and my body have gotten together to teach me a little lesson about that habit. The later I try to stay up, the more difficult the struggle to fall asleep and the more I tend to wake during the night.

I have started to pay very close attention to the cues my body gives me around bedtime, especially those from my head and ears. If and when my tinnitus takes even a slight break, I head for the bed. Lights out, phone away, and noisemaker running, I prepare and pray for shuteye. I know there is a small window of opportunity for sleep before the noise in my head takes over.

Is my insomnia improving?

My decision to listen to my body has only been met with periodic success, but I’ll take it. Anything is better than lying wide awake wishing I had paid attention to my body’s signals. My insomnia may not be improving, but I am getting better at being kind to my body. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

What changes have you made to battle your insomnia? Does your body give you cues? Share with us in the comment section – we would love to hear from you!

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