The Randomness of Insomnia
There was a time in my life when I could reliably predict my insomnia – it was so chronic that I barely slept and I could guarantee every night was a nightmare. That is no longer the case for me because now I am coping with random sleepless nights with insomnia.
Sadly comforted from consistent insomnia
In the past, there was a sad comfort in knowing I wouldn’t sleep. It was predictable.
When everyone else went to bed I could put plans in place to entertain myself for the evening and to try and eek a moment of sleep out of my exhausted body.
Random sleepless nights with insomnia
Now sleepless nights are random and unexpected. While on the 1 hand, I am grateful that modern medicine and psychological therapy have combined to give me regular sleep, on the other hand, it is always distressing to have an attack of insomnia out of the blue.
Random bouts of insomnia are just depressing. I go to bed in good faith, confident that my medication and newly formed mental habits will let me drift off into slumberland. And for the most part that is true. But then there are nights when I just don’t sleep well.
And it’s not nice.
Unexpected insomnia despite my best efforts
Due to the effects of drugs, I almost always fall asleep. But there are occasions when an hour later I’m wide awake. In the past, I would have gotten out of bed and gone downstairs to the television, probably passing the fridge on the way for a bowl of cereal to cheer me up.
Now, I stay in bed and try to put into practice all the skills I have learned to calm my body: breathing and relaxation exercises, meditation, mindfulness, grounding, and prayer. I developed a habit of conscious daydreaming where I would send myself into some happy place and try to live out a dream in the hope my body would get the hint and go to sleep.
Despite all these best practices, there are still nights when the randomness of insomnia hits. It might be stress playing on my mind or physical illness keeping me awake. Sometimes there seems to be no cause. But whatever the reason, the surprise of a bad night leaves its mark the next day.
Accepting random sleepless nights is harder
I coped better with insomnia when it was daily and expected. I just shrugged my shoulders and accepted that was my lot in life. With random bouts of sleeplessness, it is hard to practice acceptance. There is always the hope that it’s a one-off bad night and I’m only a few short hours away from mental reprieve.
How random insomnia affects my body
My body is more fatigued with random insomnia. It was probably just as fatigued when my sleepless nights were chronic and predictable, but it was my normal way of living so I didn’t notice.
Now I have days where I feel rested, so when a bad night hits the exhaustion the following day is really noticeable. Lethargy oozes from my pores and drips from my fingers. There is a heaviness to my body and a cloudy haze around my thought processes.
Basically, I can’t cope with random insomnia as well as I coped with it on a daily basis.
Why are random sleepless nights harder than consistent insomnia?
I think expectations have a lot to do with it. When you expect to sleep, it is disappointing and frustrating not to get any. When you don’t expect it, nothing is lost.
Last night I did not sleep well. I tossed and turned and bemoaned the temperature. I did get some sleep – so much more than I used to get – but nowadays I expect to go to bed, fall asleep, have a dream or 2, wake for brief moments occasionally, then get up in the morning. Feeling like I’m awake more than I’m asleep wears me out.
How to cope with random sleepless nights
I think today I will be kind to my body and take a nap. Because pushing my fatigued body up a mountain is no longer something I do. Now when random nights of insomnia strike, I treat myself kindly the next day. We only get to live 1 life, I want to live it gently.
How do you cope with random sleepless nights? Please share a comment below.
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