Things to Remember as an Insomniac
We all know that sleep is vital to our overall physical and emotional well being. After all, human beings were meant to spend a third of their lives asleep. Think about that. That also doesn’t take into account any additional physical or mental challenges a person is facing.
Extra rest can be instrumental in helping people with many chronic conditions feel their best or at least as good as they possibly can, given their illness.
Sleep deprivation and mental health
While there are many physical issues that can come from sleep deprivation, I’d like to talk about the emotional challenges that can accompany living with chronic insomnia. Lack of sleep can increase and/or cause so many mental health challenges including anxiety, depression, and inability to focus. It can make your brain feel racey and all over the place too.
I personally don’t have a creative bone in my body when I am so severely sleep-deprived. Moodiness, loss of patience, and irritability are some other exciting things that can go alongside living with insomnia.
Becoming more self-aware
It is because the side effects of living with insomnia are so plentiful, that I have tried very hard to be self-aware. I am constantly looking to understand why I feel a certain way and what may be causing it. Over the past year or so, I have tried to speak to myself more kindly. I have been focusing on giving my body and mind the understanding it needs (as corny as that may sound) by changing the way I think about things.
3 reminders for the middle of the night or the following day
- I try to remind myself that the emotional state I am in is a result of my body and brain not getting the rest it needs. For example, there is nothing wrong with me (or you) for feeling more anxious during this time. It is a completely “normal” reaction to sleep deprivation. It isn’t a reflection on YOU as a human being. Your brain/body is just missing a key component to work properly: sleep.
- If I cannot exercise or do much the following day except lay on the couch, I remind myself that it is not because I am lazy or don’t care about being a productive member of society. I am just not going to put that extra stress on my body since sleep deprivation causes enough stress. Again, I do my best to ingrain in myself that this is not what I WANT but merely something I am doing to take care of myself. The same is true for you.
- If I am craving a lot of unhealthy foods, I remind myself why my body wants those foods. While I do give my body what it desires most of the time, I try to think about healthier alternatives (if possible). I have found being self-aware about this can go a long way towards cutting yourself some slack AND not making things worse mentally by eating all the things.
Sleep deprivation takes a toll
Living with chronic insomnia SUCKS. Seriously. It can be awful in so many ways; especially if you struggle with other challenges like many of you reading this. It is so important to remember that there is nothing wrong with you for feeling the effects that sleep deprivation can have. It would be weird if you didn’t. Please know so many of the things you think and feel stem from lack of sleep. It isn’t you.
What do you wish others knew about insomnia? Share your story below.
Are people dismissive of your insomnia?