The Many Layers of My Insomnia
Last updated: July 2023
There are very few things in my life that have been simple. This is something that I have made peace with. There are always many small things making up bigger things and so on. This rings especially true where my insomnia is concerned.
It has never been just one thing that caused or triggered my insomnia. That in itself makes it harder to treat, and get to that one thing that really helps. Therefore I am always trying a variety of small things in an attempt to treat it from various perspectives and sides.
Sleepless in the summer
This one is very much out of my control - summer months are relentless for me. My insomnia is usually at its very worst. I get next to no sleep. I find myself constantly tired, grumpy, and out of sorts through and through. I struggle to get comfortable; the heat overwhelms me, and I am just left awake.
I use fans to cool the room down, all of the obvious solutions in play, and find all sorts of ways to cool my apartment and bedroom down. Air conditioning is not something that is standard.
Battling a busy mind
My mind cannot slow down. Being neurodivergent makes this incredibly challenging as I am unable to align my thoughts in a way that makes any kind of sense most days. This applies to nighttime too, trying to shut down my mind to get ready for bedtime and allow myself to fall asleep is an every night challenge.
I find that journalling before bed can be helpful. However, it is very hit-or-miss for me. My go-to is guided meditation, this way I am constantly brought back to listen to someone's voice and I am able to fall asleep quite easily some nights when my insomnia is not at its absolute worst.
I have both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, so pain is a regular part of everyday life for me. My skin is either itching and paining or my joints and everything else in between simply hurts.
Pain levels vary from something you can sleep with to absolutely unbearable where I cannot sit or stand or sleep. There is no comfort to be found, so this is something that also needs to be tackled on its own ground. There is very little I can do to control it, I do however go out of my way to find ways to make myself comfortable to sleep.
This is the most difficult for me to treat, I have no idea why, when, or how long it will last. There is not always a reason for my insomnia. Sometimes I simply cannot sleep. None of my usual tips or tricks work - no guided meditation, and no perfect sleep routine, simply nothing helps.
During these times I will try, but when nothing else seems to be helping then I simply make peace and keep myself busy in the night when I should be sleeping. I take naps when I can. After a few days, if I see that my insomnia spell is not going to pass, I will then turn to medication to help get some sleep.
Trial and error, trial and error
With things always being what they are it is oftentimes a combination of treating each one (what I can anyway) to get enviable sleep, even though it is not often of good quality or consecutive.
I do find that it is worth taking the time to sit and break down what is happening in your life - with your work, relationships, health, and so on. Sometimes that makes a difference if you can tackle it from different angles. While it might not take your insomnia away it could help you get slightly better sleep.
What do you do at night when you can't sleep?