It has been a few months since I first wrote about having my arse well and truly kicked by insomnia here. I have been meaning to do a follow up post for ages but just haven’t got around to it. Well, actually that isn’t strictly true, I started to draft a post a few weeks ago about how much things had improved then I hit a really bad patch of sleeplessness and felt like I had jinxed myself. So I quickly deleted it in a fit of exhausted superstitiousness. As you do.
Quite by chance, a couple of big things that had been worrying me resolved themselves, such is life of course. It’s not something that I want to go into detail about here but I feel that this had a big part in easing my overall feelings of anxiety. Things always seem so much worse in the dead of the night and these worries would turn over and over in my mind as I struggled to sleep. But just like that they were gone. I also started to take Kalms herbal sleeping pills but to be honest, it’s hard to tell if they had any effect or not but I’m quite sure that they didn’t do any harm. I don’t take them all of the time now. Just when I am going through a bad bout of not sleeping which thankfully is less than it once was.
I had got into the habit of coming downstairs when I couldn’t get to sleep. I used to distract myself until I felt sleepy but actually with hindsight, I think this was just creating even more bad sleeping habits for me. The only time that I do this is when Mr Mostly’s snoring is driving me absolutely mad! A snorer and an insomniac do not make the best of bedfellows! Ha! It’s not his fault for one minute of course but trying to sleep over the sound of him snoring is not the easiest, and of course it only serves to remind me that he is sound asleep while I am not! So yes sometimes, I do take myself downstairs to read for half an hour or so before coming back to bed and trying all over again but I definitely have a higher tolerance to his snoring than I once did. Similarly, Mr Mostly is learning to tolerate my quietness on a morning. He was mistaking my quietness for moodiness which it really wasn’t, it was just sheer exhaustion. I think it can be hard to understand how somebody can wake up exhausted unless you have been there yourself. But I think we have both learnt to be kinder to each other over these last couple of months and that can only ever be a good thing.
Another thing to make a difference to me is to have an afternoon nap. I used to be terrified that sleeping during the day would mean that an awful night would follow but actually for me, it seems to have the opposite effect. I’m not talking about hours and hours here just the smallest of nods, normally about ten minutes, never more than twenty. I don’t get to do it every day of course but I sneak it in whenever I can and it makes me feel so much better for the rest of the day. I started keeping a journal of everything that I thought might make a difference to my sleep patterns and there was little rhyme or reason to any of it except for the nap thing. On days that I had a nap, I normally went on to have a good night and I don’t think it was a coincidence.
Things are much better than they were when I wrote about them back in February but I don’t think I will ever be ‘cured’. At the moment I am having more good nights than bad and that is good enough for me. The biggest thing has been coping with the feelings of anxiety and teaching myself that actually it’s okay just to rest and that sleep isn’t the be all and end all come bedtime. That actually, it’s okay just to lay there to quietly rest. As simple as that sounds, that was a huge revelation to me and lifted so much pressure. The thing is that I don’t think that I can ever imagine having a proper nights sleep again and a big part of dealing with my insomnia has been accepting that.
So that’s where I am right now. One of the main reasons that I wanted to write a follow up though was as a thank you to all the people who gave me so much advice both here and on Twitter. There’s reassurance in the fact that so many people have had the same struggles and that some have managed to overcome them. And of course, I was open to any help that I could get as I was caught up in such an awful cycle of anxiety and sleeplessness. So a huge thank you to you all!