Friday, 20 November 2015

Sleepless Nights

Sleep.

Everyone loves it, and the health and wellbeing benefits are well-documented.

But I’m just a bit rubbish at it.

I’ve never been a big sleeper. For as long as I can remember I’ve been an early-riser. Even if I’d had a late night, I’d be up bright and early.

That in itself isn’t a problem; I’m a real morning person, and find my mornings to be so productive.
However, as the years carried on, and as times became a bit tougher and my anxiety began to make itself known, any chance of a good sleep BEFORE the early wake-up went out the window.

That’s when being an early riser becomes a problem. Because even if I hadn’t calmed my thoughts enough to fall asleep until 3am, I’d be wide awake at 6am.

Once or twice, that’s ok. But when you’re going night after night after night of between three and five hours of sleep, it starts to take its toll.

I know some people can barely function without a full eight hours of sleep, and that’s definitely not me. I sometimes look back at periods where my sleep has been particularly bad and wonder how on earth I was still functioning, turning out a high quality of work at school and university, or doing full working weeks.

There comes a point though where you can’t keep that up. Even if you CAN function, it’s not healthy.

It catches up with you.

My immune system definitely suffers when I’m sleeping badly, and I can be much more emotional too. You can also see it in your appearance – my skin and hair are just more lacklustre, and I don’t look ‘myself’ to those who know me well.

And where’s my sleeping at now?

It’s up and down. But it’s not great.

And I’m all out of sync. I’m exhausted at 7pm, but wide awake at 3am. So yes, on the nights I sleep throughout that time I’m getting a good amount of hours. The problem is, that period is certainly not unbroken sleep, and I usually wake multiple times.

I’ve tried the usual tricks, like a dark room, at the right temperature, not surrounded by electrical devices. I’ve tried to do calming things before sleep. But I’m still just not very good at it.

So this is going to be my new focus. I want to make my sleeping pattern a bit more ‘normal’, and improve the quality of my sleep. I just know that with how bad my sleep is currently, upgrading those nights to proper nights of sleep will do me the world of good.

My first step is not letting myself doze off straight after getting in from work, I’m going to try and stay up a little later, and not let myself get up when I wake up at 3am feeling like it’s 9am.

And after that… I’m not sure yet.

It’s going to be a process.

But that’s what I’m working on.

Let me know any tips (not of the medication variety, please).


Here’s to getting some good nights of snoozing!


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