MH – Insomnia; It may not be as bad as you think

I often have Insomnia, like many people it is one of the symptoms of my Mental Health issues.

At times it is more or less just broken sleep after difficulty getting to sleep. Sometimes it is hours of inability to sleep, hours. I have three ways of handling my Insomnia.

Firstly if I have concerns I may not get straight to sleep I will sometimes stay up an extra hour or two. This is my least favourite coping mechanism as it reduces the hours available to sleep in. ?However this is often the easiest thing to attempt.

Secondly, if I have gone to bed but failed to get to sleep I will meditate. I do this laid down exactly as I lay to go to sleep. I concentrate my mind on my breathing but I ignore any sensation from the body. I let my mind wonder, let it imagine things, unguided. I usually get visions of people, sometimes snatches of conversation. The visions move around and at times are detailed but usually quite undefined. This often works well and I drift off. It is of course just a few steps on from counting sheep as you imagine them jumping a fence.

Thirdly, if I wake in the middle of the night and seem to be too awake to sleep I will read, check a few internet pages, watch a TV show on my mobile phone. After an hour or two I can often get back to sleep.

These coping mechanisms do not always work. Sometimes I will fall in to a cycle of Panic Attacks. One such problem on Friday night meant one curtain had been ripped down when I woke on Saturday – I once almost knocked myself out when the curtain rail came down and cracked me on the forehead, it was solid wood. My curtains are tacked up for this reason, easy to put back up and less of a risk to my head.

Insomnia is awful, it can cause knock on affects, not least the obvious lack of energy the next day.

The next day I manage my energy levels with sugars. Energy drinks are useful for this and Fruit Pastels seem to help. Sadly the next day I have a heightened risk of Depression. That’s a risk from lack of sleep.

A friend of mine shared something on Facebook today that I found interesting. I’d just like to point out here that this friend is someone I’ve known for around 30 years, he is someone who is free thinking. I read the article he had shared about sleeping patterns, noticed it was a rework from another site and read the original.

While researching this article I came across a BBC article from 2012 that also looks at the evidence.

The articles both talk about the fact that it seems the idea of sleeping a period of roughly eight hours a night is relatively modern. It seems that we used to sleep in two separate periods and there appears to be quite a large amount of evidence that this was standard.

So one of my coping mechanisms might actually just be me sleeping as nature intended. That doesn’t help all of the types of Insomnia I experience but it does help one.

Maybe it would help all of us to know that modern life is to blame for some of our trouble sleeping. If we can accept that the disturbed sleep is perhaps nature at work and accept that it will remove the stress caused by thinking we are awake for some other reason. Just accept that this happens, perhaps that will help us drift off again naturally.

Modern life has many ways that it alters how we would function as an animal. The set hours we go to work or school for one. We should alter how we live through the seasons, all other animals do. But we can’t make that choice alone, Employers wouldn’t like it.

What we can do, I hope, is manage our sleep a little better by being a little kinder to ourselves. If nature wakes you do some little chore, listen to some music – do whatever you feel comfortable doing. And see if nature helps you drop off again. If you are relaxed sleep will come more easily.

Sleep well.

Thanks for reading.

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2 comments on “MH – Insomnia; It may not be as bad as you think

  1. Alex says:

    I know how you feel. I have struggled with sleepdisorders half my life. I wish I could offer you some helpful advice, but I have yet to find a non-drug solution to this problem myself. All I can say is good luck and get well soon. I appreciate all the hard work you put into this blog.

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