I’ve written before about my struggles with insomnia. I’ve always attributed my insomnia to a few factors:
- Having divorced when my kids were ages 10 months and 2, as a single mom, in those earlier years – I didn’t sleep much at night. I was always up with one, or both of them, cuz it was just me
- As a Registered Nurse for the past 15 years – sleep was a priceless commodity. Starting with nursing school – – I was in nursing school as a single mom with babies. School during the morning…kids all day throught the evening and the only way I achieved my 3.8GPA in nursing school was to stay up all night studying – getting as little as 2-3 hours of sleep a night.
- My nursing career started out as ‘low-nurse-on-the-totem-pole’ so I would get all the graveyard 11pm – 7am shifts. Of course, when my kids were younger, and not in school yet – – getting home at 7am only meant staying up all day with them. When they got older – getting home at 7am meant staying up for awhile to get them fed and off to school. Still, my sleep patterns were sketchy – averaging about 3-4 hours of sleep per day
- I advanced in my nursing career and moved into hospital administration and became the Director of the Nursing department, a job which I held for the majority of my nursing career. That job was M-F 9-5 . . . except, I was on call 24/7. My days would end at 5pm – unless the PM shift nurse didn’t show up for work – in which case I would stay to work the floor until midnight – – drive an hour home, then get up at 5am, drive an hour back to work and do it again. Dont’ even ask about those nights where the night shift nurse didn’t show up. Average hours of sleep during those years? 3-4 hours a day…give or take.
- When I stepped down from my nursing administration job – I went back to bedside nursing and worked in home hospice. Again – a Mon-Fri job 8am-4pm. Except, again, I was on call almost constantly and sleep was out of my reach those years, as well
On top of all of the above – which is mostly work related, I would make the time for my kids, family and outside interests (which were few during those years after making time for job and kids). It would not be unusual for me to go without sleep for 1-2 days at a time, just to fit in everything that needed doing in my life.
Fast forward to present day? My life has settled down quite a bit. My kids are older, which leaves me more time for me. My job is not quite so demanding – – but it’s easy for me to put in long hours because I’m a “make everyone happy” type of person…so when I can’t sleep – it’s easy to just pad into my office and sit down and work.
I feel like after all those years of missing much sleep – my body is just accustomed to it. Now that I want to get myself on normal schedule of sleep – my body is rebelling against it.
I’m currently going through one of the worst bouts of insomnia that I have ever experienced in my adult life. Yesterday? I finally went to bed at about 7pm . . after having been up a full 40 hours in a row. Physcially? I felt fine. I didn’t feel run down or tired at all – – my body just wasn’t interested in sleep. But when sleep finally did come? It hit me like 1000 tons of bricks. Last night I slept from 7pm until 4am this morning. That’s NINE full hours of sleep!
Now I’m worried what the consequences of that will be. Will I be awake again for the next 40 hours again? Should I see a doctor? I don’t want to take medication at all. I have no physical complaints to speak of.
I’ve tried the usual:
Warm milk. /spit
Warm showers. I’ve taken so many warm showers in the past 2 weeks – the water company will be banging down my door soon.
Counting sheep? The sheep mock me, doesn’t work.
Reading. Good books make me just want to keep turning pages until I”m done. Boring books make my mind wander onto other things I could be doing (like work?)
Soft music. This doesn’t help either.
Seems the only time I can actually fall asleep is when I am soooooooooooooo tired, I couldn’t possibly take another step.
Any insomnia tips and cures out there? I’m going to have to start researching this – – it’s beginning to affect things.