Insomnia kicking my ass


I’ve written before about my struggles with insomnia. I’ve always attributed my insomnia to a few factors:

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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16 thoughts on “Insomnia kicking my ass”

  1. Have you tried Melatonin yet? You can start at a 1mg dose and work up to 10 if needed and it isn’t a sleeping pill it’s a synthetic form of the sleep hormone melatonin your body produces in normal circumstances. No sleeping pill hangover. It’s good stuff. 🙂

  2. Hey Chelle 🙂

    I have tried Melatonin in past, yes. It did nothing whatsoever for me.
    I’ve also tried “Sleepy Time Tea”. Nothing.

    Got a sledgehammer? 😉

  3. I fairly recently found out I am bipolar. But even on the Eskalith I have bouts of insomnia and manic modes where I can’t sleep. But I have clonopin to help bring me down and since I have such a low tolerance to medication to makes me sleepy, half a dose generally knocks me out. Fortunately I don’t have to take it too often, it can be addictive if taken on a regular basis.

  4. My insomnia is usually a result of anxiety. If I talk it out with someone, then I can sleep. Also taking a benadryl helps me.

    But that doesn’t seem to be what causes yours. Sheesh. Here all this time I thought you were changing the time on your posts to make it look like you were an insomniac. 😛

    I jest, I jest! *runs away*

  5. Astro – I swear, you men are ALL the same! lol

    Good sex works for Chris too (in more ways than just sleep 😉 – he is out like a light within 5 minutes. Me? Too revved to sleep, I think :”>

  6. I’m an insomniac, mainly because my brain never switches off at night – I’m mentally hyperactive (that and the fact that I’m a “night owl”. I could probably become nocturnal if it wasn’t for the selfishness of normal people wanting to get up in the morning and stuff). But 40 hours?!?
    As for good sex, well, it wouldn’t work for me. Being English I have to have a cup of tea afterwards. And it sometimes takes a while for me to untie (mumble mumble) …

  7. I’ve always been on reverse cycle (night awake, day sleep) for as long as I can remember. A benadryl or good sex help basically forcing self to go to sleep works. But now that the boyfriend is away, i’ve falling back into my old routine (hence posting at 2am)

    No good answer, I’ve tried exercise, but if i get to much it keeps me up.. Ambien just makes me sleep walk…

    Good luck…

  8. Ok. This will sound weird, but whenever I have trouble sleeping, I revert to my days as a very young child and rub the satin edge of a blanket (as a child it was referred to as “scratchy” in our house) between my index and middle fingers. When I got my first real job I traveled nearly every week, and I had great difficulty sleeping in hotels and this always helped me get sleep. It is quite soothing.

  9. another sleepy girl

    Lisa: I have tried Ambien and in the past it worked, but no longer. there is Ambien CR (“controlled release”) which is supposed to help with the early am interuptipe awakenings…just a thought…there is also an herbal supplement called velarian root (sp?)…i heard some good things about it…i know you don’tlike to take drugs, and I commend you for that, but if it is affecting your life too much, and of course with a Dr.’s advice, you may want to try again. Do you have any health problems becuse of the insomnia?…that’s what wories me. I take meds for depression, (and have ADD as well) so there is very little I can take, except Ambien CR, and I do not like to take it every night…hence my 5am email…and sometimes I have taken it and still stayed up til 4 or 5am (in a delerious state). TO: Harbormaster: I love the “blanky” idea!…no drugs and if it works, who the hell cares if it “sounds” wierd…it sounds more “normal” than drinking yourself to sleep (which I am not proud to say I have done on rare occasions)…I love those little bean bag pillows and find them very comforting…and the best yet, is a “sound soother” (from “sharper image”)..i listen to the thunderstorm sound all the time and although it is too late that I turn it on, it does relax me! it is not inexpensive (approx $70-$100 – bad memory!!!!), but considering 2 of my meds cost $50.00/each per month, it is worth the investment…
    another option would be to find cd’s with sounds that you enjoy (ie: rain, waterfalls, soft classical – although I am a Hip-Hop fan – is also relaxing)….any advice for me….i’m still awake!!!…often better at giving than receiving!


  11. One-third of all adult Americans–about 50 million people–complain about their sleep. Some sleep too little, some fitfully, and some too much. Although one-third of our lives is spent asleep, most of us don’t know much about sleep, not even our own. We don’t even know exactly why we sleep, other than–like an overnight battery recharge–sleep promotes daytime alertness. Sleep problems profoundly disturb both sleeping and waking life.

    Some useful resource to help you out from all kinds of sleep disorders


  12. Seems like a really old post so who knows if anyone reads this. I have struggled with this for almost 3 years. On the nightly, I take 2000 mg’s of L-Tryptophan, 1 pill of the 3 mg melatonin, and about 4 of the 1 mg melatonin. On really bad nights I add Valerian Root into that as well, and try to leave on the tv on so I can barely hear it so it drones. This works most of the times unless I have really high anxiety for whatever reason. (anything will kick it in) And all my anxiety is about sleep so it’s a bad combo. I don’t want to take medication so I kind of try to work through it…

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