You may not know this about me but I suffer from chronic insomnia. It’s not like I’m alone – between 15 to 30% of the world’s population suffer from insomnia and it is the second most common health complaint after pain.
There was never a time that I can remember that I didn’t suffer. Even as a child I was an extremely light sleeper and struggled both with going to sleep and with waking up several times every night. I also suffered from sleep paralysis and sleep walking – the latter until my late teens!
For many years, I was plagued by nightmares which only stopped in my mid 30’s. These days I rarely have a nightmare and when I do, it’s like I can’t be arsed to feel any fear. For instance, I could be dreaming about being brutally murdered (having my guts torn out or something like that) and I’m like ‘whatever.’
Of course, I often wondered why I couldn’t sleep through a whole night. While I have no proof, I believe my sleep-related problems mostly stem from not feeling safe and secure in my own home growing up.
Now that I have created a safe environment for myself, the problems should go away, right? The problem is that my inability to sleep seems to be hard-wired into my brain. Believe me when I say I have tried everything in terms of natural remedies, changing my habits and creating soothing bedtime rituals.
These days, I have no problems with falling asleep. If anything I really struggle if I want to read in bed, rarely making it past the first page. The problem is that I still wake up three times every night on average.
A recent doctor’s visit prompted this post. She asked me when I last had a decent night’s sleep. In reply, I burst into tears and told her I couldn’t remember – which is God’s honest truth.
On the plus side, waking up after most sleep cycles, I some nights remember up to five (sic!) dreams. Maybe I was ‘blessed’ with insomnia for this very reason. :P
Some of you may wonder how it is possible to function under a state of chronic sleep deprivation. I believe we adjust mentally (except for occasional end-of-tether days), but the physical body ends up paying the price. At the minute, I’m aware of lowered immunity and I have no doubt in my mind that it is due to lack of sleep.
I’m sharing this because I want to hear from other insomniacs out there… I want to know if you have figured out what the root cause of your sleeping problem is and what you are doing to sleep better – especially if what you are doing helps!
Angel Starlight Blessings,