Insomnia: My Friend, My Enemy

Here we are, 2:50AM and I’ve been awake for half an hour. Sitting and tapping away, occasionally sipping a cup of coffee in the hopes it will help me sleep the rest of the night. This little trick only works after 3AM usually, but I’m hoping for the best. A headache lingers, my spine is tight, and there is a peculiar pain in the center of my left palm. Oh well, nothing really out of the ordinary going on.

 

Bokeh
Intentionally blurred light shown in photos.

The early morning hours have been come my time for solitude and reflection. At some point, generally between 2 and 5 every morning, I get frustrated with trying to sleep, and end up out of bed for an extended period of time. After a while, I will get sleepy again and wander back to bed for my second sleep. Usually this second sleep is better, and I can get 2.5 or 3 hours at a go. Often, earlier in the night 1-2 hours is all I can sleep at a stretch, then I bounce out of bed and around the house, get a drink, whatever. And back to bed to try again.

I don’t have trouble falling asleep most of the time, (thank God!) but the nightly process is fatiguing on its own. Not to mention the mental effects of your brain never having quite enough rest.

The emotional impact over the years has been significant. I used to beat myself up, and really hold myself hostage in bed, in the hopes that I would sleep better, but that didn’t really help. Avoiding naps for weeks at a time, or napping all I can for a short time, trying to just catch up. That’s impossible. And so the cycle continues.

 

Home care, supplements, soothing baths or a bit of “medicine.” A muscle relaxer, prenatal vitamin and one lone mood stabilizer go down the hatch, and I crawl into bed-but know I won’t be there for long.

Medications were the answer for a while, ever increasing doses of anything under the sun, Benedryl, Ambien, Seroquel of course. Seroquel is poison, but that’s for another post. More have come and gone, the names escape me. One left an awful taste, one, I battled through days of hangovers just due to the small hope that maybe I could get used to it and it might help then.

I no longer take sleeping medication.

Muscle relaxants are pretty effective for me, at least, so I take Zanaflex most nights-I’m not sure lately though, it might be wearing off and causing me to wake. There is no way to know definitively, and a girl’s got to sleep!

Coffee has an interesting affect on me during the wee hours. It is my hypothesis that it is interacting with whatever allows stimulants to be calming in the ADHD brain. ADHD is another topic for later. Coffee in the wee morning helps me focus and return to sleep, skipping it is kinda hellish, but I did stop drinking it so early for a while, just in case it was part of the problem, not a solution. Coffee in the afternoon or evening keeps me awake, with a crash afterward. I wonder, if, by extention, other chemicals/meds are processed differently at different times.

Thanks, I feel better now. About out of coffee, but I’ll be back in 3.

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