Sleep – Sam

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I have a terrible relationship with sleep, toxic in fact. I starve myself if sleep because sleep won’t come to me when I need it. So, it’s out of spite and prior painsomnia I think. I usually get to sleep around 4/5am; sleeping until past midday.

All to ensure that I gobbled up my alone, daytime hours. Although I was in silence in the dead of night, he always lay beside me. It never felt quite as heavy as the feeling during the day.

My worst pain used to come at night, is usually still does. But pain is relative as well as subjective, which makes me know that I am getting better in some way or another. The pain might no longer keep me up at night, but the training of routine it provided has.

I yearn to be back into a healthy routine, of being awake and absorbing life. There are days I manage it more than others, motivation kicks in and I get out of bed. Sometimes I lay there for hours, staring at the ceiling, scratching the same bit on my neck from agitation. Sometimes this will lead to a form of panic attack, which I can only assume is my body’s way of reaching being so tired that it takes extra measures to ensure sleep.

It’s a difficult thing, sleep – especially if you have fallen out of the healthy routine of it. I have been like this for years now, trying many times to reset the clock and staying up for days on end to ensure I get to sleep. Then all it takes is a bad pain night, a trip to hospital, something worrying me to knock that all out of sync again.

In my own opinion, I got myself into this way of sleeping when I was very ill. The day would be so long and lonely, whereas at night although he was asleep, I at least had company and assistance if needed. I didn’t feel alone with my thoughts or isolated from the world. I’d sleep all day to escape reality, my reality. Which mentally and physically I just couldn’t face or accept. This version of me, was not me. The medication did have quite a bit to do with it especially at first. It knocked me out for days it felt, and I’d wake up middle of the day or night, after sleeping for 20+ hours. That was also an initial contributor, however it isn’t now.

I wouldn’t suggest it, because eventually you do have to face it. When you are then faced with it after avoiding it for so long, it is a lot harder.

Sleep is one of the most important requirements of being a human, it ensures our minds and bodies are rested. Yes, different bodies, minds, lives need different amounts of sleep (or different kinds) but in essence we all need a system reset, daily. Putting that forward as the same importance as food or water, treating it with the same respect as the other variables we need to survive in a healthy manner, helps ensure a routine.

If you are like me, struggling to sleep at the right time or at all. I have found a few things that help me, especially in keeping my mind calm and not allowing my anxiety and erratic thoughts to take over. I find reading, print, helps. What I mean by that is not blue light, so no phones, social media, articles, apps, games etc. (I am guilty of still doing it though). I also do 5-6-7 breathing, which is in for 5, Hold for 6 and Out for 7. I find this can pass time without really paying attention, it gives you something to focus on. I have taken up a new hobby also, I crochet before bed or when I can’t sleep, because it is a task that combine both focus and attention. However, I’d suggest Sudoku/puzzles or colouring if you don’t have the capacity for new skills at present. However, something that engages brain and motor skills. 

Other than that, I am out of ideas, I am speaking from a situation of not having had a structured routine of job set in place, or a purpose. Those struggling with sleep in general, should seek out medical advice before assuming I know what I am talking about, but as someone who has lived with insomnia for a few years now – I will be the first to admit how debilitating it is, how guilty it can make you feel and how much it can impact you as a person. I do think it is your body’s way of telling you that there is something not right in your life, some aspect of your world does not agree with you and your mind and body are rejecting it. A bit like a sickness bug, when we are so unwell that we don’t want to eat.

Acceptance is your quickest and most proven way to sanity, speaking from hindsight. The acceptance of the issue and the actions required to recorrect or adapt around it are key to being able to move past whatever is causing you sleepless nights. 

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