Tuesday , 23 January 2018
Chronic Insomnia

Chronic Insomnia

Do you suffer from several nights and maybe even days of not getting enough sleep? If you do you might be just like me and have chronic insomnia. I have personally been dealing with this battle of not sleeping well and feeling exhausted when I don’t get a good night sleep for many years. It’s very hard to catch up on several missed nights of sleep in one night. If you have been through many sleepless nights for an extended period of time you can probably relate on some of the same levels as me, and you might have chronic insomnia too.  Chronic Insomnia can be a very serious condition and at times medication might be needed to hopefully help the individual suffering.

What is chronic insomnia? According to WebMD- “chronic insomnia is something that can last several nights in a row or over an extended period of time”. I would suggest if you want to make sure you really do have chronic insomnia and it’s not maybe some other health issues. Going to a specialist that can properly get a diagnosis of your condition might be the best thing for you. Some examples of chronic insomnia are: depression, stress, and if you are suffering from some form of pain.

I have never really had many good nights of sleep. I can honestly say about maybe 20 nights that I can remember since I was a teenager, and now I am an adult and I was hoping overtime my chronic insomnia would just go away but it hasn’t. This is something I struggle with all the time. That might be hard to believe for some people but that is the reality for me. To make a long story short this actually stems back to my childhood but it’s kind of hard to explain because I can’t remember the exact medical terminology that I was told several years ago.  From my experiences and what I was told after seeing a doctor everything made much more sense.

You might think I am thinking about my childhood too much so that is causing my sleeping problems, but that is not the case. I don’t really think about it that much. There are things that happened that caused the insomnia.  I know when woman have a baby the first several months they don’t sleep well, but that is because of having a baby so that is not considered chronic insomnia.

I would have to say for me personally I start to feel exhausted when I am going on a 3rd night in a row of getting about 4 or 5 hours of sleep each night. This is also not a straight 4 or 5 hours. My sleep is very broken up. I usually will sleep straight without waking up for the first 2 hours after I do fall asleep, but after that I just constantly wake up. There have been times when my insomnia has been so bad where it might take me 2 hours to fall asleep.

I at one point in my life just couldn’t physically deal with the sleepless nights I felt horrible day after day feeling physically not well, not being able to think clear and just feeling exhausted. I ended up going to my doctor and getting prescribed trazodone and ambien. I didn’t take them together of course. I actually was prescribed both meds at different times. When I went to the doctors to get the meds this felt like a last resort to me as I hate taking any type of meds. I only like to take vitamins.

Trazodone can be used for depression, but it also can be used for insomnia. So for me I wasn’t taking it for depression I just wanted to be able to get a good night sleep. I eventually stopped taking it and a few months after I stopped I tried ambien. Ambien did help me fall asleep faster and I would sleep pretty solid for the most part, but I still wouldn’t sleep a full 8 hours. I was still only averaging 4-5 hours of sleep a night, but my sleep was more solid and I wasn’t waking up constantly. The side effects I had from ambien were very weird and at times scary dreams and the next day I would feel very drowsy and my thinking wouldn’t be clear. Everything felt cloudy. I felt like I was dealing with a 50/50 dilemma, either take the ambien so I can get a few hours of solid sleep and fall asleep faster but deal with the side effects or not take anything and still feel not good the next day and then just feel exhausted.

The few times that I have had a great night sleep I couldn’t believe how great I felt the next day. I had an unbelievable amount of energy, not fatigued and just overall wished I could feel that awesome every day. I felt like I was feeling how others do that get a good night sleep most nights. I had a very bad brain injury accident back in 2013, and I had still been taking ambien to help me sleep. When I had my accident I was told by the doctors that I had to stop taking the ambien and could no longer take it even when I was better. I didn’t like hearing that because I just thought how am I going to function on a daily basis without being about to at least get more solid sleep. I didn’t want to go through feeling how I had felt so many times.

I can be stubborn at times, but this was a very serious situation for me and a wakeup call that I needed. I can’t mix sleeping meds with my healing process as the brain is very sensitive.  My fiancé had wanted me to stop taking the sleeping meds for a while, and I as well wanted to stop. Before my accident I was trying to slowly come off the ambien but it was hard. Well things got that much harder when I had to just stop all at once and I knew I couldn’t even take a chance and risk something else happening to me just so I could try to get a few hours of solid sleep. I had a long road ahead of me and taking ambien was the furthest from my concerns.

I had to learn a new way to try to deal with the insomnia so I have learned overtime what not to do before I am getting ready to go to bed as well as a few things that can help at times as well. I do still have my nights of not sleeping well, but I try to cope with the issues better. I wanted to share a few tips that I have tried over the years. I did get a great piece of advice once from my doctor. He said if I do fall asleep on the couch or somewhere other than my bed where I am used to sleeping try to just stay where I fell asleep, because the brain is trained to know that when you lay in bed it’s time for sleep, but when you fall asleep somewhere else your brain is not trained to know this. He explained that once you get up and move from one place to the next this can disrupt your body even more which will make it even harder to fall back asleep. I have found this to be very accurate in my experiences. Hopefully some of these tips will work for you too.

Tips to help with chronic insomnia-

  1. Check medications as some can cause insomnia.
  2. Go to your doctor if you feel you can’t find a way to deal with insomnia.
  3. Stop eating 2 hours before bedtime.
  4. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol.
  5. Cut down on sweets.
  6. Try to stay off the computer and social media sites about 2 hours before you plan to lay down.
  7. Don’t constantly keep looking at the clock.
  8. Do picture yourself in a relaxing environment, maybe Hawaii.
  9. Stay healthy by working out, but allow a few hours before bed for your body to relax.
  10. Eat healthy.
  11. Listen to relaxing music.
  12. Burn incense.
  13. Work on a word search or puzzle.
  14. Learn how to think positive.
  15. Surround yourself around supportive and positive people.

Remember chronic insomnia is a serious condition and it takes many changes to see what works, but sometimes we can try to make little changes in our lives that can lead to a better night sleep without having to take medication. Good luck in your journey to a better night sleep and feeling better all around.


Main image source: brightspaceseniorliving.