Do you find yourself not sleeping at night at least once a week, twice a week or more frequent than that? Having a restless night here and there is expected. However, when tossing and turning and lack of sleep becomes your norm, it’s very clear – Houston, we have a problem!
Impacts of Not Sleeping at Night
Toward the end of May, I learned it was Better Sleep Month. Although we’re beyond May, it’s never too late to talk sleep health. Better Sleep Month encourages better sleeping habits and brings awareness to the consequences of not sleeping at night: high blood pressure, weight gain, irritability, mood swings, impatience, lack of concentration and even acne. In severe cases, not sleeping at night has been linked to insomnia and sleep apnea to name a few.
Why Better Sleep Month Matters to Me
Between 2007-2008, I was at the height of what feels like the busiest time of my life. I was working full-time, teaching as a part-time adjunct instructor and pursuing a Masters Degree while trying to be a good wife, daughter, sister and friend. I spent many nights awake until the wee hours of the morning doing homework (as a student) and grading papers (as an instructor). Even with all of the stress I was under at that time, I still managed to hop in bed and fall asleep without issue. I seriously was out like a light when my head hit the pillow.
As November / December 2008 approached, I could see light at the end of the tunnel with knowing graduation was in sight. Unfortunately, all that changed in a blink of an eye. My husband learned he had cancer a few weeks before I was set to take finals and the comprehensive exit exam for my program of study. In true Jay fashion, I put on a brave face and got through it. With graduation now behind me, one of my hardest challenges still awaited ahead – helping my husband drop kick cancer in the teeth.
From 2008 – 2009, life was hard. I’m talking extremely hard. Like, so hard that I have a lump in my throat, knots in my stomach and anxiety filling my body just writing about this. I coordinated every appointment, asked all the questions and was the first to receive the results of every exam. I was my husband’s liaison for all things cancer. His only job was to get well and I would handle the rest.
While I was being super wife by day, I was becoming an insomniac by night. It was a slow progression though. It started out with tossing and turning with getting a few hours of sleep to full blown insomnia with not sleeping at night.
At my lowest point, I went without sleep for 3 days straight. By the third day, I hit a breaking point. I was in tears and suddenly I became the patient. I sought help from a professional and was prescribed a small dose of Lunesta. A sleep study was conducted and concluded I had stress induced insomnia. I was afraid to take a sleep-aide because of the horror stories I’ve read about but in this moment, I was desperate for sleep.
In just one dose of Lunesta, not sleeping at night was a thing of the past. I finally knew what sleep, and good sleep I might add, was like. I didn’t sleep walk, sleep talk, sleep drive or have wild and crazy dreams like some report. I also didn’t snooze the clock a million times in the morning. Rather, I hopped out of bed, ready to face the day. I finally felt refreshed. My patience was abundant and mind was crisp and clear. I didn’t realize how much not sleeping at night had impacted me. I finally felt like I got my life back.
Although I was told sleep-aides are not habit forming, I didn’t want to chance it. Therefore, I took myself off of them after 6 months because I wanted to regain control of my life and sleep naturally again. I quit cold turkey and experienced no side effects or withdrawals.
Although I no longer battle stress induced insomnia like I once did, I still struggle with periods of not sleeping at night. Triggers vary but usually come in the form of something someone says (girl, do you know that such and such has cancer), tv commercials, article in the news or the biggest one of all, his annual exams.
Better Sleep Tips!
Following the below tips, from the sleep experts at Casper, for better sleep is very important when I experience stress triggers. You can find out more information about Casper mattresses here.
Lastly, before you judge the way someone look, be mindful they could be experiencing a tough time in life or have been through a lot in general. Just last year, someone told me I look tired by the eyes. Now when I look in the mirror, that’s all I see – tired eyes. Unfortunately, that comment eats away at me daily. If I could re-live that moment, I would let that person know, don’t judge me because you don’t know the half of what I’ve been through….
Additional 10 Tips for Better Sleep
As you notice, one infographic suggests a temperature of 65 and the other suggest 70. Anywhere between 65 – 70 should do. 65 works best for me.
Know When to Say When
If you’re doing everything right, follow sleep hygiene tips to a T yet sleep does not come easy, take it from me, see a professional. Your body will thank you in the end!