Sleep: Too Much And Not Enough

Sleep used to be so simple: lay down, go to sleep, wake up with the alarm.

Due to my chronic illness, there are times when I sleep far more than I wish I did, and times when I can’t sleep even though I’d love to. As I write this, it’s Wednesday night around 8pm and I am nearly falling asleep at the computer. Some nights I am awake literally all night and can’t sleep until it’s light out. There appears to be no in between, no perfect Goldilocks situation.

Often times, I am at an extreme. This year, I’ve slept so much; some days averaging over 12 hours a day. It’s like my system can’t function unless I more or less mini-hibernate. It’s frustrating and wasteful. I think about all those hours of my life I will never get back, and it infuriates me. It’s in those times I think about all the healthy people I know and benignly envy them.

At the other swing of the pendulum are the sleepless nights. The times I lay in bed (or on the couch) and think about sleep, but just can’t get there. And let me tell you, there’s nothing as satisfying as laying in the dark, thinking about sleep, and not actually sealing that deal.

That’s sarcasm. It’s so maddening.

A couple years back, I found myself in an unprecedented marathon of sleeplessness. I hadn’t slept a wink in three whole days and nights. I started to feel like I was going bonkers and may never sleep again. Sleeping pills didn’t work. Nothing relaxing worked. I could lay there for hours and no sleep, not even a tiny bit, would come. I felt desperate. I was desperate for rest. When I was finally able to sleep again (and I don’t even remember the precursor to making it happen), I remember waking up feeling like I’d somehow dodged death.

All this is juxtaposed against my partner who is already remarkable. When it’s time for him to sleep, even if he is wide awake, he’s out within moments. When he wakes up to his alarm, he’s ready for the day.

Witnessing his sleep skills makes me yearn to be healthy and “normal.”

This past week I’ve barely been able to stay awake. I don’t know if my body is fighting off issues (which wouldn’t surprise me as this year has been laden with them), or if I simply require more sleep for some unknown reason. I have found putting certain things on in the background helps me fall asleep faster (Super Replays, Raw Danger in particular), but right now I feel certain I could just lay down and be out in no time.

One of the heavy duty medications I take for my chronic migraines makes me exceedingly weak and tired. Unfortunately, it has two weird side effects which make it difficult to rest properly: it makes me have to pee incessantly and, if I fall asleep, I will wake up almost four hours on the dot after I’ve fallen asleep.

I’ve tried taking melatonin, I’ve tried sleep aids, I’ve tried prescription sleeping pills, I’ve tried nature sounds, and I’ve tried varying degrees of light. Not one of them helps.

Though I do enjoy nature sounds.

I wish I could find a way to normalize the process and sleep when it’s sleep time and wake when it’s wake time. When my sleep schedule is off, everything else suffers. It seems so simple, yet so ultimately out of my control.

Do you have any sleep issues? Or are you on a wonderfully regular schedule? Let’s all stay up late and talk about it.

2 replies »

  1. the last time my sleep was normal was like 10 years ago, after that i have dealt with chronic, medication resistant insomnia, sometimes its bad other times things are easier but there is nothing like getting normal sleep for a week, and also because of the tiredness from when i can sleep when i do finally am able to sleep i sleep too much, so just like you there is no in between i am just trying to accept everything and be gentle with myself no matter what. am sending you strength and love xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so sorry to hear that. And it’s awful that once you CAN get normal sleep, you wind up sleeping even more. I think your approach is admirable, and I can always use a reminder to be kind to myself. Thank you for those wishes. I wish them for you, too.

      Liked by 1 person

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