Frustration has set in. In my most recent installment of The Sleep Insomnia Chronicles, I had mentioned that I felt my insomnia was pretty much resolved. Perhaps, I jumped the gun a tad. In this installment of The Sleep Insomnia Chronicles #9, we discuss the lingering effects.
Why am I frustrated? My sleep has been suboptimal. I certainly wouldn’t equate it to the worst period of insomnia about 2 years ago where I was getting 30 minute-2 hours of sleep a night for 2 months. No where near that, but after a good run in the early months of 2019, I have returned to suboptimal sleep.
How suboptimal is it? The last 2 weeks I have noticed a pattern. I have not had any problems falling asleep, which is good, since the worse, most horrifying type of insomnia is when you can’t “go down” and you ponder as the hours go by if you will even get an hour of sleep.
No, I go to sleep relatively quickly while I say my prayers. But I have noticed that I always wake up around 2:30am. This is pretty consistent…night after night. I don’t need to void the bladder and it’s not a like a sound woke me up. I just wake up at that time.
The reason I have written The Sleep Insomnia Chronicles #9 is because I have had problems going back down to sleep. In the past, I would commonly wake up around the “Devil’s Time” but be able to go down for another hour or so. The issue this time is that I’m not always going back down.
During the last two years I have controlled my insomnia by using Cognitive Behavorial Therapy-Insomnia (CBT-I) and Sleep Restriction. One of the tenets of the aforementioned is that if you have problems falling asleep within 30 minutes you should move to another room. The reason? Becaue you don’t want to associate the bedroom with anxiety.
As a result I move to a papasan in another room when I wake up at 3:00am. There I listen to a boring podcast at 1/2 speed in the dark until I get very sleepy. I turn it off and then try to doze off. If I don’t doze off within 30 minutes, I move somewhere else.
In the past when I move to the papasan, I get two or three 30-minute sessions. With those intermittent naps, compounded by the 4 hours I got earlier in the night, I can function just fine.
This time around for The Sleep Insomnia Chronicles #9 I haven’t been able to go down on the papasan. Maybe at best one 30-minute session. So for the last two weeks this has happened where I am getting 4.5 hours a sleep a night. Some occasions, I am up at 3:30-4:00am and can’t go back down.
Sleep Insomnia Chronicles #9: Bright Side
Now for whatever reason, perhaps because of my intermittent fasting or well-calibrated physical fitness, I have been able to function quite well even with only 4 hours of sleep. I can run 5 miles, drive just fine, and maintain my professional job with no problems.
I have been blessed, for I have other insomniac friends who get the same amount but are a train wreck. I would posit it is because they are on strong insomnia drugs like Ambien. Those drugs have a lingering effect that actually make you more sleepy had you not taken the drug. Watch this news snippet about the issues with Ambien.
This is why in a previous installment of The Sleep Insomnia Chronicles I ruminate as to whether I should “Drug or Not To Drug.” I have still maintained NOT to take any OTC or prescription drug to control the insomnia. Studies show they only give you 20 extra minutes of sleep plus you are compounded by the loads of side-effects.
So yes, I am frustrated, that I’m having a relapse, but I have faith that I can still function in the future with even 4 hours of sleep. I take faith that I will resolve this with proper sleep hygiene and nutrition and other sleep biohacks. Catastrophizing that your insomnia will lead to horrific events, like hospitalization or death never helps you. It is best to think positive.
I must maintain positivity.
Listen to past Sleep Insomnia Chronicles by going to the main page and pulling down the Articles tab. You will see the blog series there.