It’s not easy when you can’t sleep. You’re tired during the day. You’re feeling irritable and easily frustrated because the fatigue is starting to get to you. You know that not being able to sleep at night is getting in the way of your work performance from time to time. It’s getting in the way of your family life too by having to take naps when you could be spending time with your children.
Insomnia might also be challenging because you can’t ever get on a sleep schedule that works for you. You sleep a few hours at night, not enough to feel rested, and then a nap whenever you can fit it in during the day. Together, the two leave you feeling very tired and perhaps even anxious.
Insomnia is known to have significant effects on one’s ability. Fatigue can lead to an inability to concentrate or perform well at work. An individual may not be able to do well his or her memory, focus, efficiency, or effectiveness. Typically, insomnia is either the result of something simple, like drinking too much caffeine during the day or too many responsibilities. Or it’s a symptom of a larger problem. It could be a sign or an indication of a medical disorder or a psychological illness, such as depression or anxiety. Common symptoms of insomnia include:
- Exhausting sleep
- Difficulty falling asleep despite being tired
- Waking up frequently during the night
- Trouble getting back to sleep when awakened
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
- Daytime drowsiness, fatigue, or irritability
- Waking up too early in the morning
One woman spent thirty years trying to figure out how to sleep better. She would wake up at 3am and simply couldn’t fall back asleep while her husband lay next to her in complete REM sleep. Then, she simply started getting out of bed. She checked things off her to do list. She got organized and started projects she has wanted to do but hadn’t had time. She describes her habit of getting out of bed instead of forcing herself to sleep in this way:
That, at least, is how it’s worked for me. I now view those nightly hours of sleeplessness as an opportunity, not torture. Don’t get me wrong: The anxieties that kept me awake for years haven’t magically vanished. But, once I get out of bed and keep myself occupied, I relax and become genuinely tired. So when I go back to bed, I’m able to fall asleep. There are even nights now when I log a full eight hours. Or more.
Assuming that insomnia is not the result of a larger medical disorder, having to be with it can bring both painful and pleasurable experiences. Of course, there are more and more medications being released that facilitate the ability to sleep longer. However, if you can’t find relief to getting the amount of sleep you would like, perhaps the best solution is to work with it. When you can’t sleep, get up and get your work done. When you can sleep, enjoy it. Eventually, you may uncover a sleep schedule that works well for you and allows you to be awake during the day and asleep in your bed at night.