A full night’s sleep

Last night, for the first time in ages, I got a full night’s sleep! This hasn’t happened in months, so I am very pleased! This is just a little spark of joy for me: it’s hardly a pattern yet, and I’ve only been managing to sleep sensible hours a very little bit of late. And I still haven’t felt properly rested in years and years. But it’s something.

It’s a really simple thing, sleep, something really pleasurable. Sinking into warmth and stillness and dreams. It’s something I find terribly difficult, and I feel disappointed every day when I wake up to an instant headache and drowsiness and feeling like I haven’t slept at all. It’s a real struggle to get through a day feeling like that.

And while I still feel like I haven’t slept in a week, this is progress. I may not remember the last time I actually felt rested, really ready to tackle a day, but last night has buoyed my heart up so much. Baby steps.

How do you relate to your own sleeping patterns?

By 24 November, 2010.    small stories  ,  



4 Comments

  1. Big issue for me. Has been horribly disabling, for years and years and years, because my energy/mood/pain varies WILDLY largely based on how much sleep I’ve had. No wonder it’s become a vicious cycle – the anxiety of knowing how much I’ll suffer if I don’t, let alone anything I have to do, makes it all so much worse. I can have a full night’s sleep and be able to be a reasonably functioning human much of the time. A poor night’s sleep and I’m huddled up in a corner unable to even think clearly. Only a few days of that and I start to lose touch with reality & have paranoid delusions. Has made any sort of planning very tricky, & work next to impossible. And an IRL social life.

    With all that, though, I’ve had a lot of therapy, use lots of different sleep medications, have routines in place, taken some drastic steps to change where I lived, started on new meds, had some lucky breaks, etc etc etc and I am slowly becoming better at sleeping. The suicidal thoughts, the terrible horror that I’ll never sleep still visits me, but it’s getting more distant (at least for now). These days I am starting to be able to work (self-employment, I can take it at my own pace), and my body is getting stronger, but still have many days crippled by fatigue. I even have a bit of a social life sometimes!

    I’m very scared of becoming a parent of a crying newborn, of flipping out completely, and never thought I could cope (as a lesbian I can’t adopt an older child), but my partner will be taking a year off, and I will scratch together $ to rent a room in a sharehouse as a safe place for me.

    Thanks for listening. That felt good to relate it. Sleep is a really big issue, and can be so disabling. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a recent study I read found teens with poor sleep were more likely to have mental health problems.

  2. I only started getting a good night’s sleep in college.
    This is not because of anything I was doing wrong before… in grade school & high school I’d go to bed at the same times most nights, etc. Try to unwind before bed.
    But before I got into high school & college, the location where my room was, I heard a lot of the noise from the rest of the house. My dad would keep me awake at night blasting rock music even if I told him to turn the volume down. I recognize now that this was part of a larger pattern of abuse. I switched rooms in high school, to a quieter part of the house, so then what kept me awake at night was stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness…

    … and the frequent urination. You know just ONCE I’d like to sleep through the night uninterrupted. I don’t think I’ve ever slept through the full night. There’s times when I can’t sleep because I always have to get up & use the bathroom. I think I’m averaging 2 or 3 times waking up to use the bathroom lately. More if I’m under a lot of stress or hell just randomly why not. What annoys me more though is when the frequent urination prevents me from falling asleep in the first place. It’s not like I drink a bunch or drink diuretics before bed either. So I still don’t know the cause for this nocturia. IDK, I just blame the pelvic floor dysfunction. It’s been this way since forever and it’s gotten me in trouble. No I do not have diabetes.

    I sleep better now post-college.
    If I get enough sleep then that always helps me feel pretty good and full of energy.

  3. Congratulations!!!

    Sleep for me is a very, very difficult thing. I actually ran across a poll about sleeping patterns – when is your natural bedtime, when is your natural waking time, etc. – a while back and discovered that I had no idea. My sleeping pattern is such a mess that I can’t find anything in it I’d consider natural.

    My problem is that, essentially, I have a lot of trouble going to bed. Even when I’m tired. Especially when I’m tired, because the trouble going to bed is executive dysfunction/mental health-esque difficulty bridging the gap between wanting to go to bed and actually standing up and doing it, difficulty figuring out the steps needed to do so, and difficulty intuitively understanding the concept of “if it is X o’clock now and my alarm clock rings at Y o’clock that means I will get less than Z hours of sleep”. (I have a really hard time conceptualising the passing of time – although I can rationally perform these calculations my instinct always tells me night is infinitely long so I can stay up as long as I want.) All of these things get worse when I’m tired. As a result, it’s easy for me to end up in a spiral of sleep deprivation in which every night I am more tired and therefore go to bed later and get less sleep, usually culminating in me sleeping for most of the weekend (for a while I had a five hours/night on weekdays, 13 or more/weekends sleep pattern going). Sometimes I miss a night of sleep entirely because I couldn’t make myself go to bed or because there was something I was trying to make myself do before I went to bed. I spend a lot of time in a sleep-deprived haze. I’m… sort of in one now, in fact.

    I’m struggling to get routines into place and have struggled for years. Things have been looking up lately, but the last ten days or so have been really, really bad for me and everything’s fallen apart. *sighs*

  4. Sleep is a really interesting issue for me because I have narcolepsy. Even when I do everything “right” — go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, give up caffeine after 2 pm, drink chamomile tea, I don’t eat or exercise close to bedtime, you name it I do it — I’m still at the mercy of my narcoleptic brain. I even have a sleep tracker watch that gives me an indication of how well/poorly I slept. It’s ok with medication, but I am still nowhere near normal levels of wakefulness. I read a doctor’s analogy that said narcolepsy is sort of like the average person getting a maximum of 3 to 4 hours of sleep every night for a year, and that narcolepsy is commonly mistaken for poor sleep habits, recreational drug use, and laziness. I have fallen asleep during exams in college and I once fell asleep while riding my bike. People judge me so hard whenever I am late for class or work.

    And with narcolepsy I am really susceptible to delayed sleep phase syndrome. Basically any time I stay up an extra half hour it knocks my sleep phase back a little. That small but steady chipping away of my sleep really takes its toll. Where DSPS is really felt is the mornings — sometimes it feels like I am drowning. I might make it up to the surface for a few seconds, and then before I know it I am pulled back to sleep. No matter how hard I try and how much I want to wake up, I can’t.