The diary of a sleepless night

10 May 2018

I have real trouble with sleep, so much so that not sleeping has become a constant in my life.

I'm working out ways to move away from 'one good nights sleep, one terrible nights sleep, one good nights sleep, one terrible nights sleep' to a more consistant and regular nights sleep.

I've written a diary about what it's like to be me when sleep doesn't arrive ...

First moment of consciousness in the morning 

  • I'm awake
  • It’s morning
  • I can feel the warmth of the mattress cocooning me, the softness of the pillow and duvet over my face
  • The light is creeping in around the edge of sheet
  • I can hear birds singing announcing the day and the traffic starting to get busy

What happened through the night?

"Eventually... I remember... I got to sleep okay"

  • I woke up just after 1am
  • I stayed awake until 5am
  • I finally fell back into deep sleep, exhausted
  • Dragged out of deep sleep with urgent alarm at 6.30am.
  • Another day with only three and a half hours sleep
  • It’s going to be a long one

How my body and mind feel 

"I feel exhausted, it’s been an exhausting night … and all I’ve done is ‘sleep’"

Physically 
  • Thick brain fog
  • Tired gritty eyes
  • Sore joints
  • Body aches
  • Body ways a ton
  • Walking is tiring
  • The gym is beyond hard
  • And I can’t drive today
Emotionally 

"Just got to get through the next 15 or so hours, it’s going to be a long day and I must stay awake all day"

  • Mood is flat
  • No energy
  • No enthusiasm
  • Few decision-making powers
  • No creativity
  • Struggle to recall, or remember.
  • No focus or little attention to detail on something
  • Mind all over the place - darting about
  • Feel unproductive and uncreative. Stupid.
  • Everything’s a huge effort.

The sleepless 'quick fixes' i'm tempted to do

"Discipline is hard with diminished willpower , it’s easy to reach for a fast fix :-("

  • Must not sleep or nap, must stay upright until tonight
  • Need to not go for the sugars the caffeines and fast fixes
  • I know they'll each cause a crash and a trough and an extra hill to climb.. must think longer term

Feeling the pressure of getting a good nights sleep

  • Must get to bed at 10pm
  • Need to start again
  • Must create a better night... and then a better day

Thoughts before bed

  • Why am I so awake at 10pm?
  • Wish I was this awake at 8am.
  • Must get to sleep

Tips that help me

A Mindset that helps
  • Be kind and know that it takes baby steps
  • Remember you can keep going when sleeplessness overwhelms you
  • List three things you are grateful for
  • Tune in with your feelings - note how do you feel
  • Tune in with the impact - how does it affect you
  • Remember what works and doesn't work for you
  • Think about what you can do differently
  • And remember the difference this makes
Behaviour that helps
  • Get fresh air, have a walk early in the morning to kickstart the day.
  • No caffeine after noon.
  • No alcohol, zero, zilch, nothing at all at any time of day
  • Eat bananas and magnesium etc
  • Exercise
Good sleep hygiene
  • Write and empty head of worries and to do lists
  • No screen time before bed
  • Have a warm bath
  • Read and listen smooth music.
  • Make sure the room is cool and dark

"This is what I’ve found works for me, it could tip the balance for you too. Most of these will not be new to you, you may have heard them before, but when you actually do these, and stick to them for a few days, it can make a huge difference to your sleep patterns."

To find out more read How to sleep better and Ten top tips for good sleep