Sunday, January 2, 2011


This post is about insomnia, a phenomenon that I have been suffering from more and more frequently of late and one that I almost never suffered from in the past.  What's changed?  Well, it could be the fact that I am a mother, with an ear acutely attuned to my child's every nighttime movement, which is disruptive, and a source of great anxiety, especially when illness occurs (the baby monitor that amplifies every sound made, doesn't exactly help either).  It could be the fact that I have mixed feelings about returning to work/full-time study tomorrow and though part of me longs to return, a greater part of me wants to remain on vacation. It could be the fact that I have a constant to-do list in my head that I am continually editing, re-prioritizing, adding to, removing from, etc and for some reason this seems to occur primarily at/ or during the night.  It could be the fact that I am now 6 months pregnant and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find comfortable sleeping positions which means that any sleep I do get is certainly less sound than normal.  Or it could be all of the above.  

As a recent and occasional sufferer, I am at a loss as to how best to combat this annoying and frustrating phenomenon.  I have tried free reading which sometimes works but rarely since I usually just get further into whatever it is that I am reading and don't want to stop.  I have tried turning on monotonous background noise (i.e. the television or the air purifier) hoping maybe that the droning sound will lull me back to sleep.  I have tried sleeping in other locations like the guest room or the sofa in the living room.  However, this solution doesn't work for me either because instead of sleeping, I find myself even more awake because I am hyper aware of every sound, change of light in the new location since I am not accustomed to sleeping there.  I have tried yogic, rhythmic breathing which I read is supposed to reduce anxiety and calm the nerves.  While I found it to be a calming tactic, it has never served to help me get back to sleep.

I find it ironic that in many of the articles that I have recently read about insomnia, there seems to be a running theme of, "Try to be as relaxed as possible in the day and don’t let stress, anxiety and worry get the better of you".  Okay I get that, but my question is how?  I have found that I sometimes get insomnia even when I am not consciously aware that I am stressed out or worried.  If I am chewing on an issue subconsciously, how do I control that or apply stress/anxiety management tactics to thoughts or worries that I may not be consciously aware of.  This brainteaser of a problem alone could be a potential source of stress :-)

I know that I am not the only sufferer out there and am hoping that this short post will generate some feedback from others who have found solutions that work for them.  I really want to nip this thing in the bud before it becomes a more persistent and constant problem.  Tips and suggestions are welcome.

Thanks for reading...