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...


  1. I have been a sufferer of insomnia since I was 8. Meditation is key. Not just meditation but actually meditating that you are in your most comfortable place. Create one if you have to. Be alone and imagine peace. It's almost like astral projection in a way. I always picture myself floating in clouds, swimming in a lake, lying in a field... anything that is peaceful for you. Sometimes you can get back to sleep, sometimes you can't. The goal is to still your heart, mind and soul. That is afterall what you're body is telling you it needs when insomnia occurs(I believe). You can also do these exercises during the day to help combat the episodes. I have found that this is the only thing that helps and worrying about it only makes it worse. Sometimes insomnia is not a bad thing. Also, Congratulations on your pregnancy!

  2. Thank for the Congratulations on Baby 2 and the anti-insomnia tips Jamie. The next time I suffer from it, I am going to try meditation. Happy New Year :-)

  3. Hello Lia, I'm so sorry about how you are feeling. I've been there throughout Mom's sickness and after her death. As Jamie said (and I totally agree) meditation is key. I turned my walk in closet into my prayer room because although I live alone I just needed a place of utter peace. In it I have candles, pictures of loved ones passed, inspiring books and beautiful momentos. I know its not ideal for everyone but you need a place of peace or a peaceful place which you find in meditation. Even a wall in your house that has affirmations that you read to yourself everyday. I had one at my job (I need to put one up now I'm thinking of it).

    Be well and if I can find stuff on line (meditations or something) I will send them on. I love you.

  4. Muchas felicidades por el nuevo bebe, tambien a Juancito, muchas felicidades.

  5. Thanks Re, I will keep that in mind. I have always thought a quiet, small meditative could be the cure to many an ailment, insomnia included.

    Howard, te extrano mucho ud y todo su familia. Como le van todo? Come esta el trabajo ahorita en la embajada, quizas mejor responderme por correo privada. Si el o la bebe nuevo/a va a estar con nosotros este Mayo, por supuesto voy a mandar fotos. Besos y abrazos a ti y dice hola a Judith en mi parte. Su amiga por vida, Lia