Ohhhh Insomnia, how wonderful is it that you invited yourself into my life again without even asking? How rude.
Insomnia is a serious pain in my ass and has been since day 1. If you struggled or struggle with it you know what I’m talking about. If it has come back into your life AGAIN, after months or years of sleeping like a baby, it is even more frustrating. I get it, cause this happened to me a couple weeks ago.
I am writing about this because I try to be as open and real with you guys as possible, because I really don’t want to come off as having my shit together 100% of the time or you to think “Oh she does yoga, meditates, eats, healthy, is so happy, she doesn’t struggle.” Cause ohhhh heck ya I struggle. I am where I am today BECAUSE of how much I struggled. Thats where strength comes from, failure and struggles and loss and disappointments. You grow and you learn from it. The whole point of my blog was to share everything from the good and the bad that I have gone through, to help others who struggle with the same, to talk about hard shit and how to rise above it. So yeah I am far from perfect and I don’t want to portray myself in that way.
I have had a few insomnia relapses since I started my recovery from it so by now I know what to do when it happens. But it is still discouraging, frustrating and really scary when it happens.
Before I talk about this, I just want to say that I’m not a psychologist, I’m not a sleep expert or a doctor, I am just simply sharing what works for ME. And hoping that it works for you and you get some tips out of what I’m about to say. But I’m not a professional so what works for me may not work for others.
First I want to tell you that insomnia relapses are completely normal and part of the whole recovery process. They will happen and its important that you know that. But like I said its normal and even though its hard, you don’t have to stress and freak out about them. In fact, if you do that it will make it a lot worse. Just like when recovering from OCD, anxiety, depression, you will have those days where all those crap feelings seep back into your mind and body and you feel down because you were doing so well and now worried about struggling again. I went through so many ups and downs from my anxiety/OCD before I actually healed. Healing is not a linear process let me tell ya.
If an insomnia relapse happens….. you actually don’t have to do anything about it. Sounds weird right? But its honestly as simple as that. I mean its easier said then done but the more you freak out about them, stress, think they mean something, the relapse will be a lot worse and sleep will not come.
Its best to ride the wave out and allow your feelings and thoughts to come and go without getting caught up in them. Again, easier said then done because getting no sleep is super stressful and exhausting especially if you need to go to work or do other things. But the more you obsess over your sleep the worse insomnia gets. I learned that the hard way.
A couple weeks ago my sleep schedule was off, I started getting like less then 3 hours of sleep a couple nights in a row. Which really stressed me out and made me panic a little because I had to work and my job requires me to be on my feet constantly for 8 hours. So its exhausting even if I do get a good nights sleep. So I had to drag my ass to work on no sleep a couple days in a row and be polite and work hard. When I got home I felt so defeated. I had an urge to google stuff and buy books on sleep or buy teas, oils whatever it was in order to fix myself. But I knew none of that would work because sleep can’t be controlled and I needed to just ride it out without trying or fixing or obsessing. Because I know that would make it a lot worse.
After a few days of restless, crap sleep, I slowly started sleeping better again without doing anything at all. Just accepting it, and relaxing and allowing my thoughts to do whatever they want instead of control them. Instead of getting caught up in my thoughts I just observed them and let them go, they go away on their own when you stop paying attention to them, allowing you to relax.
In reality is, sleep is something that everyone can do including animals. Just like our bodies know how to breathe, our hearts know how to beat, we also know how to sleep. Our bodies don’t need any help or interference from us. When you think about it like that, it seems silly for people to try and control the amount of sleep that they get. We ALL have the ability to sleep.
If you struggle with insomnia I would highly recommend checking out The Sleep School by Guy Meadows. Its an online course and he also wrote a book called The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night which is wayyyyy cheaper then buying the course FYI. You can find the book on amazon here: https://amzn.to/2EkaQwt
I took the online course when I was in school because he takes an acceptance approach to insomnia. No pill or medication or special breathing technique, he teaches you to to stop obsessing, stop trying to control or resist insomnia and how doing so prevents you from getting a good nights sleep. The book is basically summarizing the whole course for less money. It’s really really good and I highly recommend it.
Sometimes I look back on it just to refresh my memory or for peace of mind when I get anxious about not sleeping again or start to stress about it. Insomnia is a paradox meaning the more you try to sleep, the less likely it will come. If you ask someone who struggles with insomnia what they do before bed they will give you wind down routines, rituals, teas, and a million different things they do to try and get a good sleep. If you ask someone who’s a good sleeper they will say they do nothing.
Like I said earlier, I’m not a sleep expert I am just giving you my recommendations on what helped me. I really hope it helps some of you as well because Insomnia SUCKS and its a vicious cycle. But you can heal from it too. Humans are made to be able to sleep, its a built in mechanism in ALL of us. So just let go and trust the process. If you struggled with it for a while, it will take some time, so be patient and take care of yourself in the mean time.
I hope this helped, and check out the book I linked for amazon! It will explain everything more in depth and put things into perspective if your struggling with sleep.
Take care lovelies, and happy Thursday!