Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Incredible Insomnia

I is for Incredible Insomnia

Notice I left out the "My Favourite Things" in this post?  I thought I would talk about something that has been irking me for several years, and like a disease, seems to be spreading to a lot of people I know - INSOMNIA. 

Insomnia is a disease whereby one either has difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep.  It is characterized by the following symptoms: fatigue when awake, waking up frequently during the night, having difficulty falling back asleep when you do awaken, having difficulty falling asleep, and waking up too early in the morning.  It is something that one does frequently or on a repetitive basis.  It is also characterized by primary or secondary insomnia as well as acute or chronic insomnia.  Primary insomnia refers to sleep issues that have no related health other issue, while secondary insomnia relates directly to a health issue such as depression, asthma, allergies, cancer, heartburn, and so on.  It is also characterized by its duration meaning that chronic insomnia occurs three times a week or more for at least a month, and usually much longer, while acute insomnia can last from one night to several weeks.  Examples of acute insomnia tend to be: illness, environmental factors such as noise (darn that neighbour!!), medication, jet lag, stress, emotional stress, physical stress, and so on.  Examples of chronic insomnia tend to include: depression, anxiety, chronic stress, pain or discomfort during the night, and so on.

I suffer from chronic insomnia and really don't know why, but it's very frustrating and irritating.  A lot of my issues have to do with my early work day as I don't think I work optimally when I have to get up at 5:30 every morning, and then spend the evenings driving my kids to their various activities.  I tend to blame my insomnia on my kids (LOL) as in the era BK (Before Kids), I really had no sleep issues and could put my head down on my pillow and be out in thirty seconds, sleep for eight hours, and wake up ready to go for a 10k run, which I often did before going to work.  Now, if I hit the snooze alarm any more often, I would be late for work.  What happened? 

I know the traditional methods to treat sleep deprivation tend to center on reconditioning, practicing good sleep habits, exercising and eating properly, relaxation, and meditation.  But what if these don't work?  Behavioural modification treatment has also been suggested and I have been mildly intrigued by that concept as I teach a bit of this in my grade 12 course and it always has very interesting results.  But practicing what you preach is a lot harder than it sounds. As I sit here typing this out at 10 o'clock at night and look around my house, exhausted and ready for bed, knowing that I have to clean the kitchen, fold the laundry, get things ready for work tomorrow, check to make sure the kids did their homework, and do my own last-minute chores I have been neglecting for days, where is there time to sleep?  How many years until retirement again???  Oh, and I probably should not be reading that new book I've been dying to read at midnight either as I don't think that helps my insomnia problems.  But if I can't sleep, I might as well accomplish something.  Cheers, everyone!


  1. Not being able to sleep is the worst. It is a true nightmare starring at the clock knowing you have to get up in a few hours for work...and dreading it. Thankfully I don't suffer. I am very lucky that I can pretty much sleep any where. Even so, I have had a few sleepless nights and it was awful.


    1. It's funny as I can pretty much sleep anywhere, anytime, except when I'm supposed to. My doctor says it's very common for women my age to experience, but I'm sure hoping it passes soon.

  2. I've had troubles falling asleep for many years, for as long as I can remember really but my memory isn't very good. I do know as a teen, in college and now as an adult taking an hour or so to fall asleep is common. Though at least the past couple of years I haven't had a night of no sleep for no reason. And I don't read before bed, but as I lay in bed I watch my own novels I want to write, which may not help either.

    A to Z commenter
    Reading at Dawn blog

  3. Every once in awhile I get a night where I can't sleep. For a period of time in my previous residence, with construction work going on in a nearby location at all hours, I was being kept awake though seemingly constantly. And for awhile after a death in the family, sleep was hard to come by.

    In the past, secondary insomnia was an issue at times, when I was in a deep depression.