Self-Care: Sleep Hygiene

7969400284_459341a299_zSleep hygiene, which for me, is going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every day without napping, is important for me to function. It also means taking my meds at the same time every morning and night. I also keep my phone, tablet, laptop, and e-reader out of the bedroom, and use the bed only for sleeping and other appropriate activity 😉 I’ve had problems with insomnia in the past, and I believe that insomnia is a monster.

This was during the year after the Breakdown. I was so irresponsible about taking my medication that my husband had to administer them. This didn’t always happen at the same time every day, but it was more important that I took them. I can only guess that because I wasn’t taking my meds at the same time each day, and because of my bouts with hypomania at the time, I had insomnia for months. Eventually, we got it under control, and I started taking my meds more responsibly.

The insomnia I went through was awful. Lying in bed, staring at the ceiling that I couldn’t see. Tossing and turning. Staring at the digital clock and watching the numbers change by the minute. I’d finally give up, get out of bed, and go on about my day. It was pure hell.

Despite taking my meds at the same time now, I haven’t been waking/getting up at the same time every morning. I think that’s the struggle I’ve been having with a constant low mood. I sometimes nap on the sofa in the late afternoon/early evening because towards the end of the day, I feel physically drained. However, I don’t often wake up in the middle of the night; but every once in a while I do and can’t get back to sleep. This happened recently, which prompted this post.

The anxiety kicks in: what if this is the start of another bout of insomnia? What if it’s like years ago when I couldn’t sleep for months? Why can’t I just fall asleep? What if my sleep medication is no longer working?

Of course the anxiety only makes it worse and harder to fall back asleep, and often I just lie in bed until it’s time to get up, because reading wakes me up even more. Sometimes I’ll doze off for a bit, but I’ll keep waking up. If it’s really bad, I’ll finally go to the living room where I check social media and try to read, and ride out the rest of the night.

These are usually just an occasional bad night and don’t turn into insomnia, and I consider myself lucky. But despite practicing sleep hygiene, I still feel like insomnia is lingering near my bed, waiting to pounce.

Photo credit: sese kim via / CC BY-ND

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