If you’ve suffered from chronic insomnia, you know how hard it can be. Some people fail to realize that it’s not as easy as “just go to sleep”.
As someone who has suffered from chronic insomnia since the age of 13, I find it incredibly annoying when people say “Why don’t you just go to sleep?” If it were that easy, I wouldn’t be walking through so many of my days like a zombie because I couldn’t get enough rest. For an insomniac, life is never simple.
I’ve had people make all sorts of “suggestions” from “just go to sleep” to “go to bed earlier” and “just quiet your mind” among others. Unfortunately, things are not that simple. For most of us, quieting the mind and getting our bodies to a point where we can sleep seems nigh unto impossible. We will try everything under the sun, and pray for success.
I’ve tried warm milk (which was disgusting), tea, liquor, meditation music, television, hypnosis videos, exercise before bed, staying up later, going to bed earlier, changing my sleep schedule, sex and numerous other methods to try to get to sleep at night. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but I’ve yet to find anything that works every time. I even tried prescription medication. Unfortunately, all that did was give me nightmares and sleep paralysis during the few hours of sleep it helped me get.
It’s interesting that different sources give conflicting information about ways to deal with insomnia. I have seen some sources state that it is a good idea to listen to music or have a television going while trying to fall asleep, while other say silence and dark are crucial. Some say alcohol or exercise near bedtime can cause drowsiness, while other insist these things must be avoided. Some say you should get out of bed if you can’t sleep, while others say you shouldn’t get up. It seems that aside from prescribing pills which one can easily develop a tolerance for over time, no one can agree on any treatments for insomnia.
For me, I usually deal with it as best I can. If I can’t get to sleep within an hour, I’ll get up until I feel drowsy again. I sometimes have a glass of wine before bed when I can afford it, since it does make me want to sleep. When I can, I’ll take my MP3 player and headphones into the bedroom, dim the lights, and play meditation music. This puts me in a meditative state and I can usually get a 1 hour nap, which gives me energy for the rest of the day.
I have found some success with using Delta Wave videos I found on YouTube. I will listen with headphones and watch the imagery, and become very tired. If I can get to bed with minimal distraction and no lights, I can often fall asleep. Unfortunately, If I have to get undressed, brush my teeth and do other things that require light and movement, it negates the effect.
I tried bringing the laptop into the bedroom and using external speakers to listen to the audio at night, but it has no effect at all. I will be trying to get some delta wave audio and see if I can use headphones in bed. Perhaps by doing this I can just pull out the ear-buds when I get really drowsy and drift off to sleep.
Overall it seems that there’s little anyone can do about having insomnia except to experiment until they find one or more things that will help them get to sleep, and use them in the hopes that they will remain effective. As for the rest of the world, people should be more understanding of the difficulties insomniacs face, and not give us a hard time. Just imagine a night when you got little or no sleep, then try to imagine living that way. It’s not very enjoyable, so try to be a bit more caring.