Hello my sleepy friend, I’m Sacha.
I was a good sleeper for most of my life. The occasional sleepless night would happen when I was particularly excited or particularly stressed. I would have too much energy to sleep, but my sleep patterns would return to normal the following night. Then 2012 happened.
There were a series of stressful events – job loss, the resulting financial difficulties, having to move from a city I loved to find work, and relationship strain – that piled on and felt like it would never get better.
At first, it would take me hours to fall asleep.
But I would still get a few good nights of sleep in a week. Then it progressed to only 1 or 2 nights of good sleep. Then there came the nights where I wouldn’t sleep at all. Other nights, I would wake up after only a few hours and not be able to get back to sleep.
Month after month, which became year after year, I had nights that ranged from 0 to 6 hours of sleep. Sometimes those 6 hours would happen erratically when I would leave work early so I could collapse from exhaustion midday for a few hours, and sleep a couple more at night.
The stressful external situations finally resolved. The money came, my relationship got better, and I’d accepted having to leave my old city. While I knew logically that my life situation changed for the better, my old sleeping patterns didn’t return.
The old Sacha couldn’t sleep and felt depressed and anxious.
There were points where I felt suicidal, even. Depression and anxiety caused chronic insomnia, and now chronic insomnia was causing depression and anxiety. You know as well as I do, trying to be optimistic that I would eventually sleep on little to no sleep felt like a losing battle.
Those four years were a long and painful journey. But I am here to tell you that I now sleep well again. Most nights, I sleep 7 or more hours and wake up feeling alert and rested. I might have a night every month or two where I sleep 5 or 6 hours and feel groggy for most of the day, but it doesn’t throw me off like it used to.
I Sleep Now, and You Can Too.
Like anyone trying to solve ingrained thought and behavioural patterns, it will take some time and effort on your part. It may also take a few tries. Just remember, barring any medical issues, you CAN sleep and you WILL sleep. There is life beyond chronic insomnia.
These are all of the tools that I have explored during my years with chronic insomnia. I still use many of these today as part of my sleep habits to help my mind and body prepare for sleep. I hope it’ll help you too.
My deepest empathy, support, and well wishes in your insomnia journey,