Enough Sleep

I’m too late for the mental health tag, but it’s late and I don’t have a story for E formed enough to write it. 

Sleep and I have had our differences. I struggle with anxiety and depression so if something has unsettled me I’ll ruminate and stress over it. On top of that, I also have worked night shift for well over a decade. For the most part, I’ve adapted to both my mental health challenges and working nights, but my sleep has definitely suffered. 

I’ve gone through period where I’ve survived on 3 hours of sleep. When I was teaching, I had a severe bout of insomnia linked to my depression. I would be awake for hours and contemplated self-harm at many points. I was recently very depressed and would wake up in the middle of night so often I’m not sure how I was functioning. Anxiety is the worst for this. I can obsess about things so badly and frequently it will wake me up at night. 3 am is a dreaded time for me because if I’m up at 3 it may mean I’m not going back to sleep that night. 

Insomnia is a really old friend of mine. 

I’ll take Benadryl, melatonin, do deep breathing exercises, or just give up and get out of bed. Sometimes, those things work. Usually I have to work through what’s keeping me awake as the only solution. Therapy is really helping that. It’s targeting my long held anxieties so I listen to and calm some of the fear. It’s helped when I do wake up in the middle of the night unable to sleep. I can turn in and hear what the feelings are trying to tell me. 

Sleep is a valuable thing though. It’s funny how used to not getting enough of it I am. I’m usually tired at baseline and I live with being that way. When you’re on nights, your body doesn’t care if you’ve worked. It wants to be awake during daylight hours. Then because I do work nights, when I’m off, my body just decides it wants to be up at night too. 

I wish I had some trick to overcoming it. It isn’t as bad as it used to be. It’ll crop up for a week, I figure out what’s got my back up, and then I’m over it. I’m sure I’ll see my old friend again in the future whether I want to or not.



  1. Mrs Fever

    I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with sleep over the past several years. I look back at my 20s, when I never got any sleep but I could still just keep going, and say “How the heck did I do that?!” Because now, if I don’t sleep long enough or soundly enough, I just can’t function.

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      Cara Thereon

      The older I get, the harder staying awake late is. If I’m not working, I’m tying to be asleep by 9.

  2. Bee

    I hear you loud and clear! Last night was the worst night I’ve had in a long time so functioning today is going to be interesting.

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  3. elliott henry

    Get relaxed, breath deep, and recite the 50 states in alphabetical order. If you get through that and still not asleep then do the Canadian provinces. If that doesn’t do it, then get up and write a story.

  4. Marie Louise

    I can so relate to you to being tired as it being the baseline. You do just get used to it and I think it is good in a way because otherwise, how would you survive? I’m sorry you struggle with sleep, I know how much it can affect daily life all the time. I’m glad therapy is starting to help with that. Though it sounds like you’re still al long way from it being completely solved.

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