Thought that I would write this pots around sleep and the lack of it. This is very relevant for me at the moment as over the weekend I didn't sleep – finally slept last night after 4 nights.
For me sleep and I have always had a love hate relationship. I have had long periods where I have really struggled to have a “normal” sleeping pattern and almost became nocturnal at stages. When I was at Lavender slowly I managed to change it so that I slept at night. This, however, was probably because I felt safe there. One thing about me and sleep is the nightmares, and that why I need to feel safe somewhere to be able to sleep. This probably makes very little sense to a lot of people, but for those who it does – your not alone!!! feeling safe meant that I was able to let the nightmares happen (as they didn't stop) but be able to deal with them in a very different way and so able to go back to sleep. To some extent I have been able to do that here on the ward as well.
As my CPN has said about my whole relationship with sleep especially when I was in the flat and didn't feel safe, was that it wasn't that I couldn’t sleep it was that I was so scared of it that I fought it. As is probably quite obvious the reason that I was so anxious of it was because of the nightmares and how real that they feel. Although I get flashbacks and body memories a lot of the day too, I find night times worse, partly because its dark and so harder to ground myself, but if I am awake I can at least try and control what is going on, where as when I am asleep this is impossible. I think that this says a lot about me, and how I need to be so much in control of everything, because the thought of being out of control is another thing that really scares me. I also need to be able to rationalise everything and understand it, and nightmares by their nature are not easy to do this.
Anyway enough about me!
Insomnia termed as; inability to obtain sufficient sleep, especially when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep;sleeplessness – by the dictonary .com )
There are many reasons that lead someone to have problems with sleep, I have explained mine, but anything from chronic pain, through depression and anxiety to serious physical illness'. But I will concentrate on depression and anxiety as these are the things that also have a huge impact on my sleep.
In general anxiety causes a difficulty in getting to sleep, because the mind has been unable to shut down due to worrying or other anxiety symptoms. I also find that ruminating also causes difficulty to get to sleep. This also happens when someone is stressed with work or family although this tends to be acute insomnia rather than chronic that can be found in serious anxiety disorders. Early wakening is a sign of depression. Of cause this is not the case in all people, and sleep is just one symptom of many in both these disorders. (or at least this is what I can find on Wiki and what I remember from the food and mood course that I ran!).
Well that a quick look into the reasoning for insomnia without going into loads of scientific detail - I can't cope with that right now. And there is only so much by knowing about something that it will help....so what does help?
As the picture shows there is stuff that you can do. I know that it depends on person to person as I personally have my TV on as I find that the light and noise bring me back quicker from a nightmare, and my routine of getting up and having a ciggie as a way to bring my head away from what happened in it goes against everything in sleep hygiene but it works for me. These are just ideas, you have to find what’s right for you.
Sleep hygiene I think is something that is gone on about in mental health that I know that I stop listening! So I hope that this post helps you bring back ideas that might help you sleep better.
ps sorry that this isn't a great post this is what lack of sleep does to me!!!