Once upon a time in a bedroom far, far, away lay a young women lay in bed unable to sleep as she counted down the hours until she had to get up. My relationship with sleep is definitely not a fairy tale, trust me. If you are reading this I guess yours might be too.
I absolutely love a good night sleep but sometimes it feels like I have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting a solid night of blissful dreaming. This is actually the first post of a series I am planning to write about sleep. It will focus on a broad range of things such as why we need sleep, creating the perfect sleep environment and things you can do to help you sleep. But first I want to tell you My No Sleep Story so you know you aren’t alone in those sleepless nights.
Now if you are one of those people who can just shut their eyes and sleep then I am incredibly jealous. My boyfriend is one of those people and sometimes I turn and look at him fast asleep at 2:00 am and I just think why can’t I do that? Being unable to sleep is just one of the most annoying things ever because it seems so simple and easy for some people.
Step One: Shut your eyes
Step Two: Sleep
I really do not understand it at all. Newborn babies can sleep, so why can’t I ????
When I try to sleep, my enemy is my Brain. The way I visualize trying to get to sleep is me in a room with a million switches trying to find the right one to turn my brain off for the night. One switch turns off the brain and the rest just unleash a stream of anxious thoughts and problems that demand my attention at that very moment. At night my Brain just turns against me and becomes some sort of supervillain.
One of the worst things for me personally is that my OCD becomes much worse when I am tired and I get even more intrusive thoughts which in turn prevent me from sleeping. It becomes a super annoying cycle. I know I need to sleep and trust me I want to sleep so badly but I can’t.
I have tried a lot of things as well. From podcasts to lavender spray, it seemed that no amount of bed time reading or mediation would prove to become my reliable sleep tool. I’d put my phone away and stare at the ceiling and sometimes I would even get out of bed and stretch. Sometimes something would work but success rates were by no means consistent. Later on I hope you give you a more detailed explanation of what I do to try and sleep but the point is sometimes I have to try super hard to sleep, which I have actually learnt in my research might also be a factor stopping me from sleeping. I know right, like it isn’t hard enough but now even trying to sleep intentionally can stop you sleeping?
For a long time, I thought it was just me. There was something broken that meant I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t having one sleepless night like some people but a whole week of just being unable to get more than four hours a night. It sucked and then I confided in a friend who actually also spent most of the night wide awake even though she did not want to. The more I looked into it online the more I realized so many of us aren’t getting the sleep we need. This infographic from Raconteur left me astonished how many people struggle with sleep. According to them, only 10% of people felt that they slept extremely well. People, why are we so bad at sleeping?
So, now you know it is not uncommon to be terrible at sleeping and you know my Sleep Story so I want to ask, what is your Sleep Story? Is it a No Sleep Story like mine?
I am genuinely interested in why so many of us in this day and age can’t switch of at night. We know sleep is one of the most important things for our health but many of us can’t switch off at night. So send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop me a message on Instagram @katiewatson._ about the struggles you face sleeping. In my next couple of blog post I am going to explore why sleep is actually important with some science terms I learnt on a podcast (yes, there was proper research this time) and potential ways you can improve your sleep. Hopefully I can help you get all the hours of sleep you need and if not maybe I will just write some super boring posts to try put you to sleep.
Even if you can’t sleep tonight, remember you aren’t alone and that:
Hey, it gets better,
P.S. Enjoy this graphic of me kicking my anxious brain in the ass once I become a Master of Sleep!