I have battled sleep for about six years now. It began when my youngest was a baby and very sick. He rarely slept, and I had to learn to do the same. Mostly, I did it well. The internet was alive and exciting 24/7 via my iPhone, so forgetting I was chronically tired wasn’t too difficult. In fact, it was during this period that I managed to retrain and move into working in online presence from my previous career in public health. All via my trusty devices that I could use easily while feeding or soothing the sleepless baby.
As things started to improve with my son, I was involved in a trauma which threw me a complete curveball. The trauma meant pain, night terrors and panic attacks, therefore, sleep become my nemeses. I disguised all of this by throwing myself into my new business which I knew people would expect me to be pulling long hours in.
Those long hours were crazy, and it felt like everywhere I looked other entrepreneurs were doing the same, so this drove me on. But it wasn’t helping me. It was doing the complete opposite, and I lacked the creativity and attention to detail I needed for my work.
Three years on and my person was starting to unravel due to lack of shut-eye. No longer could I pretend. I was starting to suck at life. I often stumbled through the door of my office in the mornings, carrying a coffee cup and feeling like I had barely slept a wink. My body hurt, I couldn’t think clearly, and I wasn’t giving the best to anything, especially my family. Looking back, it was like I was there, but not there.
Slowly with Somatic Experiencing therapy, I have worked on looking after myself better and getting more sleep.
Here is how the extra sleep has improved me :
Addicted To Sleep
It hasn’t been easy, and I have had to be strict with myself about the scrolling on my phone after the lights go out, BUT as I gradually worked my bedtime back to a better hour, I have become addicted to how good I feel in the mornings and all those hours of sleep.
My skin is clearer
This is a funny positive because I have whined and complained about this a lot over the years and would never have thought sleep was the reason I had old lady acne.
My attention span is longer
When chronically tired, I was always scanning stuff fast as if I was in a constant hurry, but it was that my brain simply couldn’t take anything in being so under-rested. As my hours of sleep during the night have improved, so has my attention span and that has made me super happy and much calmer.
Anxiety has decreased
With at least 8 hours of sleep happening each night, my anxiety levels have reduced hugely. I do still sometimes have a spike when things happen that cause me stress, but this isn’t the crippling anxiety that lasts for days. Let’s say my anxiety has been more manageable.
My relationships have improved
Just like my short attention span, I had little patience with my relationships while I lacked sleep. Many interactions have felt like a blur and I possibly unfairly blamed others for not reacting the way I wanted them to be. When in reality, why should they when I was a grumpy space cadet?
Aside from needing to be super strict with myself and listening to my therapist when she suggested the moment I felt tired that I should go and get into bed, I have used a couple of sleep apps. Sleep Cycle and Good Morning have been great. I now just use Sleep Cycle as it does everything I need for free.
Do you battle sleep? Or maybe you undervalue it like I once did?