To Sleep or Not to Sleep

There are those of us that suffer from chronic insomnia, and I am one of them. I have gone days or an entire week without any restful sleep. Sometimes I am too tired to do my yoga stretches when I get up before the alarm goes off. I just take a pill for the aches and pains and off to work I go.

I used to take melatonin and/or Hylands Calms Forte to help me sleep. Sometimes the combination works, sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, I’m dead to the world for eight or nine hours, depending on how tired I am. When it doesn’t, I’m awake all night, AND when I finally want to sleep, its time to get up for work, and I feel drowsy and so out of it all morning. But the show must go on since we’re so shorthanded at work. I used to drink Pepsi or Coke for the caffeine to keep me awake, but after suffering from kidney rocks in 2008, the nephrologist told me no more colas, period. Not even root beer.

I had to stop taking the sleep aids because they created a nasty side effect called sleep paralysis. What happens is that the mind is awake, but the body remains in REM sleep. I’ll explain.

Imagine that you’re sleeping soundly in your bed. Then, for whatever reason, you drop out of REM sleep. You’re just lying there with your eyes closed. You can open your eyes anytime. Or so you think.

But you can’t open your eyes! You can hear your heartbeat, you can hear yourself breathing, you can hear the alarm clock going off, but you can’t move! You can’t scream or even whisper. What do you do? The more you struggle, the more tired you feel. You begin to feel scared and panic sets in. You think you’re going to die. Or you’re dead already? Not so, young grasshopper.

Then when all hope has been lost, all of a sudden, your eyes snap open. You’re not dead, but alive! You can move. You’re tired, but you’re mobile again. Gods be good! That my friends, is what I go through when sleep paralysis strikes.

Or it can happen when I am awake and lying in bed. My body is tired, but my mind is wide awake. My eyelids feel like something is pulling them down, and I have to fight with everything I have to keep them open. I know that if my eyes close, I will not be able to open them. It is a very scary feeling. The last time it happened, I was able to keep my eyes open. But it created a new problem.

For a few days, I was afraid to go to bed. I wanted to stay up all night. I was too frightened to close my eyes. Which might explain why the song “If I Close My Eyes Forever” by Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford was playing in my head. I like that song. But anyway, what if I became trapped in sleep paralysis and possibly die? I won’t, but that thought permeated my mind. So I endured going to work totally exhausted, and being even more tired when I returned in the afternoon. I considered sleeping in my chair, but it would be too uncomfortable. My sofa is as comfy as a park bench so that was out of the question.

So I was in a spot. If I don’t go to sleep, I’ll be tired, worn out, totally knackered, and possibly risk getting into an accident, or take my chances on not being able to wake up. What to do? Then I had an idea: Don’t take any sleep aids. So okay. I’ll leave them alone and go to bed. Unfortunately, I should have taken an aspirin at least because I was hurting all over from being so tired, and I did not sleep well as a result. But, no sleep paralysis. I’ll take the ugly win.

I have been off the sleep aids for a few days now, and I’m still not sleeping well, but unless I’m in REM sleep, I am able to wake up before the alarm goes off. I have tried chamomile tea, but that does not help. I have a sound machine, but it does not have Solfeggio tones, so I’ll be looking to replace it. This just might solve my insomnia problem. Meanwhile, let’s see if I can sleep tonight. I have tomorrow off and I feel so wiped out and bedraggled.

That’s all I have for now. Thanks for reading this post and staying until the end. Comments are always welcome. Have a good day/evening/night.

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