For as long as I can remember I’ve always struggled falling asleep. My parents constantly remind me of the endless late night car trips they would take for me to fall asleep as a baby. Looking back now my primary school days weren’t anywhere near as bad as when I was a child and as a teen. Many nights I would lay awake, thoughts surging through my brain like electricity, desperately trying to get some shut eye. More often than not midnight and 1am would roll on by and I’d still be awake and frustrated. Once I began high school and the final years of my education where I was drowning in work load, stress and pressure, I slipped into a never-ending cycle of poor sleep quality and being anxious about the amount and quality of sleep I was going to get. It probably didn’t help that I used to love leaving assignments and study to the last minute. My family started to notice a change in my personality and overall energy levels. I know that stress is a somewhat normal part of being a Year 12 ATAR student but the pressure to decide on a career path and university courses and applications was unnecessary and something I wish high school teachers would understand more – that it’s perfectly normal and OK to not have your mind or heart set on a definitive career or what you want to do in life. I still, almost two years later, have no bloody clue. Hell, my own Mother says she still doesn’t have a clue.
There was something in me that always knew I was never going to be someone who would go or want to go to university but it was compulsory for me to apply because of the classes I had chosen to do in school. So, with all this I became the most irritable and emotional human being you can possibly imagine! I seriously I look back now and laugh at how emotional I was. If toddler tantrums were a sport, I’d be the MVP. There were nights where I’d come home from school, squeeze in an hour or two nap, get up and eat dinner then study until two or three in the morning, get a few hours sleep, and be up again at seven to go back to school. This was beyond unhealthy both physically and mentally. The cycle continued and has never really ended. Enter the ex-boyfriend and a nasty breakup that was out of the blue and one that took me months to heal from. This only added to the exhaustion and anxiousness about sleep. And now here we are May 2017, and I’m still having anxiety about how much sleep I’m going to get.
I have tried just about everything under the sun in the way of sleep remedies: limited screen time before bed, relaxing baths, reading a book, soothing sounds, oral sleep spray and even sleeping pills. Sleeping pills are clearly an extreme measure and something I wouldn’t advise without consulting a medical professional first. The ones I tried (Restavit) didn’t really work for me. Sure I went to sleep alright but I could be asleep for up to 12 hours and would just be left feeling groggy and hungover after taking it. I might just quickly add that I’ve never been officially diagnosed with insomnia by a doctor, just self-diagnosis here. I usually just refer to my sleeping issues as sleeplessness more so than insomnia. The only thing I actually swear by is a soothing sounds app, which is free and called Relax Melodies. The app features a range of different sounds which are customisable to your tastes, I prefer water trickling, rainforest, melody type sounds. I tend to select the button which plays music for 30 minutes and then exits the app, which I love because if I fall asleep the sounds aren’t playing on my phone all night long. I know a lot of people credit physical exercise as an aid for sleeplessness. I’m not a very sporty person but I do enjoy the odd long walk here and there and certainly believe that some old fashioned fresh air does me good. And so with all that I’ve made it my mission for 2017 to establish a healthy sleeping pattern and night time routine.
I’m really hoping this post is helpful for someone out there, even if it’s just one person who can relate.