My insomnia story – why I’ve forgotten how to fall asleep

insomnia

Those of you who follow my blog know that I have battled with sleep pretty much ever since I became a mum almost five years ago. Perhaps it was the sleep trauma of not sleeping for the best part of the year, perhaps it was my struggle with my hormone imbalances, or perhaps it is the general hecticness of mum life that is to blame. Whichever way you spin it, although my daughter is now an excellent sleeper, I now seem to be the one who can’t shake off the sleep problems – and so I’ve finally decided to get it all out here in my insomnia story.

After the best part of the year of having a baby that would wake up every hour on the hour and be awake for hours on end throughout the night, sleep was never to be the same again.

I’m pretty sure something shifted inside me

…or perhaps broke entirely.

I’d just about fall back asleep and then bang, I’d be woken up with screaming just as I was hitting that sweet spot again. Torture or what?

And then our breastfeeding journey ended

…and that is when the fun really started happening! I would struggle to get to sleep and wake up at silly o’clock….whether my daughter was awake or not. That’s when the sleep props starting drifting in….the eye mask, the lavender oil, the earplugs, the magnesium spray and eventually the Valerian.

Fast forward another few years and I still can not get to sleep without the bizarre combination above.

 

Once a week usually after a bad run of sleep I take melatonin….on which the jury is still very much out in terms of how safe it is for you, despite it being “all natural”. I hate the fact I am dependent on all of these things, but without the Valerian I will be lying awake until the wee hours of the morning before sleep eventually takes hold. On some nights even WITH all of the above sleep can sometimes elude me entirely.

On top of all that, I have become a frustratingly light sleeper – probably because my brain has now been trained that way. The slightest snore, itch or noise outside and I’ll be awake again.

I can’t even seem to fall into sleep during a “nap” if the rare opportunity should ever present itself. Obviously, all of this has not been fun for my partner who has been amazingly tolerant.

I have tried hypnotherapy, acupuncture, EFT, sleepy yoga, sleepy tea, meditation and what seems to be a bajillion other things. And yes before you ask I have incredibly good sleep hygiene. I’m considering cognitive behaviour therapy next.

I just want to be able to fall asleep naturally.

I feel like my body has forgotten how to do so!

Then in desperation, I booked myself in for an extortionately priced appointment at a Harley Street sleep clinic. The best part of £400 for the appointment and I was told to take melatonin consistently – every night for six months. But the thing is with melatonin – yes it makes me sleep, but at what cost? That eventually my pituitary gland will eventually forget how to make it naturally and will calcify?

So here I am, still scratching my head, wondering…

when I will be able to fall asleep naturally again?

I guess at least thus far I have avoided going on hardcore sleeping pills…having tried Zoplicone a couple of times in desperation quite frankly they frighten the hell out of me!

I’ve just been recommended Dr Berg’s Night Formula All Natural Sleep Aid which seems pricey yet promising – and I’m currently eagerly awaiting its arrival in the post. I really hope it works because I’m running out of ideas here!

In the meantime, I’ve decided I’m going to try and wean myself off the Valerian slowly but surely – much like you would have to with sleeping pills. Stepping down one pill at a time per week. I’ve started the process and hoping I will be able to see it through.

Do you struggle with insomnia? Have you found a way to fall asleep naturally? I’d love to hear your experiences and any advice you might have.

24 comments

  1. Oh Talya! We never knew 🙁 My daddy suffered from insomnia after I was born, constantly on edge and listening out for the smallest of noises, mind wandering and he tried everything as it was affecting his working days. Then one day it just clicked and he started sleeping again, sleep is a strange thing and the way the mind shuts off. Good luck with finding a solution x

  2. Oh this must be awful! I had a friend years ago who had this – after her son was born, she just couldn’t sleep. She would have to just lie awake and “rest” but would actually only get an hour or so of actual sleep each night. You’ve got me thinking now – we’ve not been in touch for ages, I wonder how she is? I hope that you find some answers soon it must be so difficult for you. #blogcrush

  3. I do really feel your pain, lack of sleep is the worst kind of extended torture possible! I used to be the same (still am to some degree) hence the name of my blog but when I was put onto anti-depressants (mood stabilisers according to the PC doctors), everything seemed to stabilise! I started getting to sleep earlier and waking up later and I now get at least 5 solid hours a night… I know it doesn’t work for everyone but my insomnia was large in part to my hormones going AWOL after surgical menopause and so that seemed to calm everything down. I think that also we have to be careful that something else isn’t going on that’s causing us to wake or not fall asleep at all, the body is an amazing thing and may be trying to tell you something you don’t already know xx

    Shevy
    http://moonsomnia.com
    #CoolMumClub

  4. Sleep problems are just horrible, I’m very thankful that so far I’m still a decent sleeper. I know a few people who have suffered with insomnia and know how debilitating it can be. Sorry, I have no wonder advice I’m afraid. Hope you find a solution soon #coolmumclub

  5. Oh no, how dreadful for you. I’m lucky to be a great sleeper, probably helped by too much wine sometimes, it has to be said. So, I have no useful advice or tips for you, apart from to up your intake of red wine! #coolmumclub

  6. I have no trouble falling asleep – but staying is asleep is a whole other matter! I estimate I get maybe 5-6 hours a night – not nearly enough. I can’t blame it on my daughter either, who sleeps like a dream. No advice from me, I’m afraid – it’s so frustrating! #coolmumclub

  7. I hope you can crack it. I fall asleep the moment my head hits the pillow most night!! I assume you’ve tried no phone or TV, caffeine etc before sleep? What about some gentle exercise? #coolmumclub x

  8. Oh you poor thing. Hopefully you’ll find what works for you. I like Rescue Night, suduko then an audio book and my eye mask. Though my biggest issue is just my brain buzzing, so the Suduko helps calm that, then I’m OK most of the time. #coolmumclub

  9. I really feel your pain. My sleep has gone even more bonkers recently and I didn’t even think that was possible. I am having really scary night terrors at the moment and sleep talking and screaming and shaking my husband awake – eeeks. It’s stress causing it and I hoping it resolve soon. If not I will be asking you how you found Dr Berg…#Coolmumclub

  10. It sucks having insomnia, I have suffered from it Aalot in my life and it can be exhausting and really challenging. I do take medication now to help me sleep and it is a blessing X #coolmumclub

  11. That sounds miserable …. I really struggle on reduced sleep and am not a nice person to be around when it happens! Hope this Dr. Berg fella sorts it out for you. #coolmumclub

  12. Oh Talya this sounds awful… I have experienced insomnia when the kids were really bad sleepers – my body clock was all over the place. Thankfully I’m back to my norm – being asleep before my head hits the pillow, so I can’t really offer any advice at my end. I hope your next trial works out for you xxx
    Sending a big cup of coolmumclub cocoa your way!! x
    PS Ooh just thought – 2 kiwis before bed – tried that?

  13. Rev T feels your pain as he doesn’t always sleep well and we have no idea why. (Nothing else, no advice, sorry! But I hope the next thing you try does the trick)

  14. I really feel for you! I hope you find a solution that works for you, very soon. I’m sleep deprived due to the two littles but I’m sure that there will be a time in the near future that they allow me a few more hours a night! #coolmumclub

  15. To really struggle with sleeping when it is all you want must be horrid. I do find it tough to get to sleep and this has definitely got worse since I had my kids, but fortunately all it takes is to have the TV on so I can concentrate on that sound instead of the zillion thoughts and to do lists running around in my head. I hope you find a solution very soon xx #coolmumclub

  16. Sleep problems, especially when you are a parent are the worst. I think life can just make sleep hard, and using some aids to help you drift off shouldn’t make you feel negative. I hope you find a solution you are happy with soon and that sleep comes a easier to you

  17. This sounds awful. I feel for you – it’s probably now the anxiety and waiting to fall asleep that’s not helping it. But how to break the cycle.

    I have no issue falling asleep but seem to be waking earlier and earlier. I also go to bed way too late – I blame blogging for that! #coolmumclub

  18. I did struggle with Insomnia for a long time after I had my oldest. I also had a mental illness that kicked in while I was pregnant with him so that didn’t help me at all. I had to be on medication for awhile as well but while I do struggle to fall asleep now, once I’m asleep I usually stay asleep. Every once in a while I’ll have a sleepless night but I have a routine I use to relax me when I’m having trouble. Lavender is one of my tricks actually lol. I hope this new medicine helps you Tayla! Not getting enough sleep is really rough. #CoolMumClub

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