I have shared with you all lovelies before that I have PTSD and, because of it, suffer from pretty crushing anxiety sometimes. I’m pretty much on top of it during my waking hours, but lately (i.e. increasingly since May) that daytime anxiety just feels like it’s getting pushed to the nighttime.
Here are all the things I’ve tried to make myself sleep better:
1. Getting off the computer an hour before I’m planning on going to sleep
2. Setting a regular sleep schedule
3. Keeping my bedroom tidy
4. Binaural beats
5. Guided meditation
7. Eating more protein earlier in the day
8. Lowering my sugar intake
9. Closing the curtains
10. Getting off of problematic meds
11. Taking supplements (a valerian/melatonin/GABA/etc pill and an herbal tincture)
13. Not watching TV
14. Not consuming caffeine
15. Getting to bed early to allot more time for sleep
16. Exercising more
18. Implementing my DBT strategies
19. Finally, after all of that, Ambien
…And still, the problem persists. Every night, I get about four hours of sleep, wake up at 1 or 2 in the morning — frequently because of stressful dreams (it used to be really horrifying nightmares but apparently my brain is done with those for now) — start getting anxious about shit, it snowballs because I usually have to get up at a certain time to run so I feel like I HAVE to get back to sleep, but can’t go back to sleep, which leads to massive panic attacks. And, of course, the less sleep I get, the more sugar I eat, the less attentive I am, the worse the panic gets.
Next strategies: Massage (my body is in paaaaaain), making a routine of group meditation so that I’m better at it at night, possibly just accepting that I’m never ever ever ever going to get a good night’s sleep again.
Possible causes other than anxiety: Periods, apparently! I’m going to start calling my really really bad bouts of insomnia around my periods “my blood-wakin’.”
I’m half writing this to crowdsource solutions for the problem, and half to let you know, in case you also suffer from chronic, seemingly impossible-to-cure insomnia, that you aren’t alone. Apparently sometimes all the best answers people can give you still don’t help. I would invite you to tweet at me when you can’t get to sleep, but then again, it’s probably best that I not look at my phone at 2:30 AM.