To state the obvious, pain is bad, very bad! I’m in a lot of bad pain but more than the pain it’s the lack of sleep that blights my being!
Insomnia – “I can’t get no sleep!”
At its worse I’m surviving on 90mins of kip a night. I take sleeping pills, but the pain in my legs wakes me up, so I spend most nights in a pattern of dropping off, spasming, drifting off, spasming again followed by several hours of nerve pain. So, I’ve given up on the sleeping pills, if I’m going to be up for 20hrs a day, I might as well make myself useful rather than sulking and sobbing into my pillow!
I don’t have a secret to cure insomnia, although I’m considering having a D.I.Y above knee amputation... but here is my little guide to surviving the long nights.
Don’t fight it!
I see no point in lying in bed, clock watching and cursing the sunrise. If you make it to 4am with no success - get up, not necessarily out of bed, but do something! Mike’s been away 6 week and where he would normally lay is my night time survival kit....
As you can see, I keep myself busy.... I’m a prolific reader, so there are always magazines and books dotted around the flat. I’m currently reading Nothing Changes Until You Do: A Guide to Self-Compassion and Getting Out of Your Own Way by Robbins, Mike (2014) Paperback (yes it’s a self help book, yes I need all the help I can get!). I'm also reading You're the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher too. I will say that you might be better off sticking to magazines for short articles and features as the trouble with a good fictional read is that you’re forever telling yourself “Just one more chapter....”
3am is a dull time of day, unless you’re out at all night party, so it's a perfect time to do those dull beauty tasks! I use my time taming my mono brow, nails and taking a cheese grater to my foot. Monotonous tasks make for a monotonous brain... i.e. hopefully boring you to sleep!
I also keep creams, lotions, lip balms and overnight hair conditioners close by, I might as well pamper myself in my hour(s) of need and face wipes are must pain = hot, sticky clammy face and arms which drive me nuts!
Thank god for Netflix, BuzzFeed, Youtube and Huffingtonpost! On my tablet and mobile I have all four. We don’t have a TV in our bedroom but I’m more likely to fall asleep with my tablet balanced on the pillow next to me as I’m comfier on my side. I know “experts” will say to avoid all technology in bed, but those experts haven’t been distracted by puppy videos or cried them selves to sleep (hey sleep is sleep) watching The Notebook and Fault in the Stars!
Clear out your brain
I’m a writer so there’s always a note pad close by, all my idea’s, thoughts, and ramblings are better on paper than clogging up my drug filled insomniac brain. If nothing else, due to the severe lack of sleep I write to do, to take, to text, to remind, to watch and to buy lists and I even have to do lists informing me of to do lists I need to check – it’s a skill!
....in my case, and not in many others, I need medication, a lot it too. I always keep them nearby and lots of water!
Monotony can be key
As I mentioned before, boredom can cause sleep. One of my good friends suffers with neuralgia and plays mind sweep whilst waiting for her pain medication to kick in. I’m personally currently addicted to Theme Hospital, for young people it’s a very old cheesy game set, funny enough, in a hospital. You’d think I’d be sick of hospitals after my years of treatment but maybe that’s why I like it.
Indulge in guilty pleasures
I have many guilty pleasures, except I never feel very guilty about them. At 4am, I don’t have the brain power to follow an episode of Game of Thrones, instead I indulge in 16 and Pregnant. Teens not using protection, angry parents, girls believe the guys will change/grow up/man up (they never do!) girl loves baby, but always says in the end that they wished they’d waited and hadn’t realised it would be so hard! 5 seasons later you’d think they’d learn but it’s very addictive viewing!
On bad nights I’ll also indulge in copious warm milk, Oreo cookies and lately, strawberries, being up alone all night is not fun – food makes me happy!
The beauty of the internet is A. There will be other Insomniacs sat considering introducing their heads to a brick wall and B. The world has many time zones, even if your country is asleep many others will be awake, so make some international friends and you’ll never be lonely.... or in my case get engaged to a Geologist who spends half of his year in America!
So this is how I survive the long nights. No one can underestimate the effects of never getting a decent night’s sleep, my work, social life; concentration and sanity are regularly in jeopardy due to insomnia but I do what I have to do to keep myself going how about you?
I bought a Spoonie Survival Kit from a little store on Etsy. It won’t cure any pain or insomnia but it’s adorable. It includes:
- Pink fluffy socks
- A tea bag
- Marbles for when I’ve lost mine
- Lip balm and nail varnish for pampering
- String to “Hold it together”
- A silver spoon (to read about the Spoonie movement click here!)
- A pen to write down my feelings
- a dice for luck.
A sweet gift if you know someone who’s suffering or in need of a little boost. You can buy them here!