One of my favourite times of day is when I can go to bed again. Admitting this feels slightly embarrassing and I’m pretty sure the old me would hearty laugh at me. Cause isn’t sleep ‘ just’ a necessity to function the next day? You could fill your time with so many different things, like working out, going to the movies or seeing friends. Why then would you look forward to going to bed?
In hindsight, I do think that the road I was one wasn’t a healthy one in the long term. I was always busy and tried to fill every day with appointments and activities.
Nowadays, I (luckily) look at thing differently. I now look forward to days without any obligation and even schedule them actively. I’ve also come around on the importance and value of sleep. In other words when I sleep badly, I’ll notice the effects instantly.
The importance of sleep
I think I’ve lost some of my resilience as a result of my brain injury. After a nightly with little sleep, I used to be able to power through the day on willpower alone. But, nowadays wanting something is no longer enough. More often the wanting becomes a hindrance as I have to (try and) make responsible decisions about what I can or cannot do. My energy level determines whether or not I can do something, not my willingness.
My ability to function during the day has become largely dependent on how I’ve slept. Luckily, most nights I sleep well. However, some night I just can’t seem to fall asleep. And for some reason this usually lasts for more than one night. Which leads to the increasingly frustrating situation of lying in bed and wanting to sleep, but remaining awake and watching the hours tick by.
Consequences of sleeping badly
Unfortunately, the last two weeks were filled with night like this. I would even go to bed early, hoping to catch up on the missed hours. Which only resulted in seeing more hours passing by. In the early hours of the day I’ll finally fall asleep. But by then it’s already too late (pun unintended :)).
From the moment I get out of bed, I’ll feel slightly off. I’d be more tired (naturally), moody and more irritable. Unfortunately I don’t always realize that that’s because I’ve slept poorly. After getting out of bed I tend to get distracted by everyday things, like getting dressed, having breakfast and going to work. Before you know it two or three days have passed in which I know something is off, but don’t know why.
This time it took me three days to recognize why I was feeling so low. I wasn’t the cheerful me, who tried to think positive thoughts, but would tear up over random news stories, got incredibly worked up over (meaningless) things and even started feeling sorry for myself.
As you can imagine, I was very relieved when I finally connected the dots. I was still me, but sleeping badly had caused me to function on a drained battery. In order to feel like myself again, I just needed to sleep well for a couple of nights.
Finding the problem
Regrettably, knowing this doesn’t automatically solve the problem. I still didn’t know why I had trouble sleeping. Wouldn’t it be nice, if there was some kind of checklist for situations like this. If you can’t sleep, you’ll just grab the list and check off boxes, until you know what you have to do. But alas, I’m still haven’t found this list.
Of course I’ve tried the commonly known approaches, such as avoiding caffeinated drinks in the evening, avoiding screens an hour before bedtime and going outside during the day. These things are undoubtedly very healthy, but didn’t made me fall asleep faster.
Next was to see if I’d changed something in the last couple of days or even weeks. Had I changed something in my routines? Had I been too busy, too worried or stressed about something? Had I been watching series or movies that were too excitable?
Yet something changed
I still don’t have a definitive answer, but nevertheless I’m thankfully sleeping better. Hopefully, this means that I’ve somehow solved whatever was bothering me. And I look forward to sleeping and catching up on those missed hours.
And should I still lie awake, well that’ll give me another chance to create that checklist. 🙂
How about you? Do you have trouble sleeping? How quickly do you realize that you’ve had a bad night? And do you know what causes this?