Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Insomina and the Struggle

This might be a short post (ha! it's not short), but I just need to write. You guys know I like to think of this blog as more diary-style than DreaminginBlush, and... well, tonight is one of those nights where I need it. This blog is probably going to be really honest and raw and I might wake up in the morning and go wtf?!, who knows. Enjoy the little foresight into my brain while you can. 

It's 3:50am, which isn't actually abnormal for me except for that I have been absolutely exhausted and fighting sleep since 11pm. 

You guys know I have insomnia, and I have always described it under that blanket term, "insomnia". Sleep problems. Sleep disorder. But tonight is an example of the true issue of my sleep problem, and that's sleep anxiety. 

I actually hate sleeping. I hate it, because I really like it. I hate it, because I find it so incredibly hard to wake up in the mornings, and it takes me hours to feel productive once my day starts. When my body sleeps, it sleeps HARD, but it doesn't sleep deeply, so I don't actually feel rested. Give me a lights out, no noise, perfect kind of sleep for 8 hours, heck, give me 10 or 11, and I still won't feel rested. The reality is that I will be groggy and unable to focus for a good long while once I wake up, no matter how hard I try. Think of even the name of this blog, "iheartyoucoffee". Well, I heart coffee because it's the only thing that gets me out of bed and able to even think, let alone function. I don't function in the mornings. At all. 

Now, once I've been up for a solid 4-5 hours my body and mind finally "wake up" and I am so incredibly productive. I love life, I get things done, I read, I film and edit videos, I hang out with friends... I'm a happy person! I can do these things in the groggy hours, but it's like living in a fog. It's not real. It doesn't feel real, it doesn't feel like I am actually "living" at all, and the memories don't even stick. I can have a conversation with someone in those foggy hours AND NOT REMEMBER IT. At all. It's so extreme I thought I had a brain tumor until my doctor told me I didn't. 

So, according to my Doctor, what happens is my body forms this sort of distrust with sleep. Subconsciously, I have learned to associate sleep with the inability to fully "live" for several hours the next day (this is honestly the best way to describe it, it's hard to explain the feeling to a normal person. It's not just "not being a morning person". It's more complicated). Because of this, bedtime causes me severe anxiety. Most of the time, I can ignore it and just stay awake through it because I am lucky enough to have a job where I make my own hours most of the time, and can work at night and be groggy in the day if I want to be. And also I want to point out, this doesn't happen every single night, especially not anymore now that I am on medicine. 

But some nights, like tonight, when I know I have to be up early tomorrow... it's hell. I am so tired my eyelids are drooping and my head is nodding off, but I have such an intense feeling of fear to fall asleep. It's as irrational as being afraid of little spiders or snakes or being hugged or, I dunno, whatever else people are terrified of, but it's real in my head. I won't let myself sleep. 

I'm on a prescription sleep medication that works with the issues at hand, anxiety-based insomnia, and it works great. I take it and fall asleep within 30 minutes, but here's the kicker. 

Because my issue is anxiety about sleeping, I avoid taking the medicine. Not always, but tonight that's been my issue. It sounds so silly to someone reading this, I'm sure you're thinking, wow Elle, when did you become a nut job? But I am sharing a real struggle with you that have had for a few years now. 

I get comments sometimes about, "You only need to get yourself on a schedule!" or "You just need to eat healthier/work out earlier in the day/cut out caffeine/ get off technology early!" and while your comments are appreciated, that's not the issue. I have an actual chemical imbalance when it comes to sleep. 

Forcing myself to sleep right now is what I imagine someone with an eating disorder feels when they have to eat something, my brain is giving me very strong NO/DANGER signals. 

One time, my Doctor put me on a sleep deprival schedule, to see if he could "fix" my internal clock before going to the next step, which would be a medication. I was told not to sleep for 72 hours, and then sleep for exactly 12. (Or something like that, to be honest I don't remember the exact method but the point was the deprive my body of sleep for long enough to reset my clock). This was Christmas 2 years ago, and on the 72nd hour I was sitting on my kitchen floor sobbing to my Dad and unable to get in bed to sleep. I thought I was going to end up in the ER, it was so bad. I could not, for the life of me, make myself sleep. My anxiety and fear of sleeping was so great at that moment that Ambien was the only thing that could make me sleep. I'm not on Ambien anymore, btw. Have you seen what Ambien does to me? I have a video on it, you can watch it here, but before you do I want to point out that this video, while funny, isn't really funny at the same time. Blair filmed it whilst I was on Ambien blacked out one night, and it's silly so I uploaded it, but I am in no way making light of my sleeping issues by showing you this video. Ambien makes people do crazy things like sleep walk, sleep talk, sleep eat, sleep DRIVE (yes this is a thing!) and the people around you think you are awake because your eyes are open but you are actually asleep! A part of your brain is actually asleep and you will have absolutely no recollection of any of it the next day. True story, I called my ex one night on Ambien and apparently talked to him for 3 hours about the meaning of life. He could be pulling my leg, but how would he know I had taken Ambien that night? And WHY HIM? Why a random ex? It wasn't even my most recent ex, it was a random one!





Sometimes I wonder if I have really bad nightmares or something that I can't remember in the morning and that's why my body dislikes sleep so much. Or maybe I get possessed by an alien at night. Or something. I have thought all these things, it just seems so strange, all of it. I do actually get Night Terrors, but I haven't had one of those in awhile (now that I am thinking about them I will probably get one tonight, great). 

I did a sleep study once that showed that while I slept a full 8 hours, I didn't dip into my deep sleep REM cycle one time the entire night. This was before I was put on medicine. My medicine helps me dip into REM the way I am supposed to so I don't die. If you don't get correct sleep, YOU DIE. How crazy is that? Can you imagine that? 

I'm sitting here, exhausted and blogging. This is my life at this very moment, and for some crazy reason I wanted to share it even though I hardly ever share personal things. 

Oh, and I had a terrible day too. So there's that. 

I still love you though, and A, so we are all a very happy iheartyoucoffee family aren't we? :) 

P.S. This post doesn't have a picture. I'm too tired, I'll pick one in the morning. 

P.P.S. Leave me a comment, it's not like I'll be, I dunno, sleeping or anything.

82 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh Elle! You are seriously a life saver! I do this same thing where I know I have to be up early the next day and I'm literally afraid to sleep! I seriously thought I was the only one. I may have to check into this with my doctor but thank you for writing out your feelings about it, It really made me feel more sane. <3 Love your channel you!

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  2. Hey Elle! :) It must really suck to have insomnia like that... I won't try to give you any advice or something, because I can't relate very well, but I'm a psychology student and we've seen that, sometimes therapy can help with this anxiety to go to sleep :) If you can help that, then maybe you will be able to take your medicine? I don't know, just a thought! :) I hope you feel better soon! Love you always <3

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  3. That sucks. I have sleeping problems too, but mine are more in the category of 'my mind won't stop working so I can't get to sleep'. I'll have periods of a week or two every few months or so, and the rest of the time sleep is no issue at all. I would hate to deal with what you're going through. I think sleep is all about finding what works for you. I know people who will sleep for a few hours after sunset, then get up and do things all night before having another few hours sleep before sunrise and starting their days like the rest of us! I hope you figure out what works for you. Sending good thoughts from Australia :)

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    1. I actually really like that idea, and that is what my Grandmother does! She get's up at 7am on the dot every single morning without an alarm, lives her life for a few hours, then sleeps from 2-4 every single day, then stays up till like 2am. And my mom says she has done this her entire life, it's not just because she is old. I have tried to do this and while it works I feel like I lose out on so much of my day... I don't want to be sleeping from 2-4, you know?

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    2. Yeah, I totally get that. It's no fun to be sleeping while everyone else is movin' and shakin' :p That kind of biphasic/polyphasic sleep is similar to what Da Vinci's sleep schedule was supposedly like (and some people say its a sign of someone with higher level of intelligence). It's kind of cool when you think about it!

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  4. I'm in the same boat you are in Elle. I don't believe my problem is severe as yours but I tend to sleep around 3 am to 5 am (currently it is 1 am for me) yet I always want to start my day early for example I choose to have my college courses begin at 8 am because I want to have as much day time as I can but I'm greedy and want to be awake during night time as well. Don't get me wrong I love sleep though when I get it but like you mentioned I hate getting up. The one thing I hate about sleeping though is that sometimes I feel as if I am awake and aware but I am incapable of moving or even opening my eyes and that feeling scares me to bits! I have read on it and apparently it refers to your body still being in REM but your mind is not, even if that's not the case I don't like that part of sleeping. I hope you find time for rest though and are able to have a great meet up :) PS I am in love with coffee too but i'm a new lover.. I have realized that I NEED it!

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  5. Thanks for sharing this Elle! Now we all have insight to your unique issue, so we can avoid saying things like "you should try this or that" when really it doesn't help and you've heard it all before and it doesn't relate to your issue.
    I hate when people do that with me. I have insomnia too but it's not as normal as most people think and I get tired of people telling me things I have tried again and again, that don't relate to my type of insomnia. I can sleep, and I am able to achieve deep sleeps, but it is very hard for me to actually fall asleep. So even though I can rest well, I don't often get to sleep. But anyway, I have so much sympathy for you and your sleep anxiety, and I pray and hope that one day you can be free of it and that you can enjoy deep sleep and feel refreshed and actually enjoy going to sleep.
    You have so many of us that care, don't forget! :D x

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  6. My problems with sleeping are not as serious as yours, but I hate sleeping, cause I am not productive in the mornings (until 1pm), so I work/learn untill 2am almost every day. It is hard sometimes when I have to be ready really early in the morning but I can't force myself to fall asleep before midnight. No way!
    Hope you will find a way to solve this problem. Greetings from Poland ;)

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  7. Hey form Latvia! (You probably don't know where it is, is is really small country!

    I feel sorry that you have such issue, because sleeping is the best thing!

    Hope you feel better,
    Whit love,
    Agnes.

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  8. Yup I am exactly the same way. I had to start online schooling because early mornings just weren't happening and never were going to happen. I COULD not, WOULD not, pull myself out of bed at 5:45am to sit in class in a daze for 4-5 hours, no matter how much coffee was in my system.

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  9. You basically described exactly what I have issues with! I have worked on it a lot and go through periods of good sleep hygiene and bad. Things like night rituals have helped me to get into the zone, however, most of the time its a matter of forcing myself to live through the discomfort that I feel by turning my lamp off and laying there unable to sleep. That is the part I hate most. Reading anything with words really helps me to fall asleep, like magazines on my iPad. I get it though that its a mind thing and I have major anxiety around my sleep and even making myself go to sleep. I try to remember how good I feel when I get more sleep and try to wind down earlier or give myself a cutoff time when my sleep hygiene is particularly bad to get back into the swing of things. I get into bed with my lavender pillow mist, favorite lip balm, hand cream and tell myself that I do not have to fall asleep, I can lay here as long as I want and just relax. It takes the pressure off. It helps me. I am also not productive in the morning whatsoever. I feel like you are literally describing how I am in the morning and it is so hard because people who aren't like that truly do not get it and think you are lazy! It is not that! I am sure that there are more people out there like us! Thanks for your honest post, you are not alone!

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  10. Wish I could share some of my love for sleep with you! I fall asleep really easily pretty much whenever I want. Whether it's during the day for a little nap, early at night or even in the morning, I pretty much fall asleep a second before my head touches the pillow. I can get a bit groggy in the mornings too but that goes away in an hour usually, which I guess is okay. It's just that I don't want to get up. So sometimes I wake up in the morning, do something for an hour and then get back to bed for a few hours. Then I always get sleep paralysis (which I was immensely afraid of when it first occurred, but then I learned the good part about it) and if I get through it, I'll have lucid dreams. And that's usually why I don't want to wake up, because in my lucid dreams I can create whatever I feel like (:

    Love from Estonia!
    www.missliina.com

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  11. I think my chaotic schedule is what is to blame when it comes to me sleeping (or lack there of). My brain is always telling me to be productive and that there is no time for sleep. Which usually ends up with me doing housework and blogging late at night and work and errands during the day with maybe 2-5 hours of sleep around 5AM. It was fine when I was a college student but now it just isn't working for me anymore.

    -Melissa
    www.glamourgirl220.blogspot.com

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  12. I have the same problems. The love/hate with sleep describes me perfectly. It was hell when I had a job that required me to be up early because I was always stressed about having to go to sleep early which made me feel like I was wasting my day, which in turn made me unable to sleep at all. Or I would worry about feeling awful in the morning or sleeping through my alarm (which happens all the time, even when i set 5..). But even now when I don't have any schedule I get anxiety because I hate feeling miserably exhausted from not sleeping but I know if I go to sleep at 5 am i'm going to sleep all day and then I feel like the day is ruined. But if I try to get up earlier i'm so groggy that I usually don't remember why I set an alarm or asked someone to wake me up and refuse to get up, thus sleeping all day anyway. I also find I get more hyper when its dark out...even if I had a long day and should be tired. I've tried everything. Melatonin can help me in a pinch but not always, and taking it every night doesn't work (even though it should).

    It doesn't help having people blame me either. People I know, especially my family constantly harass me about my sleeping. Saying I sleep too much, stay up too late, drink caffeine, on the computer, do it on purpose, am lazy etc. They don't get how hard it is for me and how hurtful the blaming is. I actually hide and block people on social networks so they don't know i'm up sometimes, or I lie about what time I woke up/went to bed. They also love to pick on me during my non-functional hours. Its like sleep-bullying.

    I think my sleep issue is something to do with my body not functioning on a 24 hour clock. I've noticed I need about 16-18 hours being awake before I am tired enough to sleep and then I need 10-12 hours of sleep to be somewhat rested (but i'm non-functional for a few hours after I wake up no matter what time). Thus my sleep schedule will go in a circle. It might be "normal" for a few days but then it goes off again. The other day I stayed up all day to flip my schedule...but I botched it. I fell asleep as planned around 9pm...but then I woke up at 5 am unable to go back to sleep. So I decided okay great ill stay up. Well I crashed at 10 am and slept until 6:30pm and now my sleep schedule is screwed up again.

    I don't think I can ever work a normal job to be honest. I try and try but it is a huge struggle.

    Anyway I totally feel your pain and i'm on east coast time too so your late night tweets give me some comfort when I'm up at these hours too. You're not alone!

    <3 Kris

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    1. I can relate to everything you are saying SO WELL. My family tries to be understanding but there is a little bit of sleep bullying going on here too. I think what you are saying about the non-24 hour clock makes a lot of sense and might be similar to what I am experiencing too. I've never thought of it that way, I have always tried to box in my sleep hours into 24 hours, but what you said makes so much sense. I want to be a morning person more than anything!

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    2. I honestly just thought I was a cat or something because I can sleep SO MUCH but I stay awake for long periods of time too which cats don't do... So it kind of compensates LOL but ya... after reconsideration I am not a cat... Meow :3

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    3. Omg I just posted a long comment talking about my situation too but it never published... :( So the cat comment must sound so weird alone like that... I basically just said how I can relate on our bodies not being on a 24h schedule because I have SO MUCH trouble going to bed and falling asleep, I can easily be up for 18h-20h but then I sleep for 10-12hours too... I had never thought of it like that but it does make so much sense!!! I could never have a 9 to 5 job... When I do manage to sleep 7-8 hours I wake up really groggy and it takes me a couple hours before I can function and be a normal human ya know... If Im at home I will often crash and fall right back to sleep... It sucks... I feel a little bullied too by my bf sometimes... He says I sleep too much and it is often associated with laziness.. I've been good for the past week, making sure I am in bed at 10 to relax and read and be up early by 7 or 8, it's going good but the problem is on little mis-step and BANG! All screwed up again.. Trying to take it day by day for now but it's not easy! I had never considered insomnia because even though I have trouble going to sleep when I finally do I have noo trouble sleeping lol but it's nice to relate and chat with you girls about it!

      Have you had this situation where you have a girl's night or a sleepover or something and after a movie or whatnot everyone is tired and wants to go to bed and Im like.. "whaaat!! Party's only getting started! I am fully awake over here....???"

      xxxx

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    4. Actually, there are two main types of insomnia, the inability to fall asleep (yours), and then the inability to stay asleep once asleep. So it is possible that you do have it! Meow.

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    5. i have a combination of both actually and so far no medicine worked to where they stopped trying after i went through so many and said to just take benadryl tablets 2 and for the most part it works most days if that could be an option for anyone even still sometimes just getting a few hours is better than none hope this helps :)

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    7. Elle, this post post means so much because I have had sleeping issues my whole life as well. While mine are not as severe as yours, there is still so much that I can relate to. And i completely get this whole "non-24 hour clock" thing. I can stay awake for crazy amounts of time, but then I need extra time to sleep and make up for all the time that I was awake. I have been a "night owl" my entire life, and I have never liked going to sleep at night. It was always almost like I was afraid of missing something if I went to sleep. To go along with this though, once I do fall asleep i hate getting up in the morning. It's like I hate sleep until I am actually physically asleep...and then I love sleep and don't want to wake up!

      I feel like my sleep schedule has never been perfect. I have always envied those who have a normal sleep schedule and can stick to it. Mine always ends up getting messed up. I worry about the stress that my heart gets put under due to the long amounts of time that I will go without sleep. Sometimes when I am really tired and exhausted due to lack of sleep, I can physically feel the strain on my heart. This is not even to mention the danger of driving while having virtually no sleep. I'm nearing the end of college now, and I've had these sorts of issues for a very very long time. I have also experienced my own share of sleep bullying. People just don't seem to understand. I think to myself sometimes that it is my fault because maybe I could really change if i wanted to, but at the same time it's like this voice in my head telling me not to go to sleep. I don't know why. I think I have a certain amount of sleep anxiety just like you, and I especially can relate to being in situations where i know i have to get up early in the morning, and then I just can't sleep because of the anxiety of it. I feel like i go around being so tired all the time, but then when night rolls around i somehow manage to stay up past the point of being tired. It's then like i get this strange new burst of energy which keeps me up through the rest of the night and wears off right around the time that I should be waking up. Then I just feel like crap for the rest of the day.

      I've never gone to the doctor for these issues or anything. I also suffer from anxiety in general, but this is also something that i have never been to the doctor for. I am afraid that they will just put me on pills that will have adverse side affects (obviously you know what i mean due to your experience with ambien.) At the same time too, I kind of feel like there is a strong possibility that I would do what you do and just not take the medicine anyway. I always tell people that if i could have one super power it would be the ability to never need sleep or have continuous non-stop energy. I guess I feel like we waste so much of our lives sleeping, and I just want to be doing things and being productive. So then I stay up for a really long time and exhaust myself to the point where i could sleep for like an entire day. And this just frustrates me all the more because I don't want to waste my days like that. I feel like this is just something that I will have to go on living with for the rest of my life, but I'm not entirely sure how to deal with it. I worry what I will do when I have to work a normal job with strict schedule and hours.

      At least it's good to know I'm not alone with these issues. Reading through the comments, it seems many people suffer with similar problems.

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  13. I'm a natural night owl. I hate early morning and feel most productive during evenings/night, bu untill last year I've never really had actual sleep issues/insomnia. My natural rythm is not what is best in my nine to five job, but I have managed with it pretty well. I fall asleep rather easily and if I have slept about 7-8 hrs I can get up at 7 in the morning if I really have to. It's not easy or fun, but I have managed to do that. The last year brought all kinds of stress and worries to my life and suddenly I could not fall asleep. I would lay in bed rolling for hours on end without getting sleep. When I eventually fell asleep I did sleep just fine, but ofc that ment that I would get up later than usual becuase I would sleep right through the alarm. It was awfull, specially for someone who usually does not have trouble sleeping. I can only imagine how hard this severe insomnia is to you because even my troubles affected my everyday life, job and studies. I hope all the best to you!

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  14. Yeah, I'm kind of the same. I feel like I only start functioning in the late afternoons. It was hell when I was in uni. I would get up early to do my assignments, but my brain wouldn't kick in until 3 or something, sometimes not till 6.

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  15. Hi Elle, I'm Nikki form England. I'm under the insomnia blanket too, and people around me don't really understand it. My problem is when I go to bed, get all snuggly etc, my mind wakes up. My mind and body is active during the day (I'm one of those people who can't sit still), but for some reason when I go to bed my mind seems extra alert.

    In the past I was diagnosed with chronic depression and anxiety, and my mind would race at night, I would have reoccuring nightmares, basically I couldn't settle. But i got treatment and the depression is now gone. But I still can't sleep. My body will put me to sleep about 3am, and I will always wake up 6.30am.

    Now I'm pregnant, my sleep pattern is that of a normal person...for now! doc hopes it will sort me out. xx

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  16. Dearest Elle;

    I do suffer from insomnia myself but have never been diagnosed with a specific kind.
    Sometimes it is simply my body refusing to sleep, like tonight where I didn't got any sleep at all.
    That actually isn't so bad because I can just get up and do something productive. Those nights I simply don't feel tired at all and while I might feel a little tired ín the morning there is always coffee.
    Then there are the nights when it is my mind that keeps me awake which are the truly horrible nights because while i can feel a total physical exhaustion my mind will run over any worry it can possibly think of over and over again until I end up sobbing. Those nights are so frustrating because yes, i COULD get up and be productive but i really don't WANT to. All I want then is to fall asleep but there is nothing that will work to get me there. I then get what might be the opposite of your issue;
    I get anxiety because I am afraid that I won't be able to fall asleep and as a result not be able to function the next day. Which by the way doesn't make much sense since there are those nights I don't sleep and am completely fine.
    I am also a night person so I have a natural sleeping schedule from around 3:00am till 12:00am and getting up at six in the morning for school makes me constantly tired.
    But my insomnia never been as bad as yours since it only suffer from it occasionally.
    Anyways I wish you lots of luck with your fight against the insomnia and always remember that if you can't sleep you can always come here or go on twitter and we are all there for you!

    In much love
    Rosy

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  17. If you're on a benzo (Valium, klonopin, Xanax, Ativan, etc) for sleep heaven help you. You don't know insomnia and the depths of physical and emotional hell until you have to get off even with a taper (and I was only on for muscle spasms but I know they're used for anxiety and insomnia too).

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    1. I'm not, thank goodness! I'm actually on one that isn't addicting for that exact reason.

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    2. Have you tried/are you on Lunesta? I am a Registered Nurse (RN) who works overnight 12 hour shifts (7 pm to 7:30 am) three nights a week so I am always flipping my schedule. It works really well for MANY people without being addictive and without the effects Ambien has like you posted above (the sleep driving is actually somewhat common on Ambien...scary!) so if you aren't already on Lunesta, maybe it would be a good one to try? Hoping you are able to get some peace and rest soon :)

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    3. I was only on Ambien for 10 days before being taken off of it, I could never stay in bed while on it! I would get up and get into shenanigans like in the video I linked. I'm not on/have never tried Lunesta either, but I've heard great things about it. Does it make you groggy the next day at all if you get less than 8 hours?

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    4. Oh thank goodness! I was hoping you weren't on them. Of I can ask, what are you taking? My mom struggles with anxiety and insomnia and has tried many things (trazedone

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    5. Oops, hit the button

      My mom has tried trazadone, Benadryl, remeron, etc...I'd like to research what you're on bc if it's truly non addicting that'd be amazing and I'd tell her to bring it up to her doc. Thanks!! Good luck at the meet up! Hope your back holds up :)

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    6. Sorry I didn't reply sooner...but no, Lunesta doesn't make me groggy at all. In fact, I am a nurse and can take Lunesta and wake up 4 hours later feeling completely normal (as if I had awoken without taking anything). I know they say you need 8 hours, but I think it's just a safety warning. For me, I feel better waking 4 hours after taking Lunesta than I do 6-8 hours after taking Benadryl...for perspective. I say give Lunesta a try...they have really made it the best thing out there. Other people I know who have tried both Ambien and Lunesta say Ambien is either take it and blackout or take it and be restless in bed. Lunesta is take it, lay down, think for a few minutes and fall asleep in a very natural way. I also don't wake up at all after taking it until my alarm goes off. I would say though, Lunesta has to be taken when you sit down in bed to sleep. It starting working in 10-15 minutes and if you say, watch a couple YouTube videos and it is 45 minutes later it won't work as well.

      Oh and only one side effect for Lunesta which is more than bearable (trust me, it is common and about the only side effect that is even remotely common)...is a metallic taste in your mouth. It goes away for me right around the time I wake up (5 hours after taking it) so if you sleep longer than that, it shouldn't be an issue. Hope you can try it and that it works as well for you as it has for me : )

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  18. Dear Elle, dear iheartyoucoffee family;

    I just started my blog http://justrosyslife.blogspot.de
    and I would love if you could stop by;)

    much love
    Rosy

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  19. Oh dear, poor you. I have something similar, in fact I didn't sleep at all last night. I'm not a great sleeper at the best of times, even a little bit of light or noise keeps me up, and I have difficulty getting up in the morning. It gets worse when I'm stressed. My partner helpfully said that I should sleep well tonight as I didn't get any last night. I wish that was true.
    I hope it gets a bit better for you some time soon.

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  20. Ugh just wrote a whole post and then had to sign in to publish and it dissappeared!! 😢 not rewriting

    Co melissajkxoxo

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  21. Have you tried therapy to help deal with your anxiety surrounding waking? That may help more than medication to make you sleep because it will address the underlying cause. Good luck!

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    1. That's a great suggestion, and I haven't actually. Some food for thought, definitely.

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    2. Therapy for your anxiety was exactly what I was thinking too! Good luck Elle!

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  22. Whew..!!!! Insomnia...I even hate the word! When I was young it was so very easy to fall asleep (I absolutely LOVED dreaming...it was an "I can do anything" world)...And waking up was even more exciting. Anyone who is crazy in love with horses knows why...it takes them about an hour to eat (hay munching takes forever to a child), and you can't go riding till they're finished.
    I'm sure you don't remember me (I'm the one who spoke about having several surgeries), but I've had anaphylactic shock 3 times (that's having an allergy so severe you quit breathing)...
    Well...the 3rd time was the charm I guess...the way I remember it I was telling the ER crew to let me just catch my breath...a nurse said, "I don't have a pulse" and I'm thinking her equipment must be not working...next thing I know, they're wheeling the heart shocker thing in! I'm like, "Wtf! I'm sitting right here!"...They slap the crap on my chest and then...I woke up from a coma awhile later...
    They said that my heart had stopped...I died. And all that time I thought I was awake (thinking I had the ER crew from amateur hour)...
    From then on I was afraid to go to sleep...Apparently, dying was just too easy! I felt like I would stop breathing if I let myself fall asleep!
    I asked my roommate to check my breathing anytime I would be sleeping (Penny...you were an awesome roommate, girl!)...I'm sure she thought I was nuts!
    So, yep...sleeping can be a scary thing (for those who believe it)...& friends...family...few people can understand it unless they've had something click in their brain to make it so...It's funny...I never thought of the term "sleep bullying" until I read it in one of these comments. Giving a person a hard time about their sleep patterns...Well...this turned out to be another novel! Sorry it's so long...just wanted you to know that you're not alone and you are understood...
    Have a blast of a time in Sephora! Take care and heal well!

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  23. Thank you for being so open and honest with us. I know it can be hard. I have sleep issues due to an autoimmune disease and can kinda relate. I go from needing 14 hours of sleep to not being able to sleep at all. It can be very frustrating trying to live the life that you want to live when your body/mind won't let you. I hope that things improve for you and that you find something that works out for you.

    Hugs!

    ~Melissa

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  24. I am so sorry to hear your struggle ladies!!! it sounds awfull !!! I wish you all get better xxx

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  25. if you havent maybe try benadryl tablet take two it works for me the majority of the time and i have a similar story i hope this helps :)

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  26. This breaks my heart to read, only because I know the feeling so well and the anxiety and hopelessness that goes with it! All I can say is that you are doing everything right, and are seeking out the proper resources in order to cope with this. Let me tell you... I have been there, and I am still there. I hope so badly that I'll be able to sleep through the night that, sometimes when I'm closing my eyes and feel myself drifting off, my brain will do this weird thing where it's like, "YAY YOURE SLEEPING!" And I will wake up and start the whole cycle again! Just know that you aren't alone, and that you can conquer anything :) much love to you!

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    1. OMG I KNOW THAT FEELING!!! I do that too! Wow it's so great to read all these comments and know that other people out there feel the same way. (Not great as in "yay!" but great as in I'm not alone)

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  27. Wow, I think it is really hard to understand why you don't want/can't go to sleep at times everybody else is asleep, but you really pictured it so that I could at least grasp it. The metaphor of someone who has a eating disorder makes sense. I hope you will get over this someday, but you acknowledging this is a step in the right direction.
    Kudos for sharing, I know you don't like to put too many personal things on YT or the internet itself, but it just makes you more relatable!

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  28. I also have insomnia and I've always had trouble with falling asleep. :(
    I often mess up my day rhythm and stay up during the night and then sleep too late but that's because like you, I also need like at least 10 hours of sleep to feel somewhat awake during the day but I always feel like a zombie when I wake up no matter how long I've slept during the night. At night I usually never get tired when I'm supposed to get tired and then suddenly I just wanna do things so I rarely go to bed when I'm probably supposed to go to bed and the same with waking up. I probably should be on a sleep schedule and go up and go to bed at the same time every day but it just feels so strict, like I actually enjoy being up late so why can't I? And when I have a really good day rhythm (waking up and going to bed early like "normal" people) I usually see no point in being awake so early and then it always comes a day when I get stuck with something and stays up later that evening and then my day rhythm is all messed up again. :(
    I probably don't have as much melatonin in my body as I'm supposed to have and that's probably why I don't get tired at the same time every evening like most other people, and like someone else commented 24h is probably not enough for me either. Especially if I have to sleep 10h every day, and then there's just 14h left to be awake. My Mom have said many times that you're supposed to be awake for 16h and then go to sleep, so yeah, if that's true then 24h is not enough for me either. :/ I think the best thing would be to be on a sleep schedule every day but it's just so hard when you just want to stay up some days and then it's ruined. :(

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  29. I'm so glad you posted this! I have problems with sleeping too. I thing I have anxiety about going to sleep. I never thought of that! I take a sleeping pill, but I will put off taking it. Normally, I get more energy at night, and my brain will not shut up! I was put on Ambien once, and the next morning my mom was mad at me because there were all these dirty dishes in the sink. I didn't remember, but I had cooked in my sleep!

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  30. I really want to talk to my doctor now because this entire post is exactly how I feel about sleep. You're not alone Elle! And btw my name is Elle too :)

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  31. I feel really sorry for you as sleeping is such a vital part of life!
    I hope it gets better soon or you find a medicine that works for you.
    I struggle with a disrupted sleeping at the moment. I sometimes for no reason sleep till 10-11 with no reason and it makes me very guilty. Worries keep me up sometimes too so I stay awake till 2 or 3..

    nutritionpsychology.blogspot.co.uk

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  32. This was such a cool post! I really admire you for putting it all out there. Your very modest about your personal life but I really like when you do open up like you did here! I had no idea your sleep problems were this complex! And it's got to be hard to try to explain this to someone who thinks you should just try a bedtime routine, hehe. I am the same as you in the mornings though! Like my brain is in fog mode until about 2PM! And it really gets going around 4 or 5PM. Crazy how different people have different times of creativity and inspiration!

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  33. Hi Elle! it must really suck to have a sleeping problem. I normally don't have as much sleeping problems but mostly anxiety problems and just feeling depressed. When I was in my senior year of high school, I was always feeling depressed and having all this anxiety, dealing with boy drama, feeling as if my own friends didn't want to be friends with me anymore and worst was feeling as if everyone was just sick of my guts. I always try to do everything I could to make everything better, but even if I did, everything would get worse. I'm so glad that you posted this, and the bedmas about your back, because I love that you are honest about everything, and let others know the same situation they might be going through too. <3 Hope your getting better soon.

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  34. I know exactly what you're talking about! I feel the exact same when I wake up in the mornings. No matter the length of time I sleep, I just never feel fully rested! No matter how tired I am at night, I just can't sleep! Mine isn't so much a fear of sleep, as it is just not being able to turn off my brain and anxiety. Hang in there! I'm glad you have something to help you sleep, but I also get the not wanting to take it aspect. Oh the struggle.

    Hope tomorrow is a better day for you!

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  35. So sorry you're having such a hard time Elle, I can't imagine what that would be like. I think posting this was so brave and I admire you for doing it. Hopefully there's something out there that can help you eventually :(

    Hope you have a much better year ahead than this one which didn't end so nicely.
    Ashley xx

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  36. Have you thought about hypnosis? That may really help. Sleep issues are so difficult-sorry you have to deal with this. Meditation may help too.

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  37. Hello Elle, I am your newest follower :-) Me too, I have insomnia like you. Maybe you can do a meditation regarding sleeping problem, well I did but still can't sleep well.
    xoxo

    http://thestyleberry.blogspot.com

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  38. My boyfriend has a serious sleep anxiety once in a while when he knows he needs to wake up early or do something very important the next day. He also avoids to take medication because once he took sleeping pills and he couldn't sleep and that was really really bad feeling... Luckily, melatonin works good on him and he would use it only when he really needs it. We've been through many conversations about getting over this issue. The answer we found is we have to know how to control our own mind, be with the presence, know and acceptour problem and then learn to think positive and let it go. Only remember that you're the master of your mind. You will get over it. Hope your day will be better :)


    Love & sunshine
    Pang W.

    http://tiedye-sky.blogspot.com

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  39. Awww Elle, I'm so sorry to hear how hard this is for you..I really hope it somehow gets better and that you can be happy in that aspect again...I'm really thinking of you and praying :/
    Love you!!!!

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  40. I can definitely relate to this... not so much about the anxiety, but definitely about the insomnia!! Like right now.. it's 4:33 am and I am wide awake haha!! But I felt like you were speaking to me when you said that you can sleep for 10 hours and still feel groggy... if I only get like 5 I feel way more rested haha! It's so weird!! You definitely don't sound like a nut job, I am afraid to take sleep meds, because I am worried they will make me sleep to hard lol!

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  41. I completely understand what you are going through, I went through it all few years back, and occasionally I have a few bad nights where I basically can't sleep at all. I know someone said it already, but you should really try therapy - our brains work in the most weird ways! I say this from experience: maybe what you are afraid of is not what you think (the unproductive hours in the morning), but something you went through years and years back that somehow are related to your sleep schedule. Just as an example, I had panic attacks every night when going to bed when I was 16 or so, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out why. I didn't even know they were actually panic attacks, because no one I know had one, and most doctors didn't even think of it. It took me 2 - 3 months to figure out what I had, and it only made it worse (everytime I started panicking I would feel worse knowing I was panicking for no apparent reason - like, what was wrong with me?!). After going through every kind of doctor there is, I ended up having regular sessions with both a psychiatrist and a therapist - they helped me figure out that the reason my panic attacks happened at night and at that moment in my life is that I was getting not so good grades in high school that I was worried would injure my chances at getting into the college I wanted, so my body basically linked going to bed to waking up and going to school and having to deal with this "problem", and my brain somehow couldn't cope with that. Even if consciously I was doing everything I could to adress this problem, uncounsciously my body just didn't agree.
    It took a while, but understanding the reason why I was having panic attacks really helped me, and I wouldn't have figured it out on my own because counsciously it wasn't a problem. After I knew the problem, I just started sleeping better, no insonmia, no panic attacks, nothing. Sometimes I still have an episode, but now I know what to do, what to look for, to solve the problem..

    Anyway, just an idea for you, try a therapist! it may help you :)

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  42. Insomnia sucks balls- I really hope things look up for you soon!

    PRIMARK HAUL + GIVEAWAY

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  43. Elle! You should go to http://sleepyti.me --it's a website where you can calculate what time you should wake up to be in the middle of a light sleep cycle--it's worked absolute wonders for me! P.S. I hope this doesn't sound gimmicky, it's just a website I found when trying to figure out what time I should wake up :)

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  44. Hi Elle, thank you so much for allowing us into your life in such a deep, personal way!

    While I am not on the level you are, I too have sever issues with insomnia (especially when I have something scheduled the next day. I am always thinking and because I own my own business but still work for someone else it's so difficult because I am literally always working! That on top of having 3 kids just means I am pretty much exhausted all day. I hope you get some rest soon and that maybe there will be some kind of help for the chemical imbalance (which I have a different kind of that, too).

    XOXO,
    Dahlena

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  45. i can't say I've ever had a problem with sleeping. but i do feel for you. must be terrible.
    Lx
    http://workingmumy.blogspot.com

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  46. So this might sound nuts, but I'll say it anyway b/c it came to mind. I'm not sure what you believe in, but maybe for shits and giggles anyway, you could do a past life regression focused towards your insomnia. I've heard all kinds of things being cured this way (weird, right? maybe not?). Wouldn't it be interesting to see what comes up, if anything at all?

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  47. Elle, this entire entry was screaming to me that you have the exact same symptoms as I do, and I was diagnosed with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. It's a neurological disorder that makes it so your body doesn't produce melatonin at the right time of day, and in turn, makes it so that your REM sleep doesn't happen for hours later than it should, and you don't sleep as deeply or dream as much as you should. I think you should discuss this with your doctor, or perhaps get a second opinion, because your symptoms are identical to mine. My doctor also says I have the sleep anxiety, but the REM sleep issue is actually because of the Delayed Sleep Phase syndrome. I was on different sleep medications for years (Ambien included...and yes, I was sleep eating mass quantities of food, sleep walking, hallucinating, the works), and now I don't take any at all. With the DSPS, all I do is use this light therapy hat (it's called a Feel Bright Light) at a certain time of the day, for an hour. Then at night, I take my pills at 11 pm (I don't need insomnia meds anymore, but I do take medication for depression that makes me sleepy. But considering I used to take that, plus Ambien, plus 5 mg of melatonin, plus a lotion called Adrenacalm that I rubbed into my skin to induce sleep, and STILL couldn't sleep...I think it's a miracle to only need my depression meds), and after my pills I watch a tv show with all of the lights out for about an hour, and after that I read a book with a book light and no other lights on for an hour, then I go lay down in bed. You shouldn't do these things while laying in bed, because the bed is the source of the anxiety. So do these things in a dark place and then walk to the bed to lay down after. Anyways, my doctor wants me in bed by 1 am, and then wants me to sleep until 10 or 11 am. Originally she told me 11, but we are gradually working it back to 10. People with DSPS actually need more sleep than the average person, so that is why I have to sleep so late. My doctor even wrote me a note to get me out of working early mornings, because it was imperative for my health. Anyways...I think you should bring up Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome with your doctor. Seriously, I think it would make a world of difference for you to get a plan in order! Google the disorder and I swear you will feel like your entire life has been explained to you! Sorry this comment was so huge, but I really feel like it's your answer. <3

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    1. Oh, I also wanted to add that the reason you watch tv in the dark and read in the dark with only a book light, is because your body produces melatonin based on lighting. That's also why I wear the light therapy hat during the day. Somehow it's giving me these magical rays that are adjusting my body's circadian rhythm and causing it to produce melatonin at a certain time. Then, at night, I need darkness. It's important that you only read with a booklight, and not a backlit Ipad or computer, because the lights throw off the melatonin.

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  48. have you ever had your levels of cortisol measured? it might help you.

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  49. oh my god i didn't know you had such a big struggle and deep fear of falling asleep :( i am really sorry and wish you the best sweety :-* i had some struggle with falling asleep as well, not as strong as yours and i wasn't frightened by falling asleep, more of the darkness and that something sudden and unexpected would happen like seeing a face suddenly really close to my face… i overcame this fear over the years and it helped me a lot to fall asleep with my boyfriend right next to me :) does it help you to fall asleep with alex next to you?

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  50. Hi Elle, I love your post, it couldn't come at a better time. I am lying in bed having given up on trying so sleep. I'm exhausted but can never get a good nights sleep. Most normal people would be shattered by now because I have had the most crazy few days playing a lacrosse tournment in Budapest (I live in the UK) and then obviously all the travelling and then about 8 hours sleep in total over a period of 3 days. However I am wide awake and can't sleep, reading your blog makes me feel like im not alone because it's so frustrating to hear friends talk of how they slept for 10 hours or how they are having an early night for a good sleep because they are things which I can never experience know matter how hard I try. Thank you for sharing this post, it makes me feel not alone about having insomnia. Also thank you for all your videos and blogs, I love them all and they make the long nights far more manageable because I dread the nighttime knowing that I can never sleep properly makes the thought of having to go to bed fill me with anxiety. I think I would make a great owl.....being nocturnal is so appealing :)

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  51. elle I really know how u feel since I go through it ! I find it sooo hard to fall asleep at night its really annoying and when I wake up i am never fully rested .. and I cant function well until couple of hours after I am awake :( ! its really annoying since I have to go to school and focus on my 8 am classes ! and now I work and still struggling ..

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  52. Hey Elle,

    Thanks for sharing this. I struggle with anxiety a lot too. And even though I don't have sleeping problems, I have other issues that manifest from my anxiety. I don't feel so alone reading your comment in that I'm not the only one struggling... My goal is to overcome my anxiety and my irrational fears, and I hope that you overcome yours too! Thanks again for sharing.

    P.S. And I'm really loving these blogs. They are very encouraging to read! Hope you're getting a lot of rest despite your insomnia and that your back isn't causing you too much pain. <3 Wishing you the best and lots of positive healing energy! :)

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  53. I share the sleepiness thing but mine isn't a fear of sleep or missing out. I just can't get comfortable and relax and turn my brain off. Being sleepy all the time is exhausting! (see what I did there?) Wishing you sweet dreams!

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  54. I feel your pain of sleeplessness. I to have a sleep disorder that prevents REM sleep. Without medication I don't only not sleep I end up in a lot of physical pain since my body isn't repairing its self during the time I sould be in a REM sleep. Take you pills Elle to get your sleep or have your mom, boyfriend or who ever slip the meds into your food or beverage during the evening so that you don't know your taking them. That way you can get the proper sleep you need right now exspecially since your back needs all the help it can get in recovering. Just make sure who ever is in charge of giving you your meds lets everyone else know they gave them to you so you don't get multiple doses lol. 😴

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  55. I love that you shared this with us… I'm sure it helped someone else out there with the same struggle! I found it to be so fascinating :) xoxo

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  56. My boyfriend doesn't get deep sleep either, and he recently bought these supplements from a supplement store in the mall that have helped him have that deeper sleep. (Sorry, I can't remember the name!) He also uses a sleep app: You set your phone to what time you need to be up, put it under your pillow, and around 30 minutes before you need to wake up.. it senses when you start moving around and are in your lightest sleep stage. It then plays a nice melody to wake you up. Works great for him!

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  57. Like many people have commented, I too struggle with insomnia and then feeling groggy/unrested in the morning. I often feel that I wasnt built with an "off switch." I have been taking a prescription medication to help fall asleep for the last ten years. Without it, I would never fall asleep and feel like a zombie through out the day. With it, I actually sleep but mornings are were always a struggle. Several months ago my doctor out of UCLA had my take a genetic test and from the results he was able to see that I dont produce enough of a certain chemicals which often leads to people feeling unrested after sleep. He put on me an intense vitamin regimen. Since I started taking the vitamins, it takes 20 minutes from the time I've woken up to feel "awake" and I have a ton of energy. Im sort of shocked/adjusting to all the energy. I pushed it a little too far yesterday when I did a hike and yoga in the same day. My body is tired today, but not my mind. I would definitely recommend exploring vitamins/nutrients as an option.

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  58. I'm reading this a little late, but I totally relate to what you're saying. I set my business up aged 17 and was terrified that sleeping would mean I couldn't do enough to successful, at the time, I didn't realise this was the case. Pots of coffee... Caffeine tablets, whatever it took to get me to my booking because I could not fail, there was no safety net for me, no financial security besides what was in my checking account at the time. And at first, it wasn't much at all, but now with therapy, meds and a 'I can't sleep routine' I'm doing better, not always a bad night any more! But I find it easier to stay active rather than count the ceiling tiles. Now I'm at Uni, and working, and running a house I'm getting more physically exhausted, and I crash harder.

    Nothing I'm saying is making any sense! But don't feel alone! We're out here, fellow sleep deprived lady! And were always here to talk! I still find blogging/ painting my nails helps. I CANT go to sleep cos I'll smudge my nails... Lady logic right?!?!

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  59. I am so sorry you are going through this Elle. It takes me hours and coffee to wake up also, and my sleep patterns are all over the place. When I wake up, I have coffee and watch Youtube vids til I can function, usually about 4 hours. I just accept that it's the way I am, my husband knows I am not 'with it' when I get up, and I just go with the flow. I think you should get therapy to deal with your anxiety...are you on anti-anxiety meds?
    Hope things improve hun. xo mj

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  61. I feel for you Elle, not being able to sleep is awful. I am currently on anxiety pills to fall asleep but I honestly am super scared about dependance. You mentioned in the comments that your sleeping pills do not make you dependent. Could you tell me what brand it is please so I can talk to my doctor about it? I understand if you would prefer not to say but I am kind of desperate so had to ask..

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  62. Good luck since you are a Gemini with a Virgo moon. You might as well forget the whole "sleep thing." I knew you had to be a Virgo moon btw because of how meticulous you keep everything and obsessively organized you are. It's a hallmark for that astrology sign and sure enough I looked up your birthday and was right! The same with your sister who has an amazing head of hair! That's a hallmark for Leo, which happens to be her moon sign. I am just writing this to say not sleeping is who you are and just accept it because at your core is a soul that needs action, work(a lot of it), perfection and to help others. Read about it yourself if you don't believe me.

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