I have this thing, where I don’t sleep well when my spouse isn’t in bed. — In fact I simply can’t sleep.
At least not most times. If I do fall asleep it’s fitful and I wake every 5-15 minutes. Sometimes I get as much as half an hour to an hour before my brain prods me awake, refuses to let me sleep again, and I have to get up.
I don’t know why. Maybe it’s my OCD, giving me a need to check if my husband is okay? Sometimes I wake up really anxious, so maybe it’s my worries? But that happens even when my husband is there, so if it’s that, then him being away would have to be the feather on the scale which makes it tilt.
Some people, to my understanding, can just sleep when they feel tired, no matter the surrounding circumstances. Some people, can even fall asleep anywhere when tried.
I have no idea how that works.
Oh sure I’ve seen people do it, fall asleep on the bus, on couches at a friends house (or my house in cases where I am the friend), but seeing isn’t understanding.
When I’m exhausted, I can drift, space out, day dream, get distracted really easily; that isn’t the same thing, maybe it involves micro-sleeps, but it’s not falling full out asleep some place.
I never slept in school, but that wasn’t a choice. I couldn’t have fallen asleep on my desk even if I wanted to, not even if I’d been up for 2-3 days (which happened some times) I wasn’t functional, but I couldn’t just sleep. To avoid being non-functional in a place where I had to feel bad about it, I’d sometimes stay home if it had been more than 30 hours since I’d slept.
My sleep when I do get it is also easily disturbed. The afore mentioned issue with not being good at sleeping without my husband is only one of my issues sleeping.
Most of them however are things that can be accommodated if we have a sleeping schedule and go to bed at around the same time, and one of us doesn’t just stay up without the other.
Sometimes I have real insomnia, where I just can’t sleep, no matter how tired I am, no matter what I do, no matter that all the other bases and possible intrusions on my ability to sleep are not an issue.
But most nights that is not the case, like tonight it’s not the case, this is only almost insomnia. Nothing would stop me from sleeping if the conditions were right, I even napped for an hour waiting. Yet here we are, at 6am, and only just with the prospect of going to bed.
I wonder how many people have ‘almost insomnia’ where they can’t sleep unless conditions are right?
Not choose not to sleep, but wake up and struggle to try to fall back asleep because of conditions of sleeping.
I know a lot of people with insomnia who can’t sleep no matter the conditions.
Most of those people, those with insomnia, don’t seem to struggle with ‘conditional insomnia’, like I do. If they sleep, they sleep, if they don’t, well then they don’t.
For the rest, if they are tired, they either stay up by choice, or sleep because they are tired.
I know a fair amount about good “sleep hygiene” and sometimes I do okay with it, mostly I struggle with it, because my husband struggles. I am not independent of his sleep cycles.
Though this isn’t a terrible thing, because before I met him I slept less than I do now, and had worse struggles sleeping in almost every way possible. Make of that what you will, but I don’t see this interdependence as a huge deficit because of that fact.
Even as much as it causes me issues, I still get better sleep now than I did for most of my life.
I wonder how many people know about sleep hygiene. I wonder about that for those who struggle with sleep, and for those who don’t struggle with sleep.
Do they actually know anything about what kinds of sleeping habits help better their quality of sleep?
Does it matter as long as they are getting rest?
If it were easy to get into good habits, I would like to think that insomnia would be taken more seriously. Less accusations of ‘bringing it on oneself’, perhaps?
Insomnia isn’t something that all of us can control, even when we have good habits.
Like I said, even on good days I just can’t sleep.
But maybe too, people like me, who can’t sleep unless conditions are right, wouldn’t just get the brush off.
Even as it is now, I rather wish that we’d get suggestions for how to improve our habit building skills, to make them more robust. Because it’s only sometimes that the issue is knowing what to do, the rest of the time, it’s knowing how to do it.
There is a fundamental disconnect when people assume you have either an “innate sense” or a skill set, that it happens you simply don’t possess.
I don’t have an innate sense of when to go to bed. I used to not know when I was tried until I had become exhausted. Sometimes that’s still true.
‘Tired’ is the state I exist in most times, even now, and exhausted is the point where it’s so obvious that I need sleep that there is now an abundance of ‘hints’ that I’m past due on sleep.
I’ve gotten so much better at reading the cues in myself, before the pile up to exhaustion level.
But it was a skill I had to learn, I didn’t just have it (or learn it perhaps?) ‘naturally’ without effort.
Most people sleep when they are tired, I just cope, waiting to sleep while in a state of ‘almost insomnia’.
I’m going to bed. I hope everyone had a good night (or day). Sleep well. 🙂