I don’t know what to do. I’ve never really experienced insomnia before. I’ve always been an “early riser” and just accepted that was my circadian rhythm. I wake up early (typically 5-ish am) no matter what time I go to bed. Stay up too late and I’ll pay for it by being tired all the next day. It’s always been that way and I’ve just had to deal with it. But now I’ve been reading about sleep and am freaked out about how damaging lack of sleep can be. I have a Fitbit giving me nightly sleep scores. And lately… I’m waking up at 2:30-3:30 am every night and can’t get back to sleep.
I don’t know how to fix this. Mrs. Troutdog says not everyone needs eight hours of sleep. True, but you can’t function on an average of five hours a night. It’s what I’ve been doing for weeks now and I’m tired all the time. It’s hard to get through the day without a solid hour + nap. I try to read in the afternoon and my eyes won’t stay open. It’s frustrating.
I’ve stopped alcohol. No more caffeine in the afternoon. I exercise. I’m trying to keep the room cool and dark. I’ve started adding magnesium before bed. I have zero problem falling asleep. I’m out like clockwork within 5-10 minutes of going to bed. But at 3:00 am every morning… bing, eyes open up and it’s all over. Oh, I try to get back to sleep. I usually suffer through an hour-hour and half of tossing and turning. Hips will start to ache. Hot. I can’t get my arms comfortable. I’ll hyper focus on the slightest noise in the room. The thoughts in my head won’t shut off. I’ll lay there with my eyes closed for what seems like hours and then peek at the clock and five minutes went by. Somewhere around 4:00 am I give up and get out of bed.
It’s frustrating because I am tired. I don’t want to have to rely on a nap later to keep functioning. Mrs. Troutdog thinks I’m going to bed too early. My fear is that if I stay up later I’ll still wake up at the same time, just with fewer hours of sleep. At least a 9:00 pm bedtime gets me five-ish hours of sleep.
Am I not sleeping because I’m now hyper-focused on sleep, sleep research and the Fitbit sleep data? I don’t think I’m stressed. Nothing out of the ordinary has changed in my life. It’s a mystery why it’s gotten so bad lately.
Mrs. Troutdog has horrible sleep patterns and insomnia. Always has. She goes to bed in the wee hours of the night and then sleeps like the dead. She’d probably sleep until noon if daily life activities didn’t dictate getting up earlier. I’ve never had much sympathy for her late-night insomnia… until now.
So to all you insomniacs, do you just ride it out? Is it a phase that will pass? Do I start experimenting with different bedtimes? It’s so frustrating.
Or maybe I don’t need to do anything? Evidence shows that historically, humans often had biphasic sleep patterns. Also known as a “second sleep”. People went to bed early, then woke and performed chores, visited neighbors, etc… and then had their second sleep. For unclear reasons, this pattern began to disappear in the 17th-18th century. Maybe I just embrace it and plan on getting errands done at 4:00 am?
The other option is that I go the siesta route. I remember visiting Spain and being initially puzzled (in the smaller towns) why all the stores were closed for three hours in the afternoon. Everyone is busy taking a siesta after their midday meal. Rather than pretending to myself that I’m going to just “close my eyes for a few” most afternoons, maybe I just go all-in. Intentionally climb into bed and sleep a couple of hours.
I don’t know. I worry that anything I do is going to unintentionally reinforce a pattern. How do I fix this, or do I even need to try?
So… if you start seeing a flurry of random daily blog posts with topics all over the map in the next few weeks, it’s because I’m wandering around at 3:00 in the morning trying to figure out what to do with myself.