All Nighters : No Fun
For as long as I can remember, I was a night owl by nature. I felt completely nocturnal, begging to stay up all night from a very young age.
Through school years, it only progressed. Each year I would suffer when the new school year started, needing to conform to the usual set hours for everyone else in the world, who all seemed so much more normal than I.
All nighters were never fun for me, they were a sign of fear, fear of another sleepless night ahead with another day full of exhaustion. I always felt as if I was the only one with this problem.
People around me constantly gave me pressure to just "fall asleep already." It was like they thought that it was the easiest thing in the world. It was like they thought that it was a game I was playing, or something within my control. It made me feel that they thought I was just having fun, or just lazy, when it was always quite the opposite.
This stayed with me through school years and into adulthood, still with the same type of "advice" and reactions. And no matter what I tried, nothing would work for me. My mind was programmed to stay "on" 24/7. Some nights I would stay awake, tossing and turning, because of all of the horrible worries and fears on my mind. But some nights it wouldn't even be horrible thoughts, it would just be any old thought in general that would not turn off... it was a feeling of records being played on a loop to keep me awake all night.
I did try everything over the years, every natural remedy and classic advice in the book. Warm milk? Counting sheep? Meditation? Set schedule? Imagery? Sleep hygiene? Valerian Root? Benadryl? No and no again -- none of these things would work. And this was just the tip of the iceberg of things I would try. I would feel defeated each time a remedy failed me, and I felt like I failed those that suggested them as well.
I finally started giving in to going to the doctor for advice. Several things over several years still would not work for me. Doxepin just gave me waking nightmares. Sedatives calmed me but still did not let me sleep. Anti depressants also didn't do a thing for me, and I continued to feel like I would be stuck in this pattern each night, every night.
I would give in to insomnia, finally giving up for a while. All of this greatly ruined the quality of my life, making jobs and everyday tasks so much harder. But I didn't know what else to do, and so I finally let myself give up and give in. I suppose I have just been an anxious person all my life, and I figured that this was yet another thing I would need to work against because of this.
Only recently I finally found a combination that makes sense for me and actually works, all without side effects. I was prescribed Ambien by a new psychiatrist, and I was very weary of taking it at first. I had heard horrible stories about the side effects, and I was afraid of addiction. It took me several days to let myself try the Ambien (10 mg).
In less than a week, I felt a difference. Suddenly when I wanted to go to sleep, I could. I would still have to try, I had a few things to learn. I had to make a point of truly setting a sleep schedule, to allow it to work with me. I reminded myself to try not to think of stimulating projects, work or thoughts before sleep, as hard as that was and still is.
Those steps alone never helped before, but with the help of Ambien, I can finally look forward to a normal nights sleep when I need it so badly. It also seems to only let me sleep exactly 7-8 hours -- I never over sleep, and I never feel drowsy for the next day, I feel ready to face it.
I know I will never be a morning person... but I just may be on my way!