sleepy guy
  • At 38, during a stressful period in my business, I found myself grappling with sleep maintenance insomnia.
  • Insomnia can get worse over time due to factors like stress, lifestyle changes, and health conditions, creating a vicious cycle of sleep anxiety.
  • Traditional medical routes offered me limited options, leading me to take control of my own sleep health.
  • I became my own sleep scientist, using a sleep wearable device and a Google sheet to track my sleep and experiment with various interventions.
  • My most effective solutions were an adrenal supplement, focusing on my circadian rhythm (using a sun lamp in the morning and blue light blocking glasses in the evening), and temperature control (using a water circulating mattress topper).
  • I want to encourage you to take an active role in understanding and improving your sleep. Remember, reversing worsening insomnia is possible, and you have the power to make it happen.

At the not-so-tender age of 38, right in the middle of a stress storm in my business, I found myself grappling with sleep maintenance insomnia.

Picture this: you’re dead tired, you hit the sack, you’re off to dreamland, and then bam! You’re awake, again and again, throughout the night. Come morning, you feel like you’ve been in a mental boxing match rather than a peaceful slumber.

But hey, I’m not one to back down from a challenge. So, I strapped on a sleep wearable device, fired up a Google sheet, and decided to experiment with everything from sleep products to sleep hygiene and supplements.

Here’s a quick video showing everything I did to beat my insomnia

@solarslumber How I fixed my insomnia with #sleephygiene #sleephygienetips #sleepingproblems #sleepingproblemsolved ♬ original sound – Ryan

Understanding Insomnia

So, what’s this insomnia beast we’re talking about? It’s a sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. In my case, it was like a pesky alarm clock that kept going off throughout the night.

Insomnia comes in two flavors: acute and chronic. Acute is short-term, often sparked by life events (like my business stress), while chronic is a long-term guest that sticks around for at least three nights a week for three months or more.

The symptoms are as varied as they are annoying. Trouble falling asleep, waking up during the night, waking up too early, feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck after a night’s sleep, daytime tiredness, irritability, difficulty focusing, increased errors or accidents, and a constant worry about sleep.

In my case, the night-time wake-ups were taking a toll on my daytime productivity and mood. But I was determined to turn the tide. Stick around, because I’ll be sharing how I managed to do just that, and how you can too.

Why Insomnia Can Get Worse

You might be wondering, “Why does insomnia get worse?” It’s like a snowball rolling downhill, picking up speed and size as it goes. Various factors can feed this snowball, making your insomnia more severe over time.

Stress is a big one, and boy, did I have a heap of that with my business. But it’s not just work stress; anything from family issues to financial worries can keep your mind racing at night.

Lifestyle changes can also throw a wrench in your sleep patterns. Maybe you’ve started working late nights or moved to a noisy neighborhood. Health conditions, both physical and mental, can play a part too.

Then there’s the vicious cycle of sleep anxiety. You can’t sleep, so you worry about not sleeping, which in turn makes it even harder to sleep. It’s like a merry-go-round that’s anything but merry.

The Impact of Worsening Insomnia

So, what happens when insomnia gets worse? It’s not just about feeling grumpy or needing an extra cup of coffee in the morning. The impact can be far-reaching, affecting both your physical and mental health.

Physically, you might find your immune system taking a hit, making you more susceptible to those pesky colds and flus. There’s also an increased risk of certain diseases, like heart disease and diabetes.

Mentally, it’s a bit of a double whammy. Insomnia can lead to issues like depression and anxiety, and these mental health conditions can, in turn, exacerbate your insomnia. It’s a cruel cycle.

And let’s not forget the impact on your daily life. Fatigue can lead to decreased productivity (I was definitely feeling that in my business), and it can strain your relationships. Plus, there’s the frustration of lying awake at night, watching the minutes tick by.

But don’t despair! In the next sections, I’ll share how I broke this cycle and improved my sleep. And if I can do it, so can you.

Breaking the Cycle of Worsening Insomnia

me and my dog with an oura ring-min

When insomnia takes hold, it’s easy to feel like you’re at the mercy of this sleep-stealing monster. But here’s the thing: you’re not. I learned this the hard way, but it’s a lesson I’m glad I learned.

I went down the so-called “approved” route, visiting doctors who, to be honest, didn’t seem all that interested in my plight.

The options they gave me were limited: a benzodiazepine like Xanax, which I wasn’t keen on, or cognitive behavioral therapy for sleep, which can be a tough process to go through.

So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I turned to my trusty sleep wearable and Google sheet, and embarked on a journey of experimentation. I tried a range of different things, from sleep products to sleep hygiene practices, and tracked each intervention’s impact on my sleep.

Practical Tips for Reversing Insomnia

Now, I’m not saying my way is the only way, or even the best way. But it worked for me, and maybe it can work for you too.

Overall, you have to track everything- I used an Oura ring and a Google Sheet:

sleep tracking spreadsheet

Here’s what I found to be most effective in my battle against insomnia.

  • Firstly, an adrenal supplement. I found this helped to regulate my body’s stress response, which in turn helped to improve my sleep.
  • Secondly, I focused on my circadian rhythm. This is your body’s internal clock, and it plays a crucial role in regulating your sleep-wake cycle. I started getting sunlight in the morning using a sun lamp, which helped to signal to my body that it was time to wake up. In the evening, I wore blue light blocking glasses to reduce my exposure to the kind of light that can interfere with your sleep.
  • Lastly, I discovered the power of temperature control. I started using a water circulating mattress topper, which allowed me to adjust the temperature of my bed. This was a game-changer for me. I found that a cooler bed helped me to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Remember, everyone’s different, and what worked for me might not work for you. But the key is to keep trying, keep experimenting, and keep believing that you can improve your sleep. Because trust me, you can.

Conclusion

So there you have it, folks. My journey from sleepless nights to restful slumbers wasn’t easy, but it was worth every step. I learned that sometimes, you must take matters into your own hands and become your sleep scientist.

I experimented with a range of different interventions, from adrenal supplements to circadian rhythm adjustments and temperature control. But the most important thing I learned? That it’s possible to improve your sleep, no matter how bad your insomnia might seem.

Everyone’s different, and what worked for me might not work for you. But don’t let that discourage you. Keep trying, experimenting, and believing you can find a solution. Because you can. And when you do, it’ll be worth it. Trust me.

IX. References

While I’ve shared my personal experiences and findings, it’s important to note that I’m not a medical professional. If you’re struggling with insomnia, I encourage you to seek professional help. Here are some resources that I found helpful during my journey:

  1. National Sleep Foundation. (2021). What is Insomnia? Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/insomnia
  2. American Sleep Association. (2021). Insomnia. Retrieved from https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep-disorders/insomnia/
  3. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Insomnia. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167
  4. Harvard Health Publishing. (2021). Blue light has a dark side. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side
  5. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2021). Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep

Remember, the journey to better sleep starts with understanding your own sleep patterns and needs. So, strap on that sleep wearable, fire up that Google sheet, and start your own journey to better sleep. Good luck!

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