Losing sleep? My tips for getting a good nights kip.

 

I’m tired, really bloody tired.  No, I don’t have children and no, my life isn’t particularly stressful.  I don’t have a ton of worries, well, at least nothing earth shattering, no ones dying, I have a roof over my head and I can afford to eat, drink and be fairly merry.  But I’m still entitled to be absolutely fucking knackard sometimes.

 

The fear of sleep

For the longest time I was so easily able to fall asleep on the sofa.  Almost every night, Adam would shake me awake and send me on my way.  I would gracelessly ascend the staircase, fumble in the dark, trying to locate my bed and fall, oh so elegantly into my pit, falling deep into a wonderful slumber. 

Just after my dad passed away, I developed real problems sleeping, every time I closed my eyes, I’d see such horrible things, I would often stare at my phone most of the night, until I fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion, slowly, overtime, I got better, my mind got better and my sleep went back to normal, until recently.
Sleep paralysis, was something I had never actually heard of until one night a few years ago, when I first experienced it.  As horrifying as it was, it didn’t happen again and I put it out of my mind, however in the last 6 months, I have experienced sleep paralysis approximately 14 times, with the most recent occurrence at about 2am on Tuesday 14th November.
I woke up in a pool of sweat, I was so hot, feeling claustrophobic and completely wrapped up in my duvet, I saw something move on the ceiling, my eyes flashed to the dark figure, floating above my head, just to the right of the light fixture.   I tried to move, but I couldn’t, I tried to speak, scream, anything, but I was numb. I knew exactly what was happening, so I closed my eyes and began to breathe, rationalising what was happening to me and telling myself that I was fine, ‘you’re fine, you’re ok, this has happened before, you will be fine!’
Finally I could move, but the figure was still there, it looked like a Jellyfish, but it couldn’t be, could it? On the ceiling? That’s ridiculous! The rational part of my brain concluded it must be a spider, so I ran to the light switch and flicked it on, I was suddenly jolted awake by the bright light, there was nothing there and I was completely and totally confused.  I couldn’t really remember, why I was out of bed, or what I was doing and it took me a few minutes to recall what had actually happened.  I climbed back into bed, looked everywhere incase the ‘Jellyfish’ had fallen onto my bed and eventually I fell back to sleep.
When I woke up the next day, I had completely forgotten about what had happened in the night, until Adam asked me about the Jellyfish and if I remembered, I did, it all came back to me and it was fucking horrible.

 

 

Medical Definition of Sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis: A frightening form of paralysis that occurs when a person suddenly finds himself or herself unable to move for a few minutes, most often upon falling asleep or waking up. Sleep paralysis is due to an irregularity in passing between the stages of sleep and wakefulness.
The symptoms of sleep paralysis include sensations of noises, smells, levitation, paralysis, terror, and images of frightening intruders. Once considered very rare, up to half of all people are now believed to experience sleep paralysis sometime during their life. Sleep paralysis is not considered to be a sign of a serious condition, although it can be frightening.
Sleep paralysis occurs as a person is moving into or out of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the deepest part of sleep. During REM sleep, the body is largely disconnected from the brain, effectively leaving the body paralysed. Sleep paralysis is the result of premature (or persistent) mind-body disconnection as one is about to enter into (or exit from) REM sleep.
Sleep paralysis occurs most often after jet lag or periods of sleeplessness that interrupt the normal REM patterns, or after changes in sleep patterns. It affects both sexes equally and occurs at all ages but is most common in teenagers. Medically, sleep paralysis is sometimes called waking paralysis, predormital (before-sleep) paralysis, postdormital (after-sleep) paralysis, and REM sleep atonia.
Medically reviewed by Martin Zipser, MD; Board Certified: Surgery
 

Is Sleep Paralysis a Symptom of a Serious Problem?

To put it simply, no. In most cases, sleep paralysis is simply a sign that your body is not moving smoothly through the stages of sleep. Rarely is sleep paralysis linked to deep underlying psychiatric problems.
Over the centuries, symptoms of sleep paralysis have been described in many ways and often attributed to an “evil” presence: unseen night demons in ancient times, the old hag in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and alien abductors. Almost every culture throughout history has had stories of shadowy evil creatures that terrify helpless humans at night. People have long sought explanations for this mysterious sleep-time paralysis and the accompanying feelings of terror.

Who Develops Sleep Paralysis? 

Up to as many as four out of every 10 people may have sleep paralysis. This common condition is often first noticed in the teen years. But men and women of any age can have it. Sleep paralysis may run in families. Other factors that may be linked to sleep paralysis include:
Lack of sleep
Sleep schedule that changes
Mental conditions such as stress or bipolar disorder
Sleeping on the back
Other sleep problems such as narcolepsy or nighttime leg cramps
Use of certain medications, such as those for ADHD
Substance abuse

How Is Sleep Paralysis Diagnosed?

If you find yourself unable to move or speak for a few seconds or minutes when falling asleep or waking up, then you may be experiencing sleep paralysis.
Check with your doctor if you have any concerns, or if your symptoms are affecting your sleep or day to day life.  My doctor asked me to keep a sleep diary, to check for instances when I experienced any problems with my sleep and also to note down the time I went to bed/woke up and also when I experienced feelings of stress or anxiety, as feeling anxious often triggers my sleep paralysis.

 

Taking action

I don’t enjoy feeling fearful of falling asleep and I certainly don’t enjoy feeling knackard all of the time, I have been on various prescribed medications, which have not only, not worked, but have also made me feel even more like a zombie, which is the exact opposite of how I want to feel.
Over time, I have taken myself off of various medications and found alternative ways to help with my sleep, which in all honesty, I haven’t been doing lately, which is why I’m having so many problems falling asleep, so I’ve decided to take action and look after myself, to ensure I avoid any ceiling Jellyfish in the future.

My tips and tricks

Exercise – I know, I know, exercise is bullshit, I for one, am only up for running if I’m being chased, but here’s the thing, its good for you! Up until recently, I went to the gym at least 3 times a week and was a member of a running club and I felt great! I was losing weight, getting healthier, feeling better about myself, making friends and sleeping like a young pup! (I never understood when people used the phrase, ‘sleeping like a baby’ Like, do they even sleep? I thought they just cried?) anyway, I digress, I felt fucking fabulous! But it is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces and that is when the exercise regime went right out of the window and work took over, as per bloody usual! So here it is, numero uno, of my feel better, sleep better, plan of action:
– Start exercising again, you fat bitch.
Water – Just drink it, for fuck sake, I’m not banging on about this, because you’re not an idiot, are you? Drink the bloody water!  The human body is made up of 50 – 75% water, without it, we do not function and that’s when things start going wrong! Things like our ability to sleep properly.  I drink approximately three litres of water a day, on a good day, but I know I’ve been neglecting that lately.  No, three litres is not too much, I’m not going to drown, are you going to dry up from lack of water? No, stop asking stupid questions, your skin will look shit and your liver and Kidneys will hate you, but you wont dry up, the same way, I wont drown.  If you Google how much water you need to consume for your weight, height and activity level, you should easily find the answer.
-Drink more water!

 

 

Sleep aids – as I said I’ve been put onto prescription medication to aid my sleep, anxiety and in the past, even depression.  I’m now off of all of these medications, because I didn’t want to be on them anymore and they made me feel like a zombie!  I am by no means saying there is anything wrong with these types of medications, they helped me in my time of need, but I personally didn’t want to be reliant on them.
I’ve tried various herbal sleep aids and natural aids to help with anxiety, I couldn’t really tell you which of these work the best because at one point I was literally taking them all at once.  There is a very helpful aisle in boots which stocks an array of sleep and anxiety aids, you can get drops for your tongue, pastels to chew, tablets, sprays, all sorts.  Lately I have been using a sleep spray and roll on balm, to help encourage sleep, this one from this works, is a cute little combo of a spray for your pillow, which is supposed to be calming and also a roll on balm, for your pulse points, for when you’re feeling a bit stressed, I believe the oils are frankincense and eucalyptus, but I’ve lost the box, so I may be wrong, but anything like this is really helpful, I also find diluted lavender oil sprayed onto my pillow is very relaxing and helps me fall asleep.
– Use more sleep aids

 

Other people – Don’t let other peoples issues creep into your life, if someone has an issue, or is causing unnecessary drama in your life, try not to sweat it, try to remember, its their problem, not yours, its not up to you to make everyone else feel good, especially when you’re feeling like shit, yourself! Obviously be a good person and help out people when you can, just don’t let people walk all over you and don’t put other peoples stresses onto yourself.  To quote a quote that Adam stole from someone else – ‘Don’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm’.
– Step away from the drama
ASMR – Finally I wanted to talk about something, I use every single day without fail before I fall asleep.  You’re going to think I’m a nutter now, but stay with me, I am an OG ASMR watcher.  I know what your thinking, ‘what the fuck is ASMR?’ or ‘ASMR is so creepy’ and yes, you’re partially correct, but if you have tried everything else and you’re on the verge of knocking yourself out just to get a decent bloody nights sleep, then you’ll try anything and Im so glad I did! Honestly, the best part of my day now, is laying in bed, putting in my headphones and finding one of my favourite ASMR videos to watch, or even just listen to.
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a term used for an experience characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. It has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia.  I don’t really get the tingly sensation, but I do find the videos relaxing and they nearly always send me off to sleep.  Generally I wake up with headphones tangled around my neck, so there is a partial risk of death, but for a cracking nights sleep, I’m willing to take my chances.

Here is a link to a video, with a short explanation of what ASMR actually is and also a few of my favourite ASMR artists, its weird at first, but give it a chance, especially if you’ve tried everything else.

32 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    November 16, 2017 / 1:48 pm

    You're so brave for telling people you watch ASMR, I watch it too, along with millions of others, but id never admit it to anyone! It does actually work though!!

  2. November 16, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    This post is Amazing, full of information so I don't know what to say�� I have never experienced sleep paralysis or I don't remember if I have but I have some problems with falling asleep so I listen to ASMR videos on YouTube and they are so helpful ����

  3. November 16, 2017 / 8:52 pm

    I never knew anything about sleep paralysis, thank you for educating me. This post was clearly explained and I'm glad you have a clear cut solution to solving/coping with the issue. I too want to start drinking more water, it really makes a difference on the body 🙂

  4. November 16, 2017 / 8:53 pm

    I've heard of sleep paralysis before – it sounds so scary! I'm not sure what I would do if I was to experience that! When I am having problems sleeping at night, a warm cup of milk usually helps me and reading a bit of a book! I've never heard of ASMR, will be looking into what that is.

    Amy,
    https://creativenails.uk

  5. November 16, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    Oh girl! I’ve heard so much about sleep paralysis but thankfully never actually experienced it! Hopefully people going through the same thing as you can find this post super helpful! ��

  6. November 16, 2017 / 9:02 pm

    I found this so interesting! I've never suffered from sleep paralysis but I have woken up paralysed a couple of times and it's absolutely terrifying. And as an insomnia I thoroughly enjoyed the sleep tips at the end. Hope you're doing okay! x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

  7. November 16, 2017 / 9:06 pm

    Great detailed post! My boyfriend gets sleep paralysis, he communicates with me by breathing strangely when he gets it so I can help him wake up. I've never experienced it myself, but I have had sever OCD which stopped me from sleeping, so I can deffo say that exercise and time off screen is great for improving sleep.

  8. November 16, 2017 / 9:36 pm

    You're a fab writer! I've never suffered with sleep issues myself but it's super interesting to read about. Hope you find your chill!

  9. November 16, 2017 / 9:51 pm

    I've had insomnia recently and it's the absolute worst, I hate it. Thanks for your honesty and great tips!

  10. November 16, 2017 / 9:53 pm

    This was so interesting to read!! I often have trouble sleeping and your tips are very useful!xx

  11. November 16, 2017 / 10:08 pm

    Wow, this is very informative and a personal eye opener. Your attitude and writing style rock! Truly enjoyed!

  12. November 16, 2017 / 10:43 pm

    Haha, thanks! It really does! I stopped caring what people think of me a long time ago! I walk around vlogging all day, so i can't worry too much! Thanks for your comment xx

  13. November 16, 2017 / 10:44 pm

    Me too! Its such a struggle! Thanks for your comment xx

  14. November 16, 2017 / 10:45 pm

    Aww, thanks so much! I try to be as honest as possible, I find it easier to write about my experiences 🙂 Thanks for your comment xx

  15. November 16, 2017 / 10:46 pm

    ASMR is amazing and i'm so glad its becoming more widely excepted! I really hope you don't ever have to experience it, because its terrifying. Thanks for your comment! xx

  16. November 16, 2017 / 10:49 pm

    Such a difference! I got myself a pretty 1 litre bottle and that really helps me to focus on the amount i'm consuming, i know if i fill that bottle up three times per day, i'm drinking enough. Always good to learn new things, incase it ever happens to you or someone you know, might make it a little less scary, which was my reasoning behind sharing this on my blog. Thanks for your comment 🙂 xx

  17. November 16, 2017 / 10:50 pm

    Prepare to be like 'what the hell is this?!' Some of it is not to my taste, but some of it makes you feel super sleepy. Deffo give it a try some time 🙂 xx

  18. November 16, 2017 / 10:51 pm

    I really hope so, thank you for your comment 🙂 xx

  19. November 16, 2017 / 10:58 pm

    Im so sorry, you have insomnia, that sucks! but im glad you enjoyed my sleep tips, i have loads more, but the post was getting a little bit too long! haha, thanks for taking the time to read my post and thanks for your comment 🙂 xx

  20. November 16, 2017 / 11:01 pm

    Poor guy! Thats awful! Does he see horrible things too? I think thats the worst part for me, once there were creepy crawlies, all over me, but i couldn't move and I thought i was going to have a heart attack! I hope things improve for him soon! Having OCD must be awful for you, i'm sorry you have to go through that, I have no idea what its like, but it must be stressful for you. Thank you for reading and thank you for your comment xx

  21. November 16, 2017 / 11:03 pm

    Thank you so much! Its taken me a while to find my niche, but i've found talking through personal things, is something I really enjoy writing about. Thank you for taking the me to read my post and thanks for your comment. xx

  22. November 16, 2017 / 11:03 pm

    Oh no! I really hope it gets better for you soon! Thanks for your comment! Glad you enjoyed the tips. xx

  23. November 16, 2017 / 11:04 pm

    Hi Lorna, glad you enjoyed it, trying to sleep can be really hard work, i had loads more tips, but the post was getting really really long! haha. Thanks for your comment xx

  24. November 16, 2017 / 11:05 pm

    Thank you so much! That really means a lot to me! Glad you found the post informative. Thanks for taking the time to comment xx

  25. November 17, 2017 / 2:19 am

    Hey Rebecca! I'm very sorry to hear about your sleep challenges, but on a lighter note, your writing is so sincere it makes me smile! Thanks for being so honest, it's a real skill xx

  26. November 17, 2017 / 10:05 am

    Why haven’t I found your blog sooner?! I love it. You have such a great writing style and I love this post. I don’t know much about sleep paralysis but I’m sure this post will help so many who struggle with it. I also need to start drinking more water so thank you for reminding me!

    Samantha | https://believeinamiracle.co.uk

  27. November 17, 2017 / 6:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story about facing sleep challenges. It truly leaks into the rest of your life when you can't get your snooze time in.

    Ashleigh | Ashleigh Renay

  28. November 26, 2017 / 9:41 am

    Thank you so much! What a lovely comment! Thank you for taking the time to read my post. xx

  29. November 26, 2017 / 9:44 am

    Hi Samantha! Thank you so much for your comment and taking the time to read my post! Glad you're drinking more water, i'm a big advocate for it! Sooo many of my friends complain about their skin and that they feel sluggish, but they don't take my advise and consume more fluids, its drives me mad, its such a simple task! xx

  30. November 26, 2017 / 9:45 am

    It really does! Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂 xx

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