Something I took for granted for so many years. 35 to be exact. I grew up gratefully sleeping very well and a lot. Especially on weekends. I loved to sleep in. Although my Dad often woke me up by opening up all the curtains and windows and saying it was a beautiful day to be outside. I’d sleep anywhere with or without noise. I am the youngest of 6 so I’d often get bumped from my bed and room to a sofa if I was lucky or a mattress anywhere around the house. There was a night this happened at 3 am when my brother came back from clubbing and his best friend passed me from my bed to a mattress on the floor! (I actually like this person until today ;-))
When Emma was born, 2 years ago on August 16th, 2020 I started to struggle with sleep. I was breastfeeding her every couple of hours and was exhausted from my c-section healing and overall body changes after giving birth but somehow I couldn’t sleep. It was horrible. And so began my journey of health struggles. What came first? The chicken or the egg? I still have no clue and my gut feeling is that no Doctor or professional has been able to determine that YET. I am still hopeful. In the meantime, life had to go on and I had a toddler waiting for me at home, a house to take care of, and all of the other responsibilities that come with being a mom of two including consulting work projects to deliver.
Some nights I was lucky if I got an hour of sleep. And I just had to find the energy somewhere to function. To wake up and care for 2 humans with my husband working full-time from home but with deadlines and calls to handle. It was a lot. And I have NO clue how we did it. We had minimum to no help at first since the global pandemic was going on and we were scared for our 5.5 lbs tiny human who had joined our household.
Good news. Last night I slept without a sleeping pill for the first time in 2 years. Many around me pride themselves in not sleeping. Reading their kindle all night. Or just doing whatever else. I was recommended everything from drinking alcohol, to taking teas, meditating, doing bootcamp at 5 am (with 0 energy from not sleeping and breastfeeding all night) you name it… it all came with the best intentions but I knew the answer wasn’t there. And I still don’t know what the answer is. My psychiatrist says I can’t depend daily on this sleep aid he recently sent me as it’s a light anti-psychotic. Great! So now it’s trial and error. He also says my not sleeping is a result of a bigger issue in my day and overall health. So we are still looking for a healing path.
He says Doctors so far are dealing with the tip of the iceberg and are medicating me based on that. My gut feeling is that the psychiatric medication I take only slightly helps and I can’t say how.
My conclusion is that we ALL need sleep. Humans and animals. If you don’t sleep, you pay the price somehow. In my case, my energy levels were NOT as they usually are. My physical energy to want to walk wasn’t there either. I am a certified yoga instructor and have always loved movement and I could barely get myself to do a downward dog. My mental energy was NOT there either. In my most challenging days, I struggled to pay an online bill I’d been paying for years. My husband had to take on almost all of the administrative load (I’ll always be grateful for all of the additional roles he had to take on while I tried to recover). And the list goes on… I have no clue how these people are operating on a few hours of sleep but I know there are no superheroes out there so if this is your case and you think this is OK please seek for professional help.
P.S. My brother in law generously gifted me a New York Times bestseller book on the importance of sleep. It’s called Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD. I read half of it so far and it is very interesting and further supports my humble opinion.