For the last month, I’ve struggled to get a good night’s rest. Sleep is an interesting battle for me, and likely for lots of people. I have struggled with sleep for a large chunk of my life.
There are times when it was a bigger deal than others — I could probably run decently on six hours of sleep when I was in high school and college — but now? The consequences are a little different.
I have written about my sleep issues here before, so I don’t want to keep telling the same stories, but for many years I have struggled with such intense nightmares that I wake up, sweaty, sometimes crying, and cannot get back to sleep.
Two Decembers ago, I woke up having a real-life panic attack, and paced around my apartment, trying to catch my breath, when the rest of the city was fast asleep.
I’ve gone to therapy, tried multiple different kinds of sleeping pills, gone to the doctor, had blood tests, everything to possibly conquer my inability to sleep and then the terrible fatigue that comes after it.
But, one thing that has shown the best results for me is a vegan diet. After about six months of eating only veggies, I had some of the best sleep I’ve ever had — without sleeping pills.
I’ve had no real complaints since then… until about a month ago. The nightmares started creeping back in. When it happened the first night, I chalked it up to stress. When it happened the second night, I took note of it. A full week of it, I started to get worried.
My daytime fatigue was starting to scare me. As a solopreneur, there’s no one to cover for me, clients aren’t going to understand that I can’t even get myself to sleep, so my editing quality is less-than stellar. It’s unacceptable.
I was compensating for my lack of sleep my eating things I NEVER eat: those giant bags of peanut M&Ms, at least one Diet Coke a day, and other non-healthy things.
It’s a cycle, right? You can’t sleep so you make poor food choices to make yourself feel better and around 2pm, you need that pick-me-up, and then that night, you can’t sleep again.
So, when I went to the grocery last week, I didn’t buy any candy or soda (that’s even weird to type because I haven’t regularly drank soda in…8 years?).
Instead, I let myself get ingredients to make an afternoon latte, but a vegan one with no artificial ingredients — I’ll make it on my Instagram Stories @Orangejulius7 if you’re interested in seeing it.
There’s a few things I won’t be able to just “fix”. February will forever be a hard month for me, as there are two people dear to me that passed away in this month, and if I learned anything in the last year, it’s that grief does not consider timing or place, and there’s no cure.
I am also aware that jumping into self-employment is likely part of the reason I’m having nightmares about jumping into the ocean with hungry sharks awaiting. And well, there’s not much I can do about that, either.
But! I have started to feel a little better this week — after a full week without candy or Coke. And I’m trying (not willingly) to go to bed by 11pm.
Before I wrote this post, I sifted through old posts to see what I’d said already about my journey to sleep (it happens when you’ve had a blog for nine years).
One thing I saw was that I wrote about positive sleep results when I regularly practiced meditation. So, that is something I need to get back to.
A major part of this is that I have to let go of habits I’ve had for years. I have never wanted to just go to bed. I want to stay up! Watch TV! Read a book! Answer emails! Get Crafty! Clean my apartment! Going to bed early seems like I’m abandoning things on my to-do list.
But being tired is not a badge of honor. I have to be awake enough to get my work done, to maintain a professional demeanor for my clients, and to be there for myself.
So, this weekend, I’m going to sleep. Just kidding! I mean, I am going to try and rest, but not the entire time. I actually have some fun vegan stuff to make this weekend, so I’ll put some updates on Instagram — if you follow me, message me and let me know you’re a reader, I would love to hear from you!
Cheers to the weekend!