Many of us experience difficulty falling asleep from time to time, and I am no exception. As a resident of a spacious apartment on the 10th floor in Beijing, there are moments where the struggle to attain slumber is comparable to that of Sisyphus, a character from Greek mythology who was cursed by the gods to roll a boulder up a hill, only to have it repeatedly tumble back down to the bottom. In my case, the boulder is the prospect of sleep, and I frequently find myself watching it fall back down, thinking, “Nope, not tonight.”
This pattern has become all too familiar for me, and I’ve encountered it countless times. Unfortunately, it appears to occur more frequently during the Christmas season. Perhaps it’s the time of year that plays a role in exacerbating this issue. Being away from my family during the holiday season only magnifies my restlessness, as I long to be reunited with my loved ones.
The struggle to fall asleep can be frustrating and exhausting, and it’s something that many individuals encounter. In my case, the feeling of helplessness is amplified by my surroundings. Living on the 10th floor in a spacious apartment can be isolating, and the stillness of the nighttime only exacerbates this feeling.
I’ve tried a variety of methods to combat this issue, from practicing mindfulness to drinking herbal tea. However, I’ve found that what works best for me is establishing a consistent bedtime routine. I try to wind down before bed, limiting my screen time and engaging in relaxing activities such as reading a book or taking a warm bath. Additionally, I find that listening to calming music or engaging in deep breathing exercises helps to ease my mind and facilitate sleep.
Despite my efforts to establish a consistent bedtime routine, there are still nights where the struggle to fall asleep persists. During these moments, I try not to dwell on my inability to sleep and instead focus on calming my mind. I remind myself that sleep will come eventually, and that the anxiety and frustration I feel will only serve to further delay its arrival.
The struggle to fall asleep is something that many individuals encounter, and it’s a challenge that I’m no stranger to. Living on the 10th floor of a spacious apartment in Beijing only exacerbates the feeling of isolation and helplessness that can accompany insomnia. However, through establishing a consistent bedtime routine and engaging in relaxation techniques, I’ve found that I can often ease my mind and facilitate sleep. Despite the occasional difficulties, I remain committed to finding ways to combat this issue and achieve a restful night’s sleep.
As someone who comes from a culture where Christmas songs start playing on the radio as early as September, spending the festive season in a foreign country only exacerbates my loneliness. I find myself tossing and turning in bed, trying to fall asleep, but my eyelids refuse to close despite being dead tired. I roll from one side of the bed to the other, feeling like I’m in a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. It’s like trying to punch a pillow – you keep hitting it, but it remains in the same shape, taunting you.
According to the Sleep Foundation, one-third of people worldwide experience unsatisfying sleep, and around 10% of people suffer from chronic insomnia disorder. It’s a frustrating and exhausting experience, but there are steps we can take to improve our sleep quality and break the cycle of sleeplessness.
The Sleep Foundation recommends maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends. It’s essential to get out of bed if you’re unable to fall asleep or if you’re experiencing anxiety. Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine, especially close to bedtime. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet, and refrain from watching television before bed. Avoid checking the clock to see how long it’s taking to fall asleep, and steer clear of eating large meals too close to bedtime.
In my case, I’m guilty of disregarding these guidelines. I’ve been known to drink coffee at night, which is counterproductive since caffeine is a stimulant that can disrupt sleep. Watching TV before bed is a habit I find hard to break, even though it’s known to increase alertness and delay the onset of sleep. I often indulge in large meals late in the week as a reward, but that can also hinder my ability to sleep.
While these tips may seem like common sense, they’re often overlooked or disregarded in our fast-paced, technology-driven world. It’s easy to get caught up in work, social media, and other distractions that keep us up late, but establishing a healthy sleep routine is crucial for our overall wellbeing.
In addition to the Sleep Foundation’s tips, there are other strategies we can use to improve our sleep. Some people find that meditation or deep breathing exercises can help them relax and fall asleep faster. Others may benefit from reading a book, listening to soothing music, or taking a warm bath before bed.
For those who struggle with chronic insomnia, seeking professional help may be necessary. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a type of therapy that can help individuals identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors related to sleep. In some cases, medication may also be prescribed to help manage insomnia symptoms.
It’s important to remember that getting enough sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. Lack of sleep can affect our mood, energy levels, cognitive function, and immune system, among other things. Chronic sleep deprivation has also been linked to an increased risk of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
If you’re struggling with sleep issues, don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to a healthcare professional, a sleep specialist, or a hotline such as the Help Me Sleep Hotline at 1-833-I-Can’t-Sleep for guidance and support. With some effort and persistence, you can overcome insomnia and get the restful, rejuvenating sleep you need and deserve.
Inadequate sleep is a widespread problem, and while there are tips and techniques to help, they may not be effective for everyone. As an individual who has struggled with sleeplessness, I empathize with the frustration of lying awake, tossing and turning, despite being exhausted.
When I’m staying in my spacious Beijing apartment on the tenth floor, sleep can seem like a boulder I’m pushing uphill, only for it to roll back down once more. It’s a familiar sensation that has plagued me countless times.
The holiday season seems to exacerbate the problem, especially when I’m far from my family. I miss them, and the absence can make it even harder to find rest.
I’m not alone in my struggle. According to the Sleep Foundation, one-third of people globally experience unsatisfying sleep, and around ten percent have chronic insomnia disorder, which involves difficulty sleeping and related daytime symptoms such as fatigue and attention issues at least three days a week for over three months.
The Sleep Foundation has suggested several tips for those struggling to sleep, including maintaining consistent sleep and wake times, getting out of bed if you can’t fall asleep after a reasonable amount of time, and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, especially before bedtime.
While these recommendations may work for some, they aren’t universal solutions. For example, while it’s best to avoid late-night caffeine, I have paradoxically found that drinking coffee at night sometimes helps me relax. Similarly, I know I should avoid watching television before bed, but I love binge-watching TV shows, like eagerly awaiting season 2 of House of the Dragon, which only adds to my difficulty sleeping.
Despite these challenges, I recognize the importance of sleep, and I prioritize it when I can. I use my weekends to catch up on rest, and I know that my health depends on getting enough sleep.
But even when I’m completely exhausted, there are still times when sleep eludes me. The Sleep Foundation may have a hotline for such issues, but I haven’t called it yet. Perhaps one day I will, but for now, I’ll continue to struggle with my boulder of sleep.
In the end, retirement may be the only escape from the struggle, where one can sleep at any time of day, but that doesn’t necessarily mean better sleep quality. Sleeping patterns can become erratic, and a good night’s sleep may be even harder to come by.
So, while tips for improving sleep can be useful, it’s important to recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each individual’s experience with sleeplessness is unique, and we all have to find our own ways of coping with it. For me, that may mean continuing to enjoy my favorite TV shows, even if they interfere with my sleep, while also trying to maintain healthy sleep habits when possible.