|think (Photo credit: the|G|™)|
Typically, abnormal times of fitful sleep are the result of stress and worry. At a time when rest might be most important, troubled sleep is the reflection of what our day has been like. We carry the worry and concern to bed with us and mull it over in our brains which leads to mental stimulation rather than relaxation. The more we think about our problems, the more frazzled we become. Eventually we may succumb to exhaustion and fade in and out of the sleepy state.
For me there have been some recent occurrences that have caused these kinds of nights. Often I will fall asleep for the first half hour or so after I've gone to bed. Then I will awaken wide-eyed as though reminded of what had been bothering me earlier. After that sleep may become elusive for hours. I may get out of bed at times and go on the computer, watch television, read, or play solitaire. Sometimes my diversion works and I can return to sleep. Still the rest so needed for the night has been disturbed and I usually can feel the negative effect the following day.
The primary things that can cause sleep disturbance for me are:
- Worry about some unresolved problem or situation.
- Anger or some sort of conflict concerning another person.
- Fear of some vague circumstance over which I have little control.
- Thinking about the past, present, or future.
- Physical pain or discomfort
- External influences such as loud noises outside or the occasional earthquake.
There are fixes for a few of these, such as getting a snack to assuage my hunger or taking a medication if something is available. The others are mostly mental aberrations that are tough to shake. Getting diverted might be a temporary fix, but usually once I think I'll be able to go back to sleep, the intrusive bothers reenter my mind after I've gotten back into bed.
The thing I have noticed is that if I do sleep or half-sleep and have dreams, those dreams will be equally troubled and related in some way to what has been keeping me awake. Drifting between worry filled wakefulness and worry fraught sleep is disconcerting. Not getting proper rest with healthy dreams is tough on the mind and body. Fortunately it's not something I deal with on a nightly basis, but I wish it never had to happen at all.
What usually causes troubled sleep for you? Do you use any sleep aids? What do you do when you can't sleep?