Bad Sleep Hygiene

To say I’ve been having trouble sleeping is a monumental understatement. I wasn’t a good sleeper before I got ill – I had a sleep study years ago that confirmed I have a sleep disorder – and now sleep taunts me like a schoolyard bully.

A lot of the time I get the worst pain flare ups starting in the early evening. Whenever I end up in the hospital emergency room it’s because of one of these evening gifts. Most nights I convince myself that I can cope with the help of deep breathing; a mantra I whisper to myself at the worst peaks “the pain is not real”; or by numbing my mind with countless hours of internet surfing and TV watching.

I keep telling myself that I have to do something to fix this bad sleep hygiene. My efforts might work for a night or two, but as soon as the pain climbs it all goes out the window. My body wakes me at 2:00 AM, then 3:00 AM, then 4:00 AM, then… – I think you get the picture – until it’s impossible to stay in bed. Then about late-morning I struggle to keep my eyes open and have to submit myself to the pull of sleep, which only lasts for a few hours.

I read today that “it takes, on average, 21 days for a new habit to form”. I know this. I also know that I haven’t given my body a fair chance to adjust to the sleep needs controlled by my pain. To cope better I need more sleep. To keep my body strong I need more sleep. To hold on to my mental health I need more sleep.

Tonight is the first night toward forming a new sleep habit. I have decided on a bedtime and I will be tucked in between my striped sheets by that hour, full of hope that I will sleep through the night.


The Chordettes – Mr. Sandman


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