Hi, my name’s Andrea and I’m obsessed with sleep and tiredness. I’m obsessed with getting enough of it and not getting enough of it, and I spend a LOT of time thinking about being tired. I know exactly when this started – it was 1985, I was 15 years old and my parent’s decided it was a good time to start going through a very messy divorce. That resulted in my first bout of insomnia – which was hardly surprising considering I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders back then. Insomnia has kicked my arse a few times since (usually lasting 2-3 months at a time), but the worst was after Jax was born.
I couldn’t believe I was being cursed with insomnia after having a baby! I’d go to bed, with Jax all nestled up in the crib next to me, and then I’d toss and turn all night, finally getting to sleep somewhere between 4-5am, only to be woken at 6am by a little man requiring a feed. It was a brutal time and as I’d been diagnosed with pre-natal depression, it made sense that it was now post-natal depression, as insomnia is an indication of this. I haven’t talked about this a lot to date, but that’s because I’ve just been trying to work my way out of it and it’s not an easy thing to do.
Anyway, I have identified this as a significant and often crippling thought habit that I need to eradicate. I watch Steve, who often gets the same amount of sleep, but most of the time, he’s able to just get up and embrace his day. He doesn’t think about it. Yes he didn’t get enough sleep, yes he’s feeling a bit weary, but he gets on with it and doesn’t obsess over it like I do. He often finds my way of dealing with it quite perplexing, as he learnt at a young age it was his mind that was in control, and so he chose to think positively about sleep. I never learnt that lesson and so I wake up thinking about sleep, with the first thought usually wrapped around how bad my sleep was or how tired I’m going to be today. It sets the tone for the whole day… and obviously that’s not a good tone.
The thing is, this thought habit does not diminish my ability to work or play, and I still work harder and live fuller than most people do. That’s not the issue because it doesn’t impact my productivity. What it does impact is my joy. Because I spend so much time thinking about it, those times in between living and working are typically wrapped up in thoughts about sleeping and exhaustion. It really messes with my mind!
So how do I eradicate it, especially as I still have two little fellas disturbing my sleep? Well apparently I’ve got to get my thinking sorted out. I’ve asked many people about this and those I’d consider specialists have told me to just stop thinking about it and replace the thoughts with something positive. Easy, right? Not at all! When you are feeling exhausted down to your very bones, it is very very challenging to say to yourself “I feel awesome, let’s rock this day.” The reality is, when you try to do that with yourself, you just want to reply with a “fuck off you bloody idiot, it’s all bullshit because I am tired.”
Since the age of 15 I’ve read many books about sleep and obviously I do everything I can to ensure a good night’s sleep – although I’m not perfect. I don’t drink coffee after mid-day, because it’s not a good idea for me. I try to avoid all additives and preservatives that can affect my ability to sleep. I try to get to bed at a reasonable time. I try to ensure the ambience in the room is right for good sleep, such as a dark room, no flashing lights, etc… I try to exercise to ensure I’m tired enough. And there are many other things I do. With that said, across the board, I could do much better – like taking all electrical appliances out of my room, including the Wi-Fi connection, electric clock, etc… and not eating any chocolate after 8pm would be a good idea too. There is definitely improvements to be made, and I will get there, but in the meantime I have something far more important to achieve.
I need to stop thinking about it. I need to replace tired thinking with energized thinking. I need to be excited by my life every day because then I won’t feel tired because I’m too busy being excited by what I’m doing that day. I need to be super busy. I need to remember that lack of sleep isn’t going to kill me, but thinking about it and stewing over it probably will. I just need to get rid of this obsession because I waste too many valuable thoughts on it when I could be applying those thoughts in a much more positive direction. I’m tired, so what. Keep going.
I also don’t want to be a tired parent for my boys, influencing them to be like that in their lives. If they only ever hear “I’m tired” from their Mum – the chances are they will be too. I would be very sad if that was the legacy I left them. I want them to be excited and passionate every day of their lives, but to help them achieve that, I need to embody it.
So that is my main goal this month – re-programming my mind and seeing if I really can change this life-time mind-set to change my reality. The power of the mind is amazing – and we still know so little about it – so I’ve decided it’s time to see if I can really make a big difference within myself and for my life.
I don’t think this is an easy goal to set myself and have been feeling quite daunted by the idea the last few days – especially this last weekend when I felt knackered both days. But I’ve got to do it for myself somehow, and I also need to achieve this for my boys.
Can anyone else relate to this? Or perhaps there’s someone who did overcome tired thinking and they’re keen to share their experience? Join the conversation on the Without the Bollocks Facebook page if you feel inclined.
Yours, without the bollocks