Fight Insomnia: Take A Nap!

You don't have to suffer from insomnia

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, this blog will earn a commission. 

When I was in active treatment (chemotherapy, various surgeries and radiation treatment), I napped frequently. My oncology team pushed hard against the cancer in my breast and because of the aggressiveness of my treatment I was simply exhausted. I think I fell in love with naps during that time.

I slept a lot. I mean a whole lot. It reminded me of my teen years when I could sleep for hours upon hours all the time. Those of you who have kids, probably know the signs of a cranky kid who is tired and in need of a nap. I believe that its not much different when you're an adult.

Fatigue and insomnia can be side effects of breast cancer treatment

To be honest, even years after my treatment has ended, I'm still fighting issues with fatigue. I haven't been diagnosed with chronic fatigue but lord knows I'm tired. So very tired. But my tired body doesn't match my active mind and I often just push myself to keep going -- writing, reading, researching... playing games on facebook (oops!) -- long after I should have shut down my computer and just closed my eyes.

That's a terrible thing to do to yourself. As a result, my sleep pattern is completely jacked up. I often write late at night into the early morning and then try to keep going through the day... as though I did sleep 8 hours.

C.O. Bigelow

You can't fool your body

You know what my body does in retaliation? It will SNATCH a nap for me. It is the most ridiculous thing. I'll be bumping along online or with my nose in a book or pdf... and then POW! Next thing I know its 3 hours later and I'm waking up wondering what the hell happened.

My body can be so dang disrespectful! It just TAKES the sleep it wants. 

Working from home is part of my problem

I know that it happens because I'm undisciplined about my sleep habits since I work at home. My schedule is my own and so... I'm disrespectful to it and to myself. I work when I want to and for as long as I'd like. Please don't think that's admirable because it surely is not. When you're staring at a computer for 10, 12 hours a day -- sometimes more than that -- you're being disrespectful to yourself.

Let me repeat that for the people in the cheap seats:  If you're staring at a computer for 10, 12 hours a day (or more) you're being disrespectful to yourself. Your body needs rest. Get some. 

Don't do what I do... please don't. And if you already do... STOP IT! Treat your body with care.

Listen to your body and give it the rest it needs

I just wanted to drop a bug in your ear that... you should listen to your body and give it the proper rest. Yes, I know you have things to do and stuff on your mind. Bills to pay and kids to feed. I know this. I also know that running yourself into the ground doesn't help anyone. Even though I don't have children and I'm not married (though I do have a wonderful boyfriend)... I still need to be more respectful to myself for myself and for him and my family.

This week I'm going back to taking my melatonin pills so that I can sleep like normal people do. Although it feels counterproductive, I know that it is actually the best thing I can do for myself - to get back on a regular sleep schedule.

Since its a new year and I'm energized to accomplish a lot this year (I've got aggressive goals to hit), getting my sleep pattern in order so that I can get some good rest is part of what I have to do for me. So that I can do all the other things that I want.

Insomnia is really NOT good for you

If you are a breast cancer survivor (or perhaps you've been under a tremendous amount of stress), know that insomnia and fatigue go hand in hand. If you're not sleeping at night, you're going to move through the day exhausted. Your thinking will be fuzzy and you are likely to be a moody mess towards the people around you. Insomnia can trigger depression and also it makes your body more susceptible to infections and illnesses -- again, because you're exhausted. I know that sleep often feels like a luxury you can't afford, but trust me on this... you NEED sleep. Its not a game.

You have to consciously work to break the cycle of insomnia. Your body requires sleep so that it can rejuvenate itself. Plus, when you're tired... you won't look like as good as you can.  (I'm just being honest). When I've had a hard week... not only do I feel bad, I look terrible. And I'm far too vain to run through life looking haggard. I'm cute. So, melatonin to the rescue.

Judging from the activity on my Facebook page, quite a few of my friends suffer from insomnia too. I have a few suggestions to help all of us to shake this bad habit.

3 Signs of insomnia (from the Living Beyond Breast Cancer site):

  1. Trouble sleeping most nights 
  2. Lying awake in bed for hours without sleeping, or falling asleep quickly but waking up during the night and having trouble falling asleep again 
  3. You rarely feel refreshed or well rested when you wake

9 Steps you can take to get the proper rest:

  1. Set a regular time to go to bed. Same time every night. That will help to regulate your body clock and it will put you into a rhythm where your body prepares itself for sleep. 
  2. Use your bed as a place to rest, not an extension of your office. (I am super guilty of this) But no books, computers... not even your cellphone. Let your bed be the place where you rest and where you're intimate with your lover. Nothing more. (No fretting... you can get a LOT out of just those two things) 
  3. Don't lie there tossing and turning. If you can't sleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing (have a cup of tea, watch some television, take a warm bath)... when you feel tired, then go to bed and try again. 
  4. Take a nap sometimes. Naps are so beautiful. In college my friends and I would call a quick snooze before class or a party a "disco nap"... a quick 30 minute nap to refresh yourself and get energized for the rest of the day. (set your alarm so that you don't sleep too long) 
  5. Go for a walk or run daily (or be sure to do some type of exercise daily). Your body needs to move regularly and a good workout can tire you out enough that you get a good night's sleep. Even a quick 20-30 minute walk will do you wonders. 
  6. Talk to your tribe/support team. Y'all know I am a strong advocate for creating your own tribe for support and using them as necessary. When you're going through insomnia issues, your tribe can be a source of strength. If you need to talk through some concerns you're having (that may be keeping you awake), your tribe should be there for you. If you don't have a tribe... join the My Fabulous Boobies tribe on Facebook. Or call the LBBC Breast Cancer Hotline (888) 753-LBBC (5222) and talk to someone who has been there and understands what you're dealing with. 
  7. Try a non-prescription sleep aid. I take melatonin when I need to sleep. But there are other over the counter drugs that can help you get the sleep that your body craves. 
  8. Talk to your doctor about your sleep issues. There may be an interaction or side effect with your medication/treatment that is causing your insomnia. 
  9. Create a bedtime ritual that soothes you and prepares your mind and body for sleep. I am a big tea drinker. Some nights when I can't sleep, I'll have a cup of tea... sit on the couch with my favorite blanket and catch a good movie on cable or write in my journal. It helps to relax my mind.

Insomnia isn't the end of the world... but you and I both can do a lot better. In case you don't realize how you might act when your body is exhausted and a nap could save you... check out my young friends below. 

PS. You may read in other articles that taking a nap is not wise if you're suffering from insomnia. While I'm no doctor or sleep specialist... I say... PFFFFT!! If you're tired and you know it, take a nap. Your body might take one for you if you're not careful. 

To try the things that I use to help me with my insomnia, click below:

let's connect-brown

(where we discuss the breast cancer life)
(where I discuss any and everything!)
(be inspired, laugh a little, follow my crazy life)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Web Statistics