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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sleep is The Cousin of Rest

                I have suffered from insomnia for a majority of my life since beginning college.  Actually it might have really started in the latter portions of high school.  I had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night.  In high school, it began by going to bed later than before.  When I had a set bedtime of 10pm, I would go to my room and lay down.  After some time I would always eventually drift off to sleep and wake up in the morning.  Then I really got into video games, sports and late night television which I wanted to stay up for.  So my bedtime went from 10pm to the early parts of the am.  That may not have been clinically diagnosed as insomnia as much as it was my own negligence to get ample rest though.  College really changed me as my body created the instance of waking up in the middle of the night.  So it did not matter what time I went to bed, I would eventually wake up with it still being dark outside and have to wait to fall asleep again.  My first plan of action for this was to not have classes too early.  Since my spring semester freshman year, I was attempting to avoid classes before 10am.  That's policy of mine to this day by the way.  If I were to wake up at 4am after going to sleep at midnight then I could still try staying in bed till 8am before getting ready for the day.  Even if I went to bed at 2am, it would allow for eight hours for complete rest.  When I encountered more problems, I began correcting them by taking medication like melatonin and diphenhydramine.  Melatonin is a supplement that helps with dozing off with the absence of light.  It occurs naturally in the body but you can purchase the supplement when you are having difficulty.  Diphenhydramine is a chemical antihistamine that seems a bit stronger than melatonin.  As an antihistamine it provides some assistance with colds and motion sickness as well.  With diphenhydramine, I was assured to be snoozing within the hour of taking it when I first started.  Like many drugs, I needed to raise the dosage as I adapted to its effect.  I found it was best to stop taking the drug and then begin again at very low doses sporadically would provide the best long-term effect for me personally.  Small differences in my diet has also helped with this issue.  Eating the right amount of food is a valuable key.  Proper servings ensure that I do not have too much energy during the course of the day and I can manage to wind down when it is time to at night.  Exercise and regulating your blood sugar can enable similar results as well. 
                The results of not getting a full night’s rest seriously affected the levels of concentration and irritability for me.  I could not focus in class or at work and may try to recoup some of that time while there.  Falling asleep in class had really hurt my grades as well as showing respect for my professors and classmates.  It was a bigger problem to me than anyone else would mention.  But I did not have to be told it was a negative.  And if I did not get proper rest it affected how I interacted with people during the rest of the day.  Both of these are personal social problems that came into play from this type of disorder.  I still practice the suggestions discussed in the first paragraph now.  Sleep is a very important aspect to my life and many others.  Adequate rest is essential to productivity and efficiency of how we perform.  It was once said by Thomas Dekker that “sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”.  With that being said, go get yourself some rest and thank you for reading.

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