Beginning of Insomnia
I was a warrior. I can march into work and go on a whole day with little sleep. This means 2-3 hours of sleep to wake up to an alarm clock. Take a shower, brush my teeth, go to work. Only to come home, play online games only to sleep a little and go to work again.
Now in my late 30s, one day, my body finally broke down after a month streak of sleeping 30mins – 3 hours per day. During the day, I just didn’t feel awake at all. I suffered the following symptoms
- Fast heart rate (100+ bpm lying in bed), this was very scary
- Heart palpitation, this is the feeling of your heart pounding. That feeling when you’re really nervous. (this made me unable to sleep for even that few hours)
- Started to look like crap which was probably the result of my heart overworking and my body needing and retaining water.
- Lost weight without trying. Lost 10% body weight.
- No appetite
- Hair started to fall out
- and scary of all, I lost motivation
- Depression or severe anxiety or hormonal imbalance – I was crying over everything. The week before breakdown, I watched Coco and barely cried. Once my body broke down, I can cry over a Pacific Bell commercial. I recall forcing myself to go to Disneyland and I cried during the electrical parade.
I spent a good 3 days in bed and wished a comet would hit the planet so we can all go together. This is a snowball effect.
- No sleep results in Heart problems
- Heart Problems causing Anxiety
- Anxiety causing loss of appetite
- Loss of appetite means no food for your body to recover
- It just keeps getting worse
Everyday, I lied in bed until 10am, yes 10am until my heart palpitation finally calmed down and I was able to knock out for 2 hours.
Browsing forums or Reddit groups where people were upset about getting 5-6 hours just made me feel worse about my situation.
I have to fight Insomnia
Starting recovery from Insomnia
I tried the basics and let me tell you what has worked and hasn’t worked for insomnia.
What doesn’t work for insomnia cure
- warm milk
- avocado, apparently the healthy fat helps
- hot tub
- melatonin gummies
- wearing socks to sleep
How my insomnia cure started
This is how my cure started.
As I lied there at 6am, instead of being worried about my body and being upset about being unable to sleep, I turned all the lights on. I read somewhere that you’re not supposed to eat protein before sleeping but I said screw it. I had a tuna sandwich and turned on a Japanese TV show.
and I laughed for the first time in a long time. For that time, I forgot about all my problems. I think my heart palpitation was gone for that moment. I turned down the volume on my TV and I don’t even remember going to sleep but for the first time, I had slept 4-5 hours which felt great.
So this is a tip that might help
- When you can’t sleep, turn on the TV and lower the volume so you can barely hear it. Youtube keeps playing similar videos so it’ll just keep going serving as a happy background noise
How to improve the quality of sleep
It took me over a month to get back to being able to sleep 6 hours everyday and another month to get to 7 hours, but here is what has helped to help with sleep.
Touch sun light
When the sun comes out, go out and touch the UV rays for 10 minutes. Just take a short walk. This helps with Vitamin D and helps your body produce melatonin at the right time. Letting your body touch the sun light also helps regulate your circadian rhythm. Scientists also say touching sunlight helps with serotonin levels which should help with anxiety or depression. I heard a Japanese doctor go as far as saying walking in sunlight is equivalent to taking antidepressant pills.
Playing white noise like the TV on low volume or just downloading some sleep app on your phone should filter out most noise, but if it doesn’t, ear plugs is your answer.
Ear Plugs – If you sleep with someone and they don’t like white noise, this is your pick. You can pick a bunch up on Amazon for $10
White Noise Maker – A little more costly and comfortable. I recommend just downloading an app on your phone or there are plenty of youtube videos that play white noise for hours.
Until you are able to sleep, you want to block out any sort of light that may disturb your sleep. Notice how when you’re in Vegas, all the rooms comes with blackout curtains and you sleep in until 1pm?
Blackout Curtains – Measure your current curtains and you can pick them up at Amazon or Target
Eye Mask – Eye masks are an easy cheap solution, but I always pull them off while I’m asleep.
Exercise a little
Goes without saying, but if you’re tired, you will go to sleep. This doesn’t have to be going to the gym. Walking 4000+ steps has helped tremendously. More I walked during the day, better my sleep was. You’ll start to feel great too!
Your body needs the right nutrition. It’s tough to force food down while you have no appetite, but your body needs it. When I was suffering insomnia, nothing was appetizing so why not eat healthy if they all taste the same. Eggs, Spinach, Chicken Breast, Fish, Beans, Guacamole, Fruits, Yogurt, lemon water. I made a lot of visits to the poke bowl shop and Chipotle too. I often broke down my meals because I just couldn’t eat. Stomach felt full after a few bites. One Chipotle salad lasted me for Lunch and Dinner.
Don’t stress about not sleeping
This is easier said that done, but one tip that helped me is to tell yourself “I’m going to rest” Also having anyone you are close to always asking you if you slept adds to the stress. Have them change it to “Let’s rest” instead of “Let’s sleep”
Get a Tracker
I recommend some cheap Garmin Heart Rate monitor band. This will help track if you are actually sleeping. Maybe you aren’t getting that sleep in the REM stage and you just don’t know it.
Naps are ok! but keep them short
Taking 30 min naps gave me a great boost during the day, but any longer than 1 hour made it harder for me to sleep at night.
Be Patient, it may take a few months
My body took a few months to break down, so it was silly for me to think I could hop back on schedule if I stayed awake for one day. It took about 3 months to fully recover and get back to my regular self. I can now watch sad movies without sobbing, my heart rate is back to 60bpm in bed.