I've struggled with insomnia for the last year or so. I usually lie down to bed, read until my eyes are tired, switch off the light and let my mind wander its way to sleep. Most nights, I fall asleep pretty quickly.
Other nights, instead of turning the corner to la-la-land, I head straight into start-the-brain-spinning-again-land. And suddenly it's three hours after I laid down to sleep and I'm wide awake thinking about work, finances, life-planning and a whole host of other issues; none of which are usually worthy of losing sleep over.
I believe it's primarily stress-related. I already do many of the things recommended to alleviate stress. I exercise regularly (5-6 days a week, for an hour), eat pretty well (if not too much), interact with a pet and have a husband I adore. I garden.
I even fiddled around with yoga, to no avail. I felt like I was wasting calorie-burning time.
Yet here I am, a year later, still having trouble sleeping. My doctor asked about my sleeping habits during my annual physical in May. "Just fine," I chirped. Then I got home and was like, wait, why didn't I tell her I've been having a sucky spring sleeping? I've been blaming it on stress and a mattress that desperately needs to be replaced, but...?
Let me give a bit of family medical history background for you too. Most of the women in my family have a form of hypothyroidism. Your thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland at the base of the Adam's apple, which releases all kind of hormones which interact with your pituitary gland and other hormones. In the case of hypo, the thyroid doesn't release enough hormones, and symptoms include lethargy, weight gain, difficulty keeping weight off and sometimes high blood pressure.
Why yes, I have all of those.
I've taken a synthetic thyroid supplement since I was 19. It's supposed to balance things out, and my TSH and T4 levels are checked every year as blood work during my annual physical.
You should have figured out by now that my levels were out of whack at my last physical. My primary care physician, an internist, upped the dosage, and asked me to come back for a blood panel again in the middle of July. I'll do that Wednesday morning.
I'm reticent to start popping Tylenol PM pills more than once a week. They give me a nasty hangover-like effect the next day. And really, I don't want to treat the symptom (that I can't sleep), I want to address the cause. I need to find a non-eating way to handle my stress. I need to evaluate all of the medical reasons I can't sleep.
Because damn, I need more sleep!