Nightmares and lack of sleep

I have nightmares.  I always had nightmares.  When I was little I would complain about my nightmares and I was told they would go away when I grew up.  They didn’t go away, therefore, I never grew up.

When I started counseling, I averaged 3 hours of sleep per night.  That meant at least half of the nights were less than 3 hours of sleep.  I read books on sleep studies and learned that the brain and the body do not do well on so little sleep.  I finally remembered the nightmares enough to tell my counselor.  No wonder I was terrified of sleeping.  I would stay away until I would literally pass out from lack of sleep.  Going to bed earlier was disastrous. The more sleep I got the worse the nightmares were.   It was a vicious cycle.  Interestingly enough, my counselor would regularly ask me how much sleep I was getting.  It would annoy me until he explained that how much sleep I got each night was like a doctor taking my temperature.  He understood a lot about my week by the answer to this one question.

I used a variety of methods to tame my dreams.  Some worked to varying degrees, however, in my research I learned that dreams/nightmares is where the brain mashes everything together to sort things out.  It is where I can think outside of the box because there is not box.  No perimeters no limits.  One of the recommended troubleshooting solutions is to sleep on the problem and allow the brain time to work through how to solve it.  This is why writers and inventors would keep paper and pencil by the bed.  I used to do that.  The few times I wrote something down, the next morning when I read what I wrote it was pure gibberish.  I am starting to trust myself to resolve issues while I am sleeping.  My brain may do a crazy mash up but interesting answers come up in the morning.  I have the advantage of a 30 minute commute Monday through Friday so I can mull over and remember what I dreamed about the night before.  I am still not friends with sleep, more like nodding acquaintances.

Good night, sweet dreams, don’t let the bed bugs bite…..alright that does it, why did you have to mention bed bugs.  I can feel them crawling over me.  Ugh!

Good night.


One thought on “Nightmares and lack of sleep

  1. Pingback: Sleep is self care | PTSD - Accepting, Coping, Thriving

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