insomnia and work

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Chee2308 1 week, 2 days ago.

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  • #60295

    ✘ Not a client

    Hi everyone,

    so how do people manage to stay at work while coping with insomnia?

    My insomnia gives me sleepless nights after one hour of sleep every other night, after which I am hardly myself. I managed to get calmer, not completely shaking anymore, but still VERY dizzy, very unfocussed, my eyes can’t zoom in properly.
    My work consists of teaching piano to children, I am off work right now since I really can’t imagine being in the teacher role right now, being creative, looking for solutions together with the kids, all while my head is browsing inside and my body is almost collapsing.

    I try to give myself time, but that could possibly mean staying off work for months to come.

    The thought of wanting to work but not being able to troubles me so much.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi judi, yes, it is tough summoning the energy to work when you are super tired. I don’t have a magic answer. I will describe what I did and maybe you will find something here to help.

    Getting through law school in my late 20s, then law practice in offices through my 30s and early 40s, it amounted to caffeine, will power and the intense nature of the work I was doing. It helped when I mostly gave up the idea I had to sleep well. And there were a variety of sleep meds which would work temporarily. In my 40s and 50s I was working for myself in a scaled-down practice, not much money in it but a flexible schedule which sometimes meant taking naps. In my late 50s as my energy level naturally started to subside, I got less able to deal with the emotional aspects and left law practice altogether to work all sorts of jobs, e.g. delivering mail and working as a courier for the blood bank. And I was lucky that my wife had a good-paying job, though I will would have made it if I had stayed single.

    Over the years I finally discovered mindfulness. I don’t mean the fad that is going around, but rather the whole concept of cognitive behavioral therapy, which incidentally is what Martin’s course is all about. Over time, I learned to stop trying to think my way out of insomnia or any other problems, instead watching my thoughts drift through my mind (or race through my mind, though that is harder until you remember to let things slow down).

    Prayer was also part of the solution. I am not talking about some miracle fantasy, but rather prayer for the strength to get through this moment, this nanosecond. The next moment might be tough, too, but it’s in the future, deal with it when it’s here. And it turns out not every moment is awful.

    In short, I had to scale back to do the best I could, and try not to let insomnia become this all-powerful ogre. Tough to do when you are really hammered, but try to be gentle with yourself. And know you are not alone in this. Take care.

    (Please don’t think this means you will struggle with insomnia for years. I had lots of childhood trauma to work through, so it took longer. And I went through lots of doctors who didn’t want to explore insomnia all that much, just write a prescription for different meds.)


    ✘ Not a client

    Thankyou so much for your long response, hiker, very interesting to read.

    Even after knowing meditation for quite some time now (but tbh not to keen about it) I still can’t wrap my head around what “mindfulness” exactly is.
    If you have any more details to say about mindfulness in regard to insomnia, I’d love to read it.


    ✓ Client

    The simple answer is why don’t you find out? Why won’t you continue to teach regardless of how you sleep? If you never step out of your comfort zone, you will just continue living in fear. Think back to those times when you slept very little but continued the next day seemingly oblivious. Something like christmas eve when you were much younger. Or high school prom. Wedding day eve. Going on your honey moon. Surely you must have had a blast and sleep was the last thing on your mind. Be that person! Go out and do things, don’t just stay in waiting for sleep to happen. You only get live once, make full use of it right here and right now. Otherwise it’s all wasted. Time waits for no man, fate is not going to extend your time or lifespan just because you have insomnia or whatever other problems in life. Everyone will get their eternal sleep one day, why miss it so badly now when you are guaranteed to get it in unlimited amounts later? It makes no sense.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Chee2308.

    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Chee,
    I tried already, but due to my underlying anxiety disorder was extremely out of focus and on the edge of panic attacks.
    But might try again later, when I probably mastered my anxieties coming from an all-nighter a bit more.

    Anyway, your last 2 sentences made me laugh so much I might note them on my sheet of evening affirmations! 😀


    ✓ Client

    Forget about sleep. Move on with your life and one of the things that you can actually do is TEACH. It makes you forget about your problems for a while. When you put your utmost attention and dedication into something, it becomes a form of mindfulness. You don’t just have to meditate, doing things and being mindful about them is actually quite the same thing.

    If you could forget about your insomnia, then it actually ceases to exist, that is the weirdest thing. Insomnia exists because you defined what insomnia is inside your head, such as having all nighters. But to someone else who also have all nighters but doesn’t think it’s a problem, then insomnia can’t exist. Take for example someone who parties all night and then turns up at work, hardly ever slept. That person is not obsessed about sleep and sleeps well. The difference is your mindset and how you see things.

    If you can’t forget, try to ignore it by being engaged in other things. If your mind keeps warning about insomnia, just acknowledge it and then refocus the attention back on what you are doing. Remember your purpose in life, is it just to sleep? Or to experience life to the fullest? On your death bed, what do you want to remember about your life: just how badly you slept all the time or how well you lived your life? The choice is yours.


    ✘ Not a client

    HI judi, regarding mindfulness, it can sound simplistic or trendy. You may have to check a number of sources to see what resonates for you. Suggest don’t write it off if the first few you check out sound flaky or weird.

    A couple of free sites are and The first is free, period. The latter does offer seminars for fees, but also lots of free material, and there is no pressure to buy. Neither site is cluttered with ads or any interruptions.

    Basically mindfulness pertains to really dialing in to the present moment, even if it seems mundane. It can feel somewhat awkward or slow at first, if you are used to lots of stimulation, which I think is sort of the status quo in our culture right now.

    I would not approach it as a surefire cure for insomnia. There isn’t one. Sleep is rather simply something which naturally occurs, if only we can get out of the way and let it happen. Mindfulness can help because it involves stepping back and observing rather than being constantly caught up in the stimulus swirl.

    Finally, you can spend lots of time talking about mindfulness, or reading or watching videos about it, when actually what really works is doing it. And don’t be concerned when your mind wanders – addresses this issue particularly well.

    Hey, nothing to lose, right?

    And even if you are tired and things aren’t as good as you would like at the moment, I hope you can have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)

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