Why I Cannot Sleep at Night?
Often when I cannot sleep at night, it’s because I feel I’ve left something undone or unsaid, or because I feel I need something I haven’t gotten yet. Following is a list of some needs and feelings that your insomnia may be trying to express. As you read through the list, you might want to keep a journal or notebook handy. Jot down any thoughts or feelings that come to you as you read. Perhaps you’ll run across a paragraph that describes exactly the way you feel; maybe you’ll feel like arguing with one point or another; or perhaps something you read will inspire you to take off on another train of thought altogether. Use the list in whatever way inspires you to learn more about your own particular situation.
>I need help! Perhaps you feel uncomfortable acknowledging that you can’t easily handle every challenge that comes your way. Maybe it’s hard for you to admit that you need help in meeting some of your responsibilities, handling some feeling, or achieving some desired goal. Not being able to sleep may be a way of dramatizing the problem, to yourself and/or to others, so that you can get the help you need.
Having insomnia may be a way of allowing yourself to get some kind of help-even if it’s for the insomnia and not for the problem that you originally wanted to solve. Or it may be a way of encouraging another person to offer you help-either specific help with a problem that your insomnia prevents you from handling, or symbolic help that reassures you of another’s concern. Becoming aware of this need may enable you to ask for help more directly. It’s also possible that simply experiencing your need for help may ease your insomnia, even if you don’t act on that need.
>I need time for myself !You’ve got a million things to do tomorrow, and you need your sleep. Yet sleep is the one thing you can’t have, because you’re lying awake with insomnia. “I know I’ll be a wreck tomorrow,” you think in frustration. But perhaps your insomnia is a way of saying that today is more important than tomorrow. Maybe your insomnia is actually giving you a backhanded chance at having some time to yourself. Of course, there are more efficient, relaxing, and productive ways to get some private, personal time than lying awake at three in the morning. But if you aren’t allowing yourself to make those other ways a priority, insomnia may be your psyche’s last-ditch effort to carve out a little personal space.
No matter what message your insomnia is giving you, you have many options about how to hear it. You can realize that you have a feeling or a wish that you don’t intend to act on. You can choose to look for a direct solution to your problem. You can allow yourself to ruminate about the problem for as long as you need to, trusting that the right answer will come to you. You might choose to get help from a counsellor or friend, to write about your problem in your journal, or to handle the situation strictly on your own. In other words, what you do with your new awareness is your choice-but in order to make a choice, you must first allow yourself to be aware. We frequently hide feelings or wishes from ourselves; there’s nothing inherently wrong or unhealthy about doing that. Your insomnia, however, may be a sign that it’s not working for you to hide some particular wish. People often feel that once they’re aware of a problem, then they must do X. They don’t want to do X-so they never allow themselves to become aware of the problem. A more open-ended approach might reveal more satisfying possibilities for action.