top of page
  • Writer's pictureMadison Paige

Chasing Zzz's

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

Hospital For Special Surgery


I was diagnosed with insomnia about four years ago, when my anxiety was at its worst. I would be awake for 3 days straight, then nap from time to time. It was extremely unhealthy, and I could barely function properly. I almost felt like a zombie, I was "wired," run down, and overtired. Yes, my body was exhausted however my brain was drained, fried and I felt useless. On top of all of this, my pain and my anxiety got tremendously worse because my brain wasn't able to rest. I was on this hamster wheel of trying to treat my anxiety and trying to get enough of sleep. It was a balancing act that I was never able to conquer.

I am someone who tried almost everything to get myself to sleep, so I wanted to share my thoughts! Sleep is not just important; it is a necessity to be able to live a healthy and happy lifestyle. So many people struggle with sleep and sleep health. Sleep is such a wonderful gift and tool that we have. I say tool because when our sleep is off or when we are getting too much sleep, not enough sleep, or simply when our sleep is just a mess at night, everything else in our life is off balance; I think sleep health is underrated and not talked enough about. Do you ever realize that when you don't have a good night sleep your entire day is pandemonium? Our minds are not meant to function on no sleep. Our cognitive thinking is altered, our memory is poor, basically were running on fumes and our engines are working at full capacity. So how we do get our engines to run smoothly? That is one question that we should always keep in mind. If our engine isn't running right, then the entire vehicle can't sustain a long-distance journey. Our bodies are the same way, if you don't take care of yourself and your sleep health you will not be able to endure the stressors that come every day.

I remember when my insomnia was so bad I would be wide awake at night trying to find different tasks to do because I was restless. One night I made an inspiration board, one night I wrote until the sun came up, and most nights I rearranged my room and reorganized. When I tell you I could not turn off my brain, I couldn't even lay in my bed without feeling like I was going to jump out of my skin. When the morning would come, I would feel tired, but not go to sleep tired, but my eyes were heavy, and I felt like I needed to sit down. This was my daily cycle. The longest time I went without sleeping was three days. I was basically living like a zombie from the Walking Dead, during this time my panic attacks became a daily thing...actually more like a twice a day thing. Looking back, no wonder I was having panic attacks and could barely think straight. My brain was functioning at like, 40%. With my experience, I had a very difficult time falling asleep. With insomnia, there are different types of sleep problems...trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, or both. My mind was racing, and I couldn't shut it off and get myself into "sleep mode." I felt as if I had one hundred thoughts bouncing around in my head that it felt noisy and busy.

The funny thing now almost 5 years later from when I first was diagnosed is insomnia can creep up on you just like anxiety and depression. Okay, maybe not funny maybe more like causing more anxiety and stress! However, now I am 25 I still have to work on my sleep health every night. This past year depression took a toll on me, and insomnia didn't come into play. In fact, I was sleeping too much and was tired 24/7. Anytime I could be horizontal and close my eyes, I would. This was extremely unhealthy, but because of my depression I could not even keep my eyes open and that was my coping mechanism.

It is a part of your mental health, and you need to keep working on it in order to maintain it and control it. Just like depression, consistency and repetition are everything when it comes to insomnia and other sleep disorders. Whether it is insomnia, sleep walking, sleeping too much, or not getting enough restful hours in the night. Sleep health is vital and goes hand in hand with mental health.

Everyone is different and not one plan works for everyone. But, I wanted to share some of the tools that I have used and try to continue to use when taking care of my sleep health.

Let's chat about getting into sleep mode....

1. Chamomile tea, and I would recommend drinking it about 30 minutes before you are ready to go to sleep. Chamomile has all natural sleep inducers that help your brain and body relax.

2. Read. I personally do not love to read, but I have used this tool when I needed to sleep and could not fall asleep. It doesn't have to be an hour long read but reading even 10 minutes of a little something before bed makes the brain tired because it is something that is working your mind.

3. Oil Diffusers. Personally I have loved the Young Living Essential Oil Diffuser.

Some oils I would recommend are : Lavender, Vetiver, Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, and Bergamot. Each one of these oils have natural aids to help the mind relax, and aid your body to release stress.

4. Schedule. OKAY! if you take anything away from this blog, it is this tip! Having a schedule, consistency and repetition are the BEST tools you can use for sleep and is the best practice to keep your mental health a priority. Going to bed at the same time every night can be difficult and sometimes impossible. Life gets in the way and life sometimes doesn't go the way you plan. Getting your brain and body on a schedule help train the brain when bed time is, and when to wake up. I have learned that having a sleep schedule and sticking to it, is the most important practice.

Okay, now that we covered falling asleep, let's discuss actually staying asleep. There is no guarantee that these methods will fix everything but trying some of these actions can hopefully make this difficult issue a little bit easier to manage!

1. Meditation, personally I am someone who has to practice meditation a lot in order for it to work. However, when I was in the deep throws of trying to stay asleep, guided meditation and meditation music were some of the only practices that actually helped my brain turn off, or at least take a breather for a minute!

2. Breathing, I have used breathing exercises to fall asleep or just calm down for years now and let me tell you...they work. One of my favorites is breathe in for 3 seconds, breathe out for three seconds. There are many different breathing techniques out there, try some and see which ones work for you!

3. Counting, This is one of the best advices and methods if you're someone who struggles with anxiety. You can count backwards, count by 2's, 5's, or whatever you please. I use this almost every single day. It is another way to work your brain and get it tired, while also altering your thought process and get yourself focusing on something else.

4. Get Up, one the best tools that I have learned and used and tell everyone is, if you're lying-in bed staring at the ceiling and your mind is racing, get up. If you stay there and ruminate, you're making it harder on yourself to fall asleep and your brain will just keep racing. Get up, read an article, get a glass of water, and try again. Trust me you may have to do this a handful of times, but it helps your brain and body relax and not stay tense.


Waking up, has never been an issue for me, although sometimes it is extremely difficult trying to motivate myself to get ready for the day. There are now some mornings that I wake up feeling as if I didn't get a wink of sleep.

1. Wake up & Get up, When you're alarm goes off, usually our first instinct is to shut it off, (at least mine is!) Don't, even if it's painful wake up, make your bed and brush your teeth. Try keeping this a routine every morning, and soon enough your brain and body will understand your inner clock. Making my bed in the morning and getting up no matter what has helped my motivation and anxiety tremendously.

2. Routine, having a morning routine. Whether that's taking vitamins, making breakfast, getting dressed, etc... It's so important to get ready for your day, it helps anxiety and depression when you complete small goals.

3. Phone, something new that I recently in cooperated into my daily life is not looking at my phone until I am fully out of bed and dressed. I have noticed that if I am staring at my phone and looking at social media, I get more tired, my eyes feel heavy, I get a headache, and then all of a sudden I have to get out of bed, and I can't find the motivation to do so.


Trust me when I say that these methods may take some time for you to get used to and get the hang of. Don't get frustrated and try not to get discouraged. When I first got diagnosed with insomnia, I was put on sleeping medication that I still have to use from time to time. It is okay to talk to a doctor and discuss other possible medication that can help you get back on track. Like I said, sleep health is crucial in being able to live a happy and healthy lifestyle! Just like eating healthy and self-care, sleep is just as important and should be a top priority!

Thank you for all of your support!

Instagram - @madison_bartlett

60 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page