When Shutting Down Becomes Impossible

By Denise D-H.

The average amount of sleep an adult should be getting is eight to nine hours a day.
Unfortunately, there was a period of my life when I didn’t fall into that category and sleeping was the biggest struggle in my life.

I first noticed changes in my sleep pattern when I started high school. New school, friends, and teachers were all contributors to my stress levels increasing, so I thought it was normal. I didn’t worry too much about it until it started affecting my concentration. I was unable to retain information, and learning new concepts became a difficult task. I was always a straight A’s student, so when my grades started dropping I became frustrated with myself. I felt like a failure and there was nothing I could do to fix this. Speaking to my family wasn’t an option I considered, so I decided to bottle up my problems.

The walls were closing in on me and all I wanted to do was cry.
On average, I was sleeping less than four hours each day and this continued for the next
year. I gained a total of 20 lbs. as a result of constant cravings in the middle of the night. I would indulge potato chips, whole pies, and ice cream. I was slowly losing control of my body, mind, and soul. I fell into a deep depression where I lost all my friends, and acquaintances. I didn’t know the true definition of happiness, and I was stuck in a depressing set of mind.

Then the worst happened, I started failing several of my classes. I was always a math and science nerd, so when I started struggling in these courses I knew something was wrong. I became anxious, and angry after completing an exam because I knew I didn’t give it my best. After every exam, I would go home, binge eat junk food, and hope this will all end soon. A year later is when my life started getting better. I talked to my family and friends, and they became my biggest supporters. I developed a routine each week to help my body stabilize and go back to normal. I exercised for 30 minutes four times a week, and lost all the weight I had gained in less than 6 months. Also, I increased my levels of melatonin naturally by exposing myself to natural sunlight in the daytime and sleeping in complete darkness during the night.

Developing all these different habits allowed me to enjoy a good nights rest and now I was
averaging 7 hours of sleep. It’s amazing how small changes can make the biggest difference. Many people don’t realize the importance sleep can have on your body. It’s a simple thing that if you don’t get enough of it, it can alter your mood, eating habits, and mind performance. Don’t underestimate the amount of rest you need. If the trend continuous, it can have serious consequences and hurt those around you. Important changes need to be made in order to improve the way you live.

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