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An acquaintance recently turned 40 and said that her birthday present to herself is to go skydiving. I said that I don’t understand jumping out of a fully functional airplane. While I respect people’s rights to go skydiving, I confess that I don’t see even one thing appealing about it.

I asked a friend (who is a fellow child abuse survivor) her opinion about skydiving, and she had an interesting theory. She thinks that people who like to skydive, bungee jump, and other potentially dangerous activities are seeking the adrenaline rush. My response was that I can get an adrenaline rush just by going to sleep at night, so I don’t need to endanger myself to achieve that goal!

I really do have an adrenaline rush just about every night. I frequently awaken from a nightmare, and as I move from the terror of the dream to the reality that I am safe in my bedroom, I can feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins. This is one of the reasons that I struggle with insomnia – it’s hard to sleep when you feel like you just went skydiving!

It’s hard for me to understand why somebody would seek an adrenaline rush, but that is likely because I have no balance. I actually loved watching the TV show “24,” which also caused an adrenaline rush, so I guess I can relate to that degree. Then, I thought about how much I love riding rollercoasters, but that appeal was gone as long as I had vertigo since I felt like I had been “spinning” for nine days. Again, I think it all boils down to achieving a balance.

I also suspect that an adrenaline rush of your choosing (both how and when) is a very different experience from having it thrust upon you night after night for year after year. Most people probably don’t go skydiving 30 minutes before bedtime. If I could just bottle up my own adrenaline, I could probably earn a fortune!

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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CandleIn my last couple of posts, I have been talking about the joys of having my own room. Even though I am married, hub and I have our own rooms. I moved into the guest bedroom and then turned it into my own space, not because of marital issues but because of insomnia. Hub snores, and that noise coupled with the presence of another body in the room caused me to struggle with insomnia for over a decade.

When I shared a room with hub, I would go to bed earlier than he did. I did not have much trouble falling asleep initially. However, after he joined me, I would awaken repeatedly throughout the night, every night. I stayed dog-tired during the day because of his. Now that I have my own room, I generally sleep well. However, moving into my own room was only the first step.

I keep a strong scent of vanilla in my room. I do this by burning a vanilla-scented candle for about 30 minutes before I go to bed each night. I generally do yoga and meditation during this time, but I will burn the candle even if I do not do these activities just to help reduce my hypervigilance. According to The Smell Report, the scent of vanilla calms the startle reflex in both people and animals. I have found this to be true for me.

The reason I started doing yoga and meditation before bedtime was to help with my insomnia, and that has been very effective. Doing both activities before bedtime calms my mind and body. The deep breathing is wonderful preparation for sleeping. In most cases, I have no insomnia issues if I do yoga before going to bed.

Having a lock on my bedroom door is also helpful. I do not lock it often because I want my son to be able to reach me if he needs me during the night. However, if I am dealing with flashbacks or have a nightmare, locking the door helps calm my anxiety and enables me to fall back to sleep faster.

Running an air purifier really helps me to stay asleep because it masks the sounds of the night. Even very light “settling” sounds will jolt me awake, so having the white noise from the air purifier helps to mask those noises. I run a humidifier during the winter for the same purpose.

Do you have any tips for how to fight insomnia after child abuse?

Related topic:

How to Cure Insomnia After Child Abuse

Photo credit: Faith Allen

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