Restless Brain Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome garners much attention. Commercials warn viewers to see their health care professional if suffering from uncomfortable or unpleasant feeling in the legs. They warn that Restless Leg Syndrome may disrupt sleep and cause drowsiness during the day.

My inability to sleep has nothing to do with my legs or pain. Instead, I have what I’ve coined “Restless Brain Syndrome”. While not a real condition, it’s very real for me. My restless brain refuses to settle down and relax so that I can sleep. I can’t predict how I will be affected on any given night, but I can pretty much guarantee my sleep will be interrupted by an overactive brain.

Some nights Restless Brain Syndrome makes it impossible for me to fall asleep. At midnight, one, even two o’clock I wait for sleep to come. Other nights I fall asleep quickly but sometime between one and four find myself wide awake. On the very worst nights, I fall asleep in the wee hours of the morning only to awake an hour or two later. Restless Brain keeps me sleep deprived.

Instead of resting I can’t stop thinking. I think about things I should have done during the day. Things to do in the morning. Writing. Work. And I can worry about absolutely nothing so my brain has plenty of activity.

Suggestions for getting a better night’s sleep abound and I’ve tried many.

  • Make a to do list before you go to bed so you don’t think about what needs to be done.
  • Keep paper and pencil next to the bed so you can write down thoughts and get back to sleep.
  • Don’t drink caffeine.
  • Keep the bedroom cold.
  • Move electronics out of the bedroom.
  • Get up and do something quiet if you can’t fall asleep after 30 minutes.
  • Exercise so your body’s tired.
  • Drink a glass of wine.

None of these have worked. I need to install an off switch so my brain can shut down and let me sleep.

I’m anxiously awaiting a solution to Restless Brain Syndrome. If I could only follow the advice of W.C. Fields,

The best cure for insomnia is a good night’s sleep.

I wish it were so easy!