Skip to comments.My Battle With Insomnia: How Roxanne Pallett Didn't Sleep for Three Days
Posted on 04/24/2012 3:18:26 PM PDT by nickcarraway
"I have had to live with being constantly tired all my life and I walk around in a constant daze", says the former Emmerdale actress
Former Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett, 29, has suffered from insomnia since childhood.
Her chronic sleep problem was at its worst when her best friend committed suicide two years ago.
Here she tells how it can affect her ability to lead a normal life
Being constantly tired is something I have had to live with all my life and most days I walk around in a constant daze.
Normally I can never ever get to sleep before 1am, and sometimes it might even be 3am.
I can lie awake for three or four hours at a time and my mind is racing.
Generally I have about four hours sleep a night and at the most six.
I dont think Ive ever had eight hours sleep in a night. Its horrific.
When my best friend Pamela committed suicide back in December 2010, I was so grief-stricken, I didnt sleep for days on end and I couldnt continue with the pantomime that I was starring in.
Every night I would lie in bed replaying everything in my mind and wondering what more I could have done to help her. These torturous feelings kept me awake all day and all night.
It got so bad that I didnt sleep for three days in a row. I was delirious and started having hallucinations as well.
I remember hiding upstairs when people rang at the door. I didnt want to see anyone.
My mum was that worried that she came close to getting me admitted to hospital but I didnt want to go.
With her love and support I started to get better and when I landed a part in Casualty and two theatre roles, it gave me something to focus on.
But it didnt mean my insomnia is or has been cured.
I have been to various doctors about my chronic sleep pattern and they always ask if I am either stressed or depressed because those are two of the main causes of insomnia. But Im neither!
Their solution was to give me sleeping tablets but I dont like the thought of being sedated because thats not solving the problem.
Ever since I was a baby I havent slept. My mum said she would talk to other mothers to compare sleeping patterns and she was the only one with the baby who was constantly awake.
As a little girl, I remember mum going to bed around 11pm and I would then get up and start playing with my dolls and I would still be up early the following morning!
Over the years I have tried everything to improve my quality of sleep, including trying all the obvious wind-down techniques from having a hot bath and a milky drink to always going to bed at the same time.
But Ill still lie in bed for hours worrying about not being able to fall asleep, which just makes the problem worse.
One of the other causes of insomnia is having too many stimulants, but I dont smoke and I dont drink coffee and I hate the taste of alcohol, so I can rule that out.
However, I do like my fizzy drinks and I love any kind of sweets. I used to have two cans of Coke and a packet of Skittles a day but I've cut all of that out, too.
When I was a contestant on Dancing on Ice for four months in 2010, I had the best night's sleep I've ever had. Because my body was so tired and exhausted from the physical activity, it made getting to sleep easier. I was getting up at 6am to train at the rink, too.
But when it stopped it was horrific trying to get to sleep. I still had had the adrenaline and excitement in my system but the cardio had stopped.
Now I power-walk everywhere. I go out jogging and I am learning martial arts after I was attacked on a train. It was a terrifying experience and that hasn't helped my sleep either.
The only thing I can think of that is not helping my insomnia is that I don't have a regular bedtime schedule - it's pretty impossible as an actress.
Sometimes I might be up at 5am, as I was when I was filming parts in Casualty and Waterloo Road recently. At other times, if I am in a play, I'll be on stage until 10.30pm, and when I come off stage, the adrenaline is surging through me and it takes me a few hours to wind down.
For some reason the lack of sleep doesn't affect my memory when it comes to learning lines but I've become so clumsy.
The other week I was on Daybreak and I was so tired before I went on I managed to clamp the inner part of my arm with my hair straighteners and ended up in A&E having a dressing put on the burn.
The next morning I woke up and missed the bottom four stairs in my house and hurt the same arm. My mum came running in from the kitchen and said: "You are a walking disaster!" But you can't function properly when you don't have your sleep.
I have been advised by a friend who is a sleep expert to cook all my own food, cut out any flavours and E numbers from my diet and to have regular massages - and it is helping!
I had a massage at Champneys the other week and they gave me this pillow mist spray with the same oils in that I had for my massage.
Now when I'm staying in different hotels, I spray it on my pillow as it helps me to relax and I find I can fall asleep with an hour rather than three.
The irony is that when I do fall asleep, I go into such a deep slumber I feel like I've been knocked out by a sledgehammer and it's really hard to wake myself up!"
What is insomnia and how to treat it Insomnia sufferers have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep and insufficient sleep leaves them with an inability to cope.
Psychologist Marisa Peer says: "Without sleep we become emotional, we can't cope or function and are more prone to giving up. Symptoms include irritability, poor concentration and memory, clumsiness and an inability to perform tasks to the extent that people affected should not drive, operate machinery or be in charge of young children.
"Without sleep we can hallucinate and feel like we're drunk or drugged - we are not fully in control of our body functions or mental faculties." So what does Marisa recommend in order to get a good night's sleep? The answer is to train your body to sleep normally.
"Remove all electrical appliances from the bedroom.
Then, when you go to bed roll your eyes up, then close the lids down as this puts you into an alpha brainwave - the one you get when you are truly asleep. Lie still as immobility brings on sleep and don't try too hard, let sleep come to you. Use relaxing oils on your pillow and don't drink too much before bedtime so you don't need to go to the toilet."
She answered her own question. She doesn’t have a “regular” schedule. I think in some ways the busyness of our modern lives contributes to the inability to fall asleep. Also, I know from personal experience - and research - that being on the computer within an hour of going to bed can be like drinking a couple of cups of coffee, due to the light from computers being in the blue spectrum.
Just put on one of Obama’s speeches, that will solve that problem.
I’m a lot worse than she is! Add somnambulism to my problems! Thought I’d outgrown it, until I got on Ambien. Totally came back with a vengeance! Almost burnt my house down one night. If you’ve ever, in your life, had a problem with somnambulism, do not take Ambien.!
ROFLMAO! Amen to that.
get a physics book and start doing the problems at the end of the chapter..... or listen to TOFUS speak...or any democrat
Huckabee has a radio show...
Insomnia can be a blessing if you learn to use it correctly.
>>Generally I have about four hours sleep a night and at the most six. I dont think Ive ever had eight hours sleep in a night. Its horrific.<<
Seriously? Who the hell gets 8 hours of sleep a night? I average 5 hrs a night...it’s called being an adult with kids - lol.
I am an insomniac. Couldn’t fall asleep as a child. My earliest memory is being awake when everyone else is asleep.
It was so bad at one time in my life...3 days no sleep...I had a full tonic clonic seizure. Dr.s ruled out everything else, it was caused by sleep deprivation.
I’m in my 40’s now. Insomnia is still with me. Sleeping pills only work for a while. At some point you have to wing it alone.
By blessing do you mean you can get more work done?
I haven’t slept since 1972.
I get my best thinking done laying awake at night. Besides, fighting insomnia is a losing proposition. You’ll sleep a lot better if you don’t try.
>>I get my best thinking done laying awake at night. Besides, fighting insomnia is a losing proposition. Youll sleep a lot better if you dont try.<<
I get pretty bad insomnia sometimes — same problem, the mind races and won’t SHUT UP! I have had the best success mentally replaying my favorite movies (such as Star Wars New Hope) — I have every moment of that movie memorized...
I remember back in the day when I was doing things I shouldn’t have done I didn’t sleep for three months, not one minute.
You told me you slept with a lot of people?