The Elusiveness of R.E.M.

One very unpleasant manifestation of Bipolar Disorder is the symptom of Sleep Disturbance.

In the same extreme manner which characterizes other behaviors, my sleep has deteriorated to an pattern of all or nothing. I am either awake for days on end or I over-sleep, losing between 16 and 24 hours.

Moreover, when I do get sleep it is of inferior quality; I awaken expressly devoid of refreshment or rejuvenation.  There is almost certainly no R.E.M. happening. I can’t seem to get on track.

In an attempt to coax my unwilling mind into a calmer, less hectic state, I am seeking relief with tea.


Tea animated emoticonThis is my first experience with kava and valerian root combined which, according to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, have sedative properties when taken together.


This is also my first experience with loose tea.

104_2129Personally, I think it looks identical to potpourri and, to be honest, tastes just how I’d imagine a perfumed medley of dried petals and spices might.

104_2130Because the blend is loose, I am straining it with a filter prior to drinking.

As a supplementary measure, I am fully stocked with calming Chamomile tea which, on its own, has historically aided in reducing some anxiety, but has not sedated me to the point of all-out slumber.

sleeping hello kitty emoticon
Although similarly floral, I find Chamomile more palatable that the kava and valerian root blend.

104_2167104_2059104_1292 104_1262sleeping hello kitty emoticon

(This blend of Yogi Tea has kava but also contains cinnamon and sarsaparilla which make the tea quite delicious).


And let’s not forget my all-time-favorite, limited edition, which contains Stevia Leaf & raspberry!  I know my brain needs sleep, so I am willing to forgo the yummier teas, until I have improved my Sleep Cycle.  

Why Your Brain Needs Sleep.  104_0656


Have you ever struggled with Sleep Disturbance? 

How did you overcome it?


8 thoughts on “The Elusiveness of R.E.M.

  1. Kristen…Your loose leaf tea mix looks beautiful…almost too pretty to drink! I can almost smell the wonderful fragrance from here…
    Unfortunately, I DO have difficulty with sleep. Thankfully, (but not for you), I have never experienced days-at-a-time wakefulness. I can’t even imagine how discomforting that would be! I feel terrible you have to deal with that issue…can you take sleep medication?

    Because of my fibromyalgia and issues around sleep, I find myself awake most of the night and into the wee hours of the morning. (As we speak, it’s after 3:00 am and I’m still very wide awake). I have been prescribed sleep medication to allow me to get the important, deeper REM sleep I need but even taking my meds doesn’t seem to help anymore . My body has gotten used to it after taking it so long and I don’t want to keep upping my dosage, so I end up staying awake until the sun starts to rise (ugh) and then find myself sleeping maybe 5 hours a night/day! It’s gotten to be a pattern I can’t break.

    Lately, I have been trying to use guided meditation to help me to relax..I find some helpful ones on YouTube. I used to do TM but I get so distracted by thought that I end up being frustrated and I can’t clear my mind of random thinking . I also can’t sit up in a chair to do it because it is painful from the fibro, so I usually just do it lying down. I am fortunate at least that I don’t have to wake up early for work and am able to at least get a few extra hours in the a.m. of uninterrupted zzz’s

    Some ppl have told me that they have used melatonin successfully but I haven’t found it helpful…it makes me feel like I’m in a stupor the whole next day. Maybe I should try your tea remedy of Kava & Valerian root! (Does it really taste bad?)

    If anyone else has sleep issues that reads your blog, I would love if they could share some of the remedies that have worked for them. Thanks for sharing your tea recipe idea with us! ❤️

    • Oh, Sherrie, you have fibro? I have heard from a physician relative of mine that there are two categories of people with fibro: the type who have sleep issues and the type that don’t. He said the people who DO are the unlucky ones because it’s very difficult to treat. So sorry to hear that you have this bewildering and debilitating syndrome.

  2. Hey Sherrie,

    Yes, it smells and looks prettier than it tastes. As far as the potency goes, I’d rate it about the same as Chamomile, so I’ll probably just stick to drinking that for relaxing and the other teas (that I prefer in taste) throughout the day. I actually like the taste of black tea over green tea (although I know it is inferior in health benefits) and herbal tea is ok, but I’m not big on the floral taste. I am growing accustomed to Jasmine tea, but it is not my first choice (and neither is Chamomile).

    You asked about Melatonin. Just like you, I have had very little success with this supplement. Its efficacy is inconsistent and, when it does work, I am a zombie the entire day after.

    I have some sublingual drops (Kava & Valerian) that are really wicked tasting that can go in water, tea, etc, so I may try those.

    I can’t do any sleep scripts because that could become a problem for me. I don’t have a history with substance abuse, but my diagnoses create a very welcoming environment for even an over the counter medication to be a potential problem. This is why I do not drink alcohol. I don’t have any ethical objection to it at all. I drank socially in college and graduate school, but even light drinking would trigger what is called a “Mixed State” which is dangerous for a Bipolar individual.

    Anyway, that got tangential quickly! I think if your meds are getting you 5 hours of sleep and you don’t want to go to a stronger dose, it make sense. You wouldn’t want to get to the point where there is no going higher.

    If I learn of anything new to try, I will be sure to post it. :-)

  3. Chamomile tea knocks me right out, but only if I drink it with Ambien.

    Insomnia and oversleeping are the worst. I have experience with both. Isn’t it horrible when you toss and turn, trying so hard to sleep but you just cannot? Or when you mean to get up at a certain time but you just cannot do it? Sleep is tricky. Apparently it always is. It’s the only thing parents ever talk about i.e. “How does he sleep? Does he sleep through the night? Is he getting any sleep? How do you get him to sleep?”

    I know we are polar opposites in this way, but I read a blog where the writer voiced my position perfectly: I believe in a pill for every ill. I have Klonopin for sleep, but I only take it under extreme insomniac conditions because it makes me feel thick and slow for about a day. I also love Ativan, Xanax, and my favorite of all favorites, Valium. Especially with a glass of champagne (wink). Makes me feel like a movie star LOL.

    Regular exercise helps me sleep well, but I know you don’t lack for that.

    • Ima,
      “Chamomile tea knocks me right out, but only if I drink it with Ambien.”

      Your self-description conjures the image of a Hollywood starlet flung dramatically on a chaise lounge, with a long cigarette holder in hand (although I am positive!!! you would not be a smoker, this is decorative only), along with the champagne and Valium. 😉
      Also, I don’t know why, but you are a 1920’s flapper??

      In all fairness, I take a ton of drugs already, and most of them make me sleepy-just at the wrong times. I have my next psych appointment on Tuesday, so she’ll be fiddling with dosages I’m sure.

      Interestingly, my psych medicine has helped me cut back on the “compulsive” behaviors including over-exercise and I’m actually exercising less than I have in years.

      The problem is, however, that finding moderation is so difficult for me.
      It might benefit my sleep cycle to step it up a bit. My dad and I both have fit bits and are in “friendly competition” and he consistently beats me in steps per week.

      Moderation continues to allude me.
      I am going to lay down and stare at the ceiling now. Night!

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