With the clock ticking, moon waning and night passing, some people are not able to sleep. And yet, although some people stay up, struggling to finish homework, Casa Grande High School student Chayse Musolf stays up not because she wants to, but because she simply cannot fall asleep.
“I was diagnosed with insomnia by the doctor a year ago,” Musolf said. “I would randomly wake up at 2 in the morning and would not be able to fall asleep. And then later I had trouble falling asleep at all, so I lost more and more hours of sleep.”
Insomnia, defined as the inability to obtain sufficient sleep or difficulty in falling or staying asleep, leaves Musolf dependent on medicine prescribed to her. The hormone melatonin, which is taken by insomniacs, is a fast-acting treatment that Musolf takes through the suggestion of her doctor. Musolf also uses guided muscle relaxation techniques she has on her iPod.
“I think guided muscle relaxation helps because it takes my mind away from things,” Musolf said, “but I don’t think it would make me fall asleep without my medicine. My doctor also recommended that I could get up and get a glass of water, but I’m usually too lazy, although I do occasionally.”
Despite using both of these remedies, she still occasionally finds herself waking up in the night.
While the remedies helped her insomnia, Musolf recognizes she still has difficulty in dealing with the stress of daily life. Often, she finds her stress a potent factor which exacerbates her insomnia.
“I would sit there and stress about the fact that I couldn’t fall asleep and stress about school, which I think added to the fact I couldn’t fall asleep,” Musolf said. “Before finals last year, I was so stressed about the fact that I couldn’t fall asleep even at 2 in the morning, and then at 5, I decided to just get up and study.”
Before Musolf’s insomnia was recognized by a doctor, she experienced difficulty in staying asleep and began to notice a slow progression in her inability to fall and stay asleep. Initially, Musolf’s parents were not surprised, as her father also has insomnia.
“They thought it was just a matter of time till I had it too because I’m really similar to my dad,” Musolf said.
In experiencing insomnia both personally and secondhand through her father, Musolf realizes the long-term possibility of insomnia lingering in her life.
“My dad had it at the same age; he told me there would be a year or two when it was bad, and then one where it wasn’t,” Musolf said.
However, although she acknowledges insomnia is a part of her life, she is determined to one day overcome it.
“Eventually, I hope that I won’t always have to rely on medicine.”