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Woman Who Developed Insomnia After Her Daughter Was Born Says She Hasn't Slept For 32 Years

Woman Who Developed Insomnia After Her Daughter Was Born Says She Hasn't Slept For 32 Years

All new parents can expect to take a temporary hit on having a full night's sleep when their bundle of joy arrives.

Yet, Michele Townsend hasn't managed more than a couple of hours of kip at a time three decades after her daughter was born - and sometimes survives on as little as four hours' sleep a week.

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Michele Townsend hasn't managed more than a couple of hours of kip. (Credit: Caters)
Michele Townsend hasn't managed more than a couple of hours of kip. (Credit: Caters)

Despite her children now being grown up, the 58-year-old said she had difficulty sleeping following the birth of her youngest daughter in 1986 and that she brushed it off as part of being a young mum.

But the mum-of-two and grandmother-of-four says her sleeplessness has persisted since it properly developed in 1987.

Despite trying dozens of treatments, Michele, who hails from Paignton, Devon, said the condition has ruined her life.

Michele with her daughter Ami, 33. (Credit: Caters)
Michele with her daughter Ami, 33. (Credit: Caters)
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She shared: "You see your bedroom as the enemy, you just wade through life very slowly, you can't do anything, you're trying to be normal but it's just such an effort.

"It's a bit like having a half-life. I feel like I'm existing rather living. I try and do the best I can do though."

Adding: "It's ruined my life in lots of ways, but I've tried to not let it win. All my family know how much of a problem it is but just don't ask me about it."

Michele said her insomnia first developed in 1987 and that on average she's lucky if she's gets four hours sleep a week.

Michele said her insomnia first developed in 1987. Pictured with Ami as a baby. (Credit: Caters)
Michele said her insomnia first developed in 1987. Pictured with Ami as a baby. (Credit: Caters)

Despite being exhausted from having spent nights up with her daughter Ami, 33, Michele said she was unable to sleep at all.

She said: "It started when my daughter was born, she cried a lot, but I just couldn't sleep at all.

"I'd go to bed absolutely shattered and just couldn't sleep. Sometimes I'd go a whole week without more than a few minutes' sleep. These days it comes and goes in waves. When it gets bad it can last for ages.

"I'd say on average one night a week I won't get any sleep at all. The following night I might get half-an-hour and then if I'm lucky other nights I might get an hour or so. Sometimes though I'll go a few days without any sleep at all."

Michele has tried hypnosis, sleeping tablets and even yoga to combat her sleeplessness. (Credit: Caters)
Michele has tried hypnosis, sleeping tablets and even yoga to combat her sleeplessness. (Credit: Caters)

Michele has tried hypnosis, sleeping tablets and even yoga to combat her sleeplessness - but to no avail.

Over the years Michele said she's struggled to hold down jobs because of her condition and added that it's also affected her memory.

Michele added that the condition has become so bad that she has to sleep in a separate room to her husband.

The proud grandmother added that despite taking a massive toll on her and her family, doctors have been unable to successfully treat her insomnia.

She said: "It's exhausting, my family can see in my face whether I've slept or not... Nothing has worked, I'm at my wits' end."

Featured Image Credit: Caters

Topics: Real, Sleep, Health

Lisa McLoughlin

Lisa is a freelance journalist working for Tyla and the team's token Dubliner. After graduating with a MA in PR and Digital Marketing from D.I.T., she worked for MailOnline, Sun Online, Irish Independent and broadcaster RTÉ. Got a story of interest or want advice on how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness? Then email her at [email protected]

 

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