Sound Proofing My Room

I live in Atlanta- it is loud as fuck at 2am. I am right next to the highway and a train station. I hear cars, train horns, sirens, people yelling, and yes, sometimes the occasional gunshots. It’s fine. However, when you take all of that and add a roommate who comes in at 12am with her friend, the noise is no longer just coming from the outside.

This is how I began soundproofing my room so that I could get a better night’s sleep:

  • I added weatherstripping to my door because there were very large gaps between the bottom of the door and the floor, as well as on the sides.
  • I hung up 2 tapestries and am in the middle of figuring out how to hang a heavy 4×6 carpet on the wall that is opposite to the living room/TV.
  • I have carpets on my floor for sound insulation from music or talking on the inside of my room.
  • I bought blackout/sound blocking curtains to lessen the noise I hear from the outside world and to block the porch light that comes on every time my roommate’s friend visits at 12am.
  • In addition to all of this, I also wear earplugs AND use a white noise machine that I can hear through my earplugs.

I wanted to buy foam boards to put on my wall, but it’s quite expensive, so I’m working with what I’ve got. We’ll see if this does anything. Last night was actually the first night that I didn’t wake up more than 3-4 times. I’m hoping that hanging that carpet will do the final trick.

Roommate Troubles

So I got in a little tussle with my roommate and her friend last night. Or, this morning, rather. I don’t normally post things on any social media concerning people I live with because if they were to find those posts, it could be awkward, but in this case, I think it’s fine.

The story goes like this: When I first moved into my house, I slept fine. Yes, Atlanta is loud and people love drag racing at 3am, but my earplugs covered that for the most part. However, the longer I stayed in the house, the more often my roommate would bring her friend over at late hours, predominantly after work.

My roommate works the late shift, so she doesn’t get off of work until 10pm-2am, it depends on the night. I would think that after working a shift like that the only thing you want is your bed, but this is not the case for her. More nights than not, her friend comes over at this time too and they talk, sometimes watch movies, and eat/smoke together.

Over the course of the past 2 months, I have physically come out of my room about 5 times to tell them to please turn it down or crack a window. A few nights ago, at 2:30am, she and her friend were being loud in the living room. “Loud” at 2:30am is not “loud” at 3 in the afternoon, I recognize that, but my room is right next to basically everything in the house, so everything sounds “loud” at 2:30am. Also, that same night, as her friend made her entrance to our house, she slammed the door. That’s just inconsiderate and not being mindful of the other people [who have day jobs] sleeping in the house.

So, I didn’t say anything that night, but I did say something last night. They weren’t being that loud, but loud enough that I could hear them through my earplugs, so I had to say something. It was also almost 1am, so past the time people should be “hanging out” in my opinion.

I came outside and requested they be more quiet and more mindful of the other people sleeping in the house. Her friend, who doesn’t pay rent here, gets a little defensive and says, “What, so you want us to whisper?”

Internally, I got a little mad because she doesn’t pay rent or live in this house, so it doesn’t matter what I do or don’t want her to do. I told her, “No, you don’t have to whisper, but you do have to be more mindful and considerate of the other people in this house. For example, when you came over last Thursday at 2:30am, you slammed the front door.” She didn’t have anything to say to that and so I said goodnight to them both and went back to sleep.

There is definitely some tension in my house now, but I don’t think they understand what insomnia is or what not being able to ever sleep through the night feels like. The placement of my bedroom is also dumb because my walls are the opposite sides of the living room, kitchen, hallway, and bathroom. I. Hear. Everything.

Insomniac or nah?

I started having issues sleeping right around the same time my anxiety and panic attacks revealed themselves (about 10-12 years ago).

With that being said, bad sleep/insomnia also runs on my mom’s side of the family. My mother does not sleep well and neither does her mother.

For me, the issue doesn’t seem to be falling asleep. In fact, that happens quite quickly sometimes. However, I wake up multiple times throughout the night. This leaves me feeling frustrated and exhausted when I have to get up for work.

I actually function quite well and don’t feel much of a drain throughout the day, but it’s annoying not sleeping completely through the night.

What have I done to combat my sleeping issues? Let me list them for you.

  • Weighted blanket- I don’t actually know if this makes a huge difference, but I love it. I love the weight and warmth. It was one of my best purchases.
  • Melatonin
  • Baldriparan
  • Cooler room temp- This has helped the most.
  • Noise machine set on white noise- I would like to note that I wear earplugs at night AND I still have the noise machine on because I can hear it through my plugs and still reap some of the benefits (it drowns out the other sounds in my house like my roommate getting off of work at 2am)
  • Ear plugs- Happy Ears. Buy Them. Now. They Are Amazing.– I spent years going through a multitude of earplugs ranging from foam to wax to this silicone version and I’ve made my choice.
  • I find that taking a hot shower (just body, no hair washing) right before I go to sleep is nice.
  • I stop drinking liquids at 7pm so I only get up once to use the bathroom during the night.
  • I sleep in complete darkness.
  • I have made my bedtime 9pm every single night whether it’s a weekday or weekend.

I’ve never actually been diagnosed with insomnia, but I’ve also never asked my doctor about it because it seemed normal to me. I will probably ask my doctor about further options the next time I visit just to get that professional opinion, but I don’t see much changing.

My Anxiety

My anxiety always feels like I can’t take in a full breath. It always feels like yawning and then not hitting the “top” of your yawn. It’s a heavy weight on the top of my chest. It’s shallow breaths. It’s a fear of not being able to breathe and not having anyone there to help.

Once on the brink of a panic attack, my legs and arms get tingly/partially numb. Everything around me begins to sound like white noise.

From there, it goes one of two ways: either I sit down somewhere and ride it out or I start trying to implement my coping skills and hope it goes away.

I have a few coping skills/tools and some of them are silly, but when you feel like you can’t breathe, there’s not much you won’t do to relieve it.

  • sitting down/squatting in an almost fetal position seemed to calm me
  • applying makeup, specifically eye liner or mascara that would require more concentration
  • eating food
  • brushing my teeth
  • shaking my hands and arms to get feeling back into them
  • podcasts for distraction
  • calling someone on the phone
  • writing in my journal

I also have collected prevention tools over the years and I don’t use them all, but I’m sure it would help.

  • When I first went into therapy I was told to use something called the Alpha Stim SCS.
  • Since the end of May of this year, I’ve also been trying CBD oil. Honestly, I haven’t felt much of a difference, but I also haven’t been taking it regularly for the past 3 weeks.
  • I’ve been drinking more water and eating more healthy foods.
  • Sometimes I take lavender pills.
  • I try my very best to get good sleep and enough of it, but that has been a lifelong challenge that I can expand on in another post.
  • I do not consume a lot of alcohol, and when I do, I limit myself to a single glass of wine or beer.
  • I stay away from caffeine.
  • I’ve been trying to move more through stretching, just getting up more at work, and actual exercise, but I’m lazy and sometimes I can’t be bothered even though I know it would probably help immensely.
  • I continue to push myself to do things that make me a little uncomfortable because you have to conquer the things you fear to overcome that emotion.

My anxiety has never kept me from going on adventures or living my life, but it has limited how far I would travel for those adventures and it gets annoying when all you want to do is enjoy yourself, but these “what if” questions won’t stop buzzing.

It’s a struggle, yes, but yesterday’s therapy session felt promising. Read more about it here.