Ashleigh Crisafi

Lived Experience member

Ashleigh Crisafi lives in Victoria and has insomnia and parasomnia.

I have insomnia and parasomnia. After years of struggling with constant exhaustion and never knowing when I'd get a good night's sleep, I was finally referred to the Monash BASE Sleep Specialist and a sleep psychologist at Monash Hospital in 2016. I was 21 then, and it was a turning point for me.

I knew that my sleepwalking and talking, night terrors, and nightmares were occurring more than what was considered "normal." I was happy that I was being heard and that my exhaustion was taken seriously. It wasn't simply written off as having a bad night. My mental health stemming from these disturbances was finally being taken seriously, as the impact it had on me was severe.

I've undergone many tests, including multiple sleep studies, MRIs, and epilepsy tests, and there is seemingly no physiological reason as to why this occurs, but it does. The constant exhaustion and frustration of not getting the restorative sleep I need is a daily struggle. The mental health challenges that come with insomnia and parasomnia are also significant. Additionally, I've faced issues with my weight due to my sleep problems and the medication I take to manage them.

I still suffer from these conditions, and they are a part of my everyday (or every night) life. Despite these ongoing challenges, I continue to manage my condition with medication and therapy, which has significantly improved my quality of life.

I joined the Sleep Health Foundation to help raise awareness about sleep disorders, give hope to people that there is help available, and reduce the stigmatization of these conditions. I want to encourage people to speak up about the sleep issues they are experiencing and raise awareness of how much sleep can affect different areas of life.

Hear more about Ashleigh's story