Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Light sleeper

Turns out, I am not altogether insane -- only a little. And I think if I am insane, it can be attributed to shitty sleep.

I just got this Fitbit device (whole other conversation for another time) that tells me how many times I wake up every night, and so far it's looking like I wake up EVERY HOUR, and often TWICE AN HOUR. I mean, it FELT that way, but you know sometimes you get up in the morning and you feel like crap and the entire night of non-sleep feels like some kind of blurry nightmare you maybe imagined?

It was real.

Also: I believe I have just solved the mystery of my chronic fatigue. I haven't been diagnosed with chronic fatigue; I'm just chronically fatigued.

Also: Let's bring back separate beds for husbands and wives! That was kind of cute and kitschy and everyone slept great, right? Heh.

And: I am going to buy blackout curtains. Eventually. I don't think it will help much, but it can't hurt. Also, a new pillow.

Do help me. I've started exercising. I don't watch TV in bed. I've quit coffee (and bread. A whole other sad story for yet another time). I wear earplugs every night. What's a girl gotta do?

23 comments:

  1. When you find the cure, let me know! :) I have a comfy pillow and a dark room, and I still can't stay asleep. Earplugs may be next, but they creep me out so I don't like to use them. I exercised on Thursday and Friday and slept much better. I also exercised yesterday and slept like crap. Sigh.

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    1. I've been exercising and it hasn't helped at all. For earplugs I use the silicone ones because the other kind end up hurting after a while. It might be worth a shot ...

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  2. When do you exercise? I find I have a hard time sleeping well when I exercise late in the day. Has to be morning. Also: Melatonin is amazing. Helps me get to sleep, stay asleep, and not feel groggy in the mornings like tylenol PMs or something.

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    1. I usually exercise mid-morning and then late afternoon. And by "exercise" I mean I'm just walking 5 miles a day, so nothing super strenuous. I may need to consider melatonin.

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  3. Well, the question is - are you having depression or anxiety?

    I know I slept like crap for years before going on anti-depressants. Now most nights I sleep like a baby. It does after all regulate seratonin and all that fun stuff.
    But if there's no depression or anxiety, then I second the melatonin suggestion!

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    1. Well ... maybe? I've never been diagnosed. That's a whole other ball of wax I guess I'll have to stop ignoring at some point.

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  4. Some people are just shitty sleepers. I'm one of them. I have to take two medications to get a decent sleep. I remember being an insomniac when I was in kindergarten. Have you tried melatonin (oh, I see in the above comments it's been mentioned)? Valerian root? Those are common non-medication sleep aids. Black-out curtains are a very good idea. I have thick dark curtains that keep my room nice and dark and I like them a lot. I also have good sleep hygiene - I had it pounded into me since I was a teenager. Sometimes it goes way beyond that, though.

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    1. I've never tried either of those, but I may. By sleep hygiene do you mean like preparing for bed? Washing your face and stuff? I have a routine I never miss, because then I REALLY wouldn't be able to sleep. One of the few things I'm anal about.

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    2. LOL - no sleep hygiene isn't about washing your face or anything. It's about having a set bed time and having a set get up time, not doing anything in bed not related to sleep (or sex), like watching TV, eating, etc.

      Here is a link with a good list: http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/howto.html

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    3. Ooooohhhh! Yeah I'm terrible about setting bed-times and wake-up times. I imagine that is working against me. My day-time schedule changes throughout the week, so my sleeping schedule changes with it ... But I'm thinking maybe I need to force myself to get up early on the days I don't have to, and set a bed-time. Can't hurt to try, I guess.

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  5. I love the Melatonin. It is all natural, I take it an hour before I plan on going to bed, and I sleep great. Now.

    Before the Melatonin, I slept like shit almost every night. I even had prescription sleeping pills, and the Melatonin is so much better. You just wake up in the morning, and you are awake, not fighting with a sleep hangover, which is how I felt on the prescription sleeping pills.

    Try them.

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    1. I think I'm convinced. It sounds like literally everyone takes melatonin!

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  6. i wear ear plugs and wear a sleep mask in the morning when im waken by the light-which i guess isnt great but id feel weird wearing it to bed. and i used to take melatonin. but the best nights sleep? when jon is having coughing fits so i sleep in the guest room :)

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  7. oh and the hardest part of the sleep routine thing is all the research that says not to look at screens (tv, computer, cell phone) 30 min before bed and the stat was that something like 95% of people do! right up until they go to bed actually.

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    1. yikes, yeah that is something maybe I should work on. I usually read in bed before I turn out the light, too, and I wonder if that's working against me.

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  8. As a lifelong insomniac, I have to express my displeasure with the term "sleep hygiene". I know it is correct, but it makes me feel like a filthy person. I have trouble falling asleep, but I don't wake up a lot like you do. I've been to clinics, slept with EEG crap stuck to my head, etc. so I've tried a lot of stuff. I know people swear by melatonin, but bear in mind that "natural" stuff has downsides as well (in the case of melatonin, it promotes tumor growth, but I think you have to have a tumor to begin with). Lunesta has worked well for me, and I know Ambien CR is specifically formulated for people like you who wake up a lot. Downsides to prescription drugs too, of course. You might consider a night in a sleep clinic just to see if there's something they can do for you that is specific to you. You don't think you have RLS, do you?

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    1. Yeah, ideally I wouldn't have to ingest anything in order to get a good night's sleep. I don't think it's RLS. I sometimes am uncomfortable, but not interminably so. I'm thinking about going to a sleep clinic, though ...

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  9. Do you find yourself startling awake or is it more that you can't get to sleep?

    You might want to go to a sleep center and have them check you out. I used to sleep like a rock until I had kids. After them, I slept like crap. Turns out, I developed sleep apnea because I never made it to deep (REM) sleep. I was constantly listening for the kids and my brain couldn't shut off. The lack of REM results in you being completely fatigued all the time AND throws off your biorhythms and lots of other not-so-fun consequences.

    It's also hereditary (my dad has it). I learned a lot about it when dealing with Sean's nose/breathing problems when he was a baby and made Jason go in for a sleep study too. (He has it bad, mine's very mild.)

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    1. I'm not startling awake so I don't think it's apnea, but I could certainly be wrong. Usually when I'm waking up it's because there was a microscopic movement of the bed, or a pin dropped somewhere 30 miles away, or my leg hurts. I don't snore, either. This is all really making me wonder what the underlying issue is, though! I think I'm going to have to do some real legwork to get it figured out.

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    2. It sounds like you're not reaching REM sleep if you're being woken up by small things like that. Almost like your brain can't turn off.

      A sleep study wouldn't hurt, and the doctors could have some ideas for why you're so fatigued. Just ask your doctor to refer you.

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  10. I sleep horribly, and I am so glad you mentioned this device. I must try it. Thanks.

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  11. The best thing that I have been too lazy to do is to take a class at Kaiser. My doctor explained to me that sleeping is a skill that can be learned, and most of us assume we should just be an expert without training.

    Many times when I am restless, I have noticed that I am tensing some muscles. My tensing can be anything, sometimes my jaw, my fist or even my calf. So as I lay there, I try and identify if this is happening, when I figure one out a lot of time I'll find another, and another, and through this I have learned how to relax my body. Doesn't always work though. Sometimes I have to get up and do something for 15-30min, and kind of reset my "to bed" activity for the night.

    A common theme that people have success with is setting a bed time and wake time, then STICKING to it.

    Restlessness is very common obviously (as displayed above) and everyone is unique with what works. According to my doctor though, the class can be very helpful, and is supposedly one of the best ways to develop healthy long term sleep habits.

    Good luck.

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  12. Erin, if your leg hurts...get checked out! There are homeopathic things to take for RLS, and they have them at WF if you don't want to see a homeopath. Also, the same bedtime/same wake-up time really works. Trains the bod, but may take a few weeks. Also, if your hubs is waking you up (teeny tiny movements) consider robbing a bank--I mean saving your pennies!--and getting a Tempur-Pedic mattress, which controls motion really well. Aaand, here's one more vote for melatonin. I've tried several brands, and found the cheapo Safeway 3 mg. brand to work best for me. And my teenager, who is also a lousy sleeper. There are even no-water type melatonin tabs that dissolve on your tongue for middle-of-the-night waking. No caffeine drinking, obviously--all day, as even a little in the morning is enough to disrupt some people's sleep cycles. Also--alcohol. Alcohol is the worst sleep-disruptor there is. If you have a drink anytime in the evening, you could be messing up your sleep. So drink only with breakfast.

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