The Wonder of Sleep

Hello. Did you wonder where I was?

As usual, when I blog, I have a thing going on. The thing is “trying to undo years of chronic insomnia.” It’s now 4:05AM. It made me wince to type that.

Maybe another post if I feel like it I will get into the long and sordid history of my insomnia but all that really needs to be said for the purpose of this post is that I have been taking Trazodone, a mild prescription sedative, to help me sleep for probably 20 years. The only times I was off it was when I was pregnant, at which times I was advised to “try Benadryl” for “occasional sleeplessness” and during which times I basically slept whenever and wherever I was able, and thank God I wasn’t working a regular office job because it was often during the day.

I have two different types of insomnia. First, it is very hard for me to fall asleep. It can take me anywhere between half an hour and two hours after I lie down in bed before I drift off. And two, I am a light sleeper and if I am awoken during the night I cannot fall back asleep.

I am an excellent napper so all this might be okay if I could sleep, say, 1am – 3am, 5am – 9am, and then 3pm – 5pm. And if I was a hermit living off the land and off the grid I probably could, but that is not the way life goes.

I am now seeing a CBT-I for my insomnia. That is a psychologist specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia. One interesting thing to note is that my typing is just terrible at 4:12am and for some reason autocorrect does not seem to be enabled in WordPress, so it’s taking me a very long time to type this. I said it was interesting, not related.

I’m currently on a “sleep prescription.” Here are the rules:

-I am to sleep only 12am – 7:15am.

-(I cannot figure out how to bullet this list gd it.)

-I cannot at any time during the day lie down in bed.

-I cannot nap.

-If I lie awake in bed for more than 10 – 15 minutes, I am to get up and do something (hence the writing).

-No Trazodone.

-I have to keep a chart that is a record of my sleep.

I think that’s it.

It sounds fairly simple and the first two nights, in spite of Julian snoring and dogs barking it wasn’t too bad. I averaged about 6 hours of sleep and felt okay.

The thing about sleep loss is that it’s cumulative. (I say this as though it were a fact but actually I have no idea. I’m just basing it on my experience.) The third night (yesterday night) Julian snored and apnea-ed so much that I was awake basically every half hour between 12am and 2:30am, when I finally sent him upstairs to the guest room. Then I slept fine until 6 when a VERY enthusiastic bird woke me up. (“TWEET. TWEET. TWEET.”) I was DESTROYED yesterday. Like irritable, nauseated, panicky, unfocused, just a real mess. I decided to remedy this by going to bed at 10:30 last night. Is that my sleep prescription? Ladies and gentlemen, it is not. Did I sleep between 10:30 and 12? “Fitfully” would be the word I would use. The dogs barked at 12am and I let them out and went back to bed. I continued to thrash about and sleep on and off until 3-something at which point a thunderstorm started and then the dogs started barking at that. I got up and played on my iPad a bit and now I’m typing this which has suddenly gotten VERY boring so maybe I am getting tired? 4:23am.

Last two things I wanted to say that seemed important when I thought them.

One, it’s weird to get up and do something in the middle of the night and feel as though you have “permission” to do so. Typically when I am tossing and turning I am also chastising myself for being awake and wondering what is wrong with me. If I look at my iPad or phone or get up I am being “bad” and should be trying to sleep. This is a unique and somewhat freeing feeling which I think I would enjoy more if it weren’t for the sleep deprivation induced-nausea.

I can’t remember what the second thing was. But I am supposed to be up in less than 3 hours and coaching Con’s baseball team at 11.

4:29am.