Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Sleep Saga

You know the little old women at church . . the ones who, when you ask, "How are you?" go on to tell you all their aches and pains and trials in life? And you're stuck trying to look sympathetic and interested when you were just trying to be polite? Well, I'm going to do a sweet-little-Miss-Dora act for those of you who check this blog occasionally just as a polite how-are-you gesture. Just skim and move on, if you want.

Here's how I am: I'm tired.

Some of you need the background info on this. I've had sleep issues all my life, it seems. Even as a kid, I remember taking an hour or two to fall asleep and often waking up in the middle of the night. Finally, this past year, someone recommended a sleep specialist to me. So, I did the overnight test -- a fascinating experience in itself. I had to take an Ambien to get to sleep, but I slept all night . . or so I thought. The doctor told me later that I woke up 25-30 times an hour. I wasn't even aware of it. You're supposed to have 20-25% of your sleep time in stage 3 or 4 sleep; I had 8% in stage 3 and never made it to stage four. No wonder I'm always tired!

The culprit? Apparently my legs twitch -- not big twitches, but frequent twitches. And the doctor thought this was what was waking me up. So he prescribed a muscle relaxant to stop my twitching legs, and I seemed to be sleeping better right after the move.

Not anymore. Even with my new medication, I take maybe an hour to go to sleep and seem to wake up an hour or two before I need to. And I wake up frequently during the night. In fact, this past weekend in Kansas, I forgot to take the meds, but I had some Benadryl in my bag -- which is what I used to take to get to sleep. The Benadryl did nothing. I lay awake in bed most of the night. So, apparently, I've either built up a tolerance to all these medications to where they don't work on me anymore, or the sleep problem itself, whatever it is, has gotten worse. Grrrrrr.

So, I'm tired and cranky and irritable and emotional and not concentrating well. And now I'm looking back on all the depressive episodes I've had in my life. It's a chicken and egg question. Do I not sleep well because I'm depressed . . . or do I feel depressed because I'm sleep-deprived?

And my other concern: the girls seem to have similar problems. The older they get, the longer they take getting to sleep and the more they say they wake up during the night.

So, I've got to get this figured out. I need to find another sleep specialist here in Sioux City, because one simply can't function without sleep. In the meantime, you can pray for my poor family as they put up with the drowsy-eyed, spaced-out grouch wandering around their house.

1 comment:

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