To sleep.

I had an hour & half long visit with Dr. Sleep yesterday. She’s a great lady & I feel hopeful she can help me solve this problem.  If it comes to the worst case scenario, she studied at Duke, where apparently they have a world renowned sleep program & she can get me into it.

I’d have to go to NC for who knows how long but we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.

There’s a good sleep program ‘locally’ though so that’d be a last resort.

Why ‘locally’?

Well…as with everything other medical thing in my life, the good docs (or in many cases, like this one, the ONLY special docs) are over an hour away. (My regular doc is 25 minutes away to the south & is part of a group based around a specific hospital 35 minutes away from them, with specialist scattered around that city. If I went to a doc 20 minutes to the north, they would send me to specialists 35-45 minutes further north. We drove over 90 minutes in an ice storm when I went into labor with Mayhem)  Blocking out 3+ hours of my day 2x a week to attend cognitive behavioral therapy is bound to be challenging.

So the sleep program is Phase 2 now, at least 8 weeks away, probably longer since that would be July & there is no way I can manage it until the kids are back in school.

For now I have Phase 1, which is a full page of instructions (many of which I have tried in the past) and a sleep log.

9 years of insomnia has caused me to develop certain mental habits (like a refusal to get out of bed when I can’t sleep because then the insomnia wins) & many of the instructions are to help me recognize where I am self-sabotaging.

The getting out of bed thing is going to be hard. So’s the no chocolate & the exercising vigorously before bed (sounds counter to advice but recent studies on my particular form of long term insomnia indicate it can be beneficial).

No screen time an hour before bed (jury is out on the Kindle but the lack of backlight makes it ok for now).

But Nathan Fillion is on at 10pm Sun & Mon!!!!!

DH says that is what tivo is for.

It looks like I will have time to finish the Longest Cross Stitch Project Ever because she wants me to try non-mentally stimulating things during that hour, like cross stitch, crochet or word search puzzles (not crosswords, too stimulating, so’s sudoku).

I’ve got to cut out caffeine but my coffee is already 3/4 decaf now so that switch is not too bad & I’ve done it before. I drink Coke & Sprite more or less interchangeably so that’s not too bad either.

No alcohol. That’s challenging. I like my wine with dinner or my cider in the evening (often with some chocolate)

No more going back to bed after the boys leave for school & I’m supposed to get up at the same time every day.

Now I ask you, what is there to do at 6:45am on a Saturday? I don’t garden. Sure I can read blogs but then what do I do in the afternoon? One of the reasons I go back to bed 2x a week is because there is NO GOOD REASON TO BE AWAKE at 7:30am. Nothing is open at that hour to run errands. I can’t make or return phone calls. Once you start a load of laundry there is nothing to do until 45 minutes later when you rotate it & wait another 45. Why not go back to bed?

So I have the feeling that rule may get fudged on the weekends. I can suck it up and find something to do on Tues & Thurs probably but the weekends will be a problem.

These various things are not permanent, after 8 weeks we’ll see where we are & then I can experiment with adding stuff back & seeing what happens.

And I have to keep a chart of my sleeping habits.

I’ve tried most of this, except the getting out of bed thing, in the past. But not all at once, so I am curious how these next weeks will play out.

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7 comments to To sleep.

  • Lizziemade

    I sympathise… sorting out a long-term problem with your health – whatever kind it is – can be a real challenge. Mine is currently connected with residual issues from the back injury 2 1/2 years ago. Still working on exercises for the muscles that refuse to be strengthened and re-educating myself and my body out of bad habits…
    I've had a couple of spells off insomnia. It sucks. I hate it when I wake up in the middle of the night and some silly issue pops up into my thoughts… it will go round and round my head all night if I let it. I learned to break the cycle, by distracting myself (which is the point of the getting up, I suppose). I used to get up and read, drink a cup of something warm (and caffeine-free!). Once I was distracted, it was easier to go back to sleep. I now find that it's not such a problem when this happens and I can distract myself without getting out of bed. DH's ipod Touch is so useful – I can play Solitaire ad nauseam, which soon makes me drowsy; or I can read an i-book, something non-challenging like Little Women (!), which also makes me feel sleepy again. I've been known to drop off still holding the i-pod, which just turns itself off. Just now this is not such a big deal – I regularly wake at 4am and normally manage to be asleep again within an hour; it disturbs my sleep but doesn't totally wreck it. A few years back, it was much worse – but I was stressed and that was the cause of the problem.
    I would add to the "cut out the caffeine" list: cut out fizzy drinks – ie. soda – all kinds, even "no sugar"/"diet"/"caffeine-free"! The fizz disturbs your system; it prevents you absorbing the water in the drinks properly and interferes with your digestion. In short, fizzy drinks dehydrate you (strange but true!). Drink water – with squash/ diluted juice if you must. Plenty of water really does help! Also consider keeping a food diary alongside the sleep one – certain foods disturb my sleep!
    I know that won't solve your problem – but it's just a little issue that may be adding to the whole bigger issue. If you remove the small issues, one at a time, then it will help to solve the big problem (really, it will help!).
    Good luck; I hope you can solve the problems "locally", rather than having to go away from home. But now you are dealing with this, do what it takes to find a solution – you will benefit so much in the long-term.

  • Tracyg

    I have also had insomnia for years, although it tends to come in patches. So, it will be around for a couple of months then I will have a few weeks of good sleep and then insomnia back. I also find it difficult to stay in bed. I am often to be found having a cup of tea at 3am! Good luck with your programme.

  • SciFi Dad

    Sounds like an awful lot of work, but hopefully it will result in better night's sleep for you.

  • Rinda1961

    Oh my – good luck! Some ideas for what to do instead of going back to sleep:
    *do a yoga tape
    *art journal
    *come clean my house

  • Heather Aynne

    Praying that some of these ideas will help you!

  • Jennie Hart

    Good Luck, insomnia must be awful. I hope you succeed x

  • Julie Jeavons

    What to do at 7.30 while the washing machine's on? MMMmmmm, let's think? SCRAP!