Insomnia update

Had a visit with Dr Sleep recently. She is very pleased with my progress & so am I.

No lie, I have slept more in the past 8 weeks than I have in the past 8 years.

It has been glorious!

I feel like my brain is emerging from a long foggy journey.

I can remember what I had for dinner last night!

Leftover pad see ew while everyone else has spaghetti (there was not enough spaghetti for 4 & the pad see ew was mine anyway)

Not only that I can remember what I had for dinner Tuesday night!

Homemade pizza! No…wait.. that was Monday. Wednesday was take out Thai, so Tuesday must have been…um…I know  I cooked something. Didn’t I? I was going to make braised chicken & carrots but didn’t because…something…so I made…something.

Ok, so I CAN’T remember what I ate Tuesday. But remembering 3 nights out of 4 is still an improvement over 3 months ago when I stood in the grocery store wondering what I was going to make for dinner while holding in my hand the box of taco shells I came in to buy so we could have tacos for dinner.

Dr Sleep says I have made such great progress because I stuck with the program.

You remember the program right? 

  • Give up alcohol
  • Give up chocolate
  • Give up caffeine
  • Give up ALL screen time after 10pm
  • Exercise vigorously for 20 minutes prior to sleep
  • Get out of bed if can’t sleep after 20 minutes
  • No going back to bed in the morning
  • Get up at the same time every morning

Give up alcohol – this never happened. I cut back on the night drinks. I often have wine or cider with dinner at home & sometimes around 8 or 9 I’d have another drink as well.  So I made it either or. Alcohol can help you fall asleep but it actually disturbs your REM sleep & you do not get decent sleep when there is too much in your system. Personally, at my regular level of intake I never really noticed a difference, but one night out with the girls when I had several drinks I did notice it & now know what the trade off is.

Give up chocolate – the never happened either. I did cut back though. After 6pm I consciously choose the non-chocolate options for sweets most of the time, unless DH & I are out & sharing a dessert.  Again, this is something that at my level of intake I don’t really notice the change.

Give up caffeine – done, and easily. I gave up caffeine on Apr 29th & apart from a gulp of DH’s Coke a month or so ago, I haven’t drank any (see chocolate). This has been challenging when we eat out if it is a Pepsi place. I hate Sierra Mist (I’m a sprite person) & iced tea; the lemonade option is always the Light version & I have yet to find a fake sweetener that does not give me a headache. So I end up with water, which does not fill me with joy. I drink water all day long. I want something flavored & sweet for my meal.

Give up ALL screen time after 10p – done and easily

Exercise vigorously prior to sleep – tried it for two weeks. It just does not work for me. I go to the gym in the morning 4x a week. I’m not working out at night.

Get out of bed if you can’t sleep – I HATE this one. HATE it. For some reason getting out of bed when I cannot sleep makes my muscles ache. I can’t sit & read because of it. So I slack a bit on this one. But really, it is helpful when I do it.

No going back to bed – oh I so want to go back to bed some mornings. Even now that I am getting 6 hours of sleep a night.

Get up at the same time every single day – this has made the most change for me I think.I fall asleep faster & easier & sleep longer when I do this. But I don’t like it. There is no reason on god’s earth for me to be up at 6:45am on a Saturday, but there is M-F when school is in session. Your body can’t cope with more than 15-30 minute changes in your sleep habits. So at best I get to sleep in until 7:15 on weekends. This makes me cranky because I don’t like getting up that early.

In what universe is getting up at 7:15am considered SLEEPING IN???

But it is working. Except for 2 of the 3 nights DH was out of town last week, I have slept 5-6 solid hours every night in August. Compared to 3-5 hours of highly broken sleep since 2002

I slept 3 out of 4 nights in a hotel in Wheeling in July. Compared to sleeping 0 out of 4 nights since 2002

I still have some mental blocks when I feel I can’t fall asleep but I am now aware of my self sabotaging behavior & can change it.

So far it seems the cognitive behavioral therapy will not be needed. And no sleep studies!

Seriously, if you have insomnia,especially if you are taking meds to sleep, get thee to a sleep therapist! Now! Mine was a referral from my primary care doc. I am so pleased with how things are going with my doc that I feel positively evangelical on the subject & have to restrain myself from making long involved comments on others’ posts when they mention their insomnia is acting up.

This sleeping thing kicks ass. Wish I could have tried it sooner.

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4 comments to Insomnia update

  • Congratulations! This is fabulous news.
    Rinda

  • So pleased for you….not being able to sleep is the pits of the earth!
    Alison xx

  • I am so happy for you. 3-5 hours since 2002 you poor gal. I have had my share of bouts with insomnia and can commiserate. It is such a downward spiral. Not enough sleep and I can’t concentrate at work which leads to more stress. More stress and I eat junk food and am too tired and stressed to exercise. Like I said downward spiral. I quit drinking caffeine when I had bronchitis a few weeks ago and must say I have been feeling and sleeping better. I miss it though.

    Over the years what I’ve learned works best is to have a routine. I workout after work, eat a light dinner, check my emails and google reader, then wind down by reading for an hour before going to bed. Most importantly absolutely no phone calls or blog posting after 8:00 p.m. For some reason talking on the phone and writing blog posts gets me all worked up.

    Stopping in from LBS.

  • Awesome, insomnia is really a quality of life hitter!