Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Sleep Mystery Theater: a continuing saga of sorts

My kitty, Wills
Sleep.  That ever elusive slumber that we all crave.  Researchers and sleep specialists don't really know why we need it, but anyone that hasn't experienced restorative sleep for a period of time can tell you that we definitely do.  The people around us can define why we need sleep, because we are spacey and cranky like a big old bear coming out of hibernation.  My cat is laying on my lap right now in the deepest slumber with paws and whiskers twitching as he acts out a scenario in a kitty dream.  This cat can sleep through just about anything, and if I move he protests loudly about the rude interruption.  But in 2 seconds he is slumbering away again.  I really envy that cat and I watch him sleep in an effort to grasp the secret to his success.

The truth is sleep is quite a complex interaction of circadian rhythm, the right balance of neurotransmitters, the correct brain waves and ritual.  I have read so many articles about how to get a good night's sleep.  The suggestions are always the same and may work for people that don't have a serious problem with insomnia.  But for those of us with a serious sleep issue these pathetic suggestions result in foul language and the heat of anger.  It is obvious the author has no understanding and they would do well to keep their suggestions to themselves.  When I read their suggestions I turn into a ranting, raving lunatic and it happens in an instant -- a clear sign that I'm a woman on the edge.

Early in my blog I wrote about my experience with a sleep specialist and the sleep study that was done.  The outcome was an exercise in futility and wondering if the doctor had actually graduated from medical school.  Maybe he was at the bottom of his class.  At this point that experience is ancient history even though I remember it as if it were yesterday.  Not that I remember yesterday at all.  Well, here I go again.  I saw a sleep specialist on Saturday.  The doctor has ordered diagnostics to rule out pulmonary and thyroid issues and then the sleep study will ensue once again.  I hate that part.  I'm sure I'll have to sleep on those painful electrodes pasted on my head again and then the next morning get my hair pulled out by the roots.  Not a thing to look forward to.  I wonder some times if all the unpleasantness is an effort to get me to shut up and quit complaining.  But no, not me.  I'll be vocal to the bitter end come thick or thin.  I received instructions to withhold alcohol for 6 hours before bedtime to help with my sleep.  For me that was actually good news . . . I'll just drink my wine earlier in the evening.  The new 5 pm is now 4 pm.  I also started taking melatonin 1/2 hour before I go to bed.  I got the liquid for quicker absorption.  Liquids are better when you have a gut that doesn't work well.  Since I just started melatonin I'm not sure if it will work or not.  I am again trying to reset my circadian rhythm so I can go to bed earlier and get up earlier.  That would be wonderful!  The doctor was convinced that he absolutely can help me so his confidence made me hopeful that there actually is a solution.  I don't want to get my hopes up too high, because I have been there before, but I don't want a self-fullfilling prophecy either.  Now that's a delicate balance.

Since sleep is such an important issue with fibromyalgia I feel compelled to share my experience in the hope it will benefit you and others that read my blog.  So tune in again in the near future for
sleep mystery theater.  I hope I find answers for my sake and yours too.  Blessings!
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