Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Saga Of Sleep: Part I

Michelle Shocked once sang 'sleep keeps me awake all night'. For me, that's almost true, but not quite.

See, I've had a little demon on my back for many years now, and it has been the demon of sleep. A demon that is so easy to accept, even though it's a situation that's not the greatest. So easy to just say I'm a light sleeper and be done with it. But there's more to it than that. I wake easily, find it hard to fall asleep, and my sleep is heavily affected by my environment: bed, climate, noise, movement, you name it.

But the last few months it has been particularly bad.

I've had nights and weeks where I seem to be doing everything right, keeping a good sleep pattern, staying away from caffeine, exercising, and even creating an environment where I have minimal distractions while sleeping. Thing is, even with all of this, I've had many mornings where I wake up feeling like I'm hungover, without the fun of having got there in the first place.

Doctors are people I generally avoid, but I finally decided to tackle this sleep problem once and for all a few weeks ago. I went to my local doctor, told him the situation, and had him refer me to a sleep specialist. Did some talking with this next guy and he booked me in for a sleep study, an overnight stay at a sleep clinic where they hook you up in all manner of ways and monitor your activity throughout the night. Tomorrow I'm visiting Mr. Sleep Doc again. He'll tell me what the data from the overnight stay means.

I'm betting on one of two things: I have sleep apnea, or it's all psychological. In a strange way, I hope it's the former.

But you'll have to wait to read all about it. Next part will be about my overnight stay, complete with Borg-like photos of myself.

And yes, I'm that much of a geek.

(Part II and III).


Linda L. Richards said...

I can relate to so much of this. I'm a (ahem) troubled sleeper. It used to bother me. Not is does not. I used to call it insomnia. Now I call it working funny hours. I think I've accepted that most people need more sleep than I do. And I? I need so much less.

So what's less? Going a couple of days without sleeping is not out of the question for me. And a few solid weeks of six hours a night is a lot. Probably, on average, I get four hours of sleep per night and that seems to work for me. Is it perhaps that they're just all wrong and we need less sleep than advertised?

Daniel Hatadi said...

I've read that people do have different sleep needs, from four to ten hours a night. The idea of an average has never made sense to me.

Nine hours works best for me.

angie said...

Nine hours?! Damn.

Good luck with the sleep expeditions - may you find some relief fast!

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Wow. Nine hours? Any more than 6 and I feel horrible the rest of the day.

Good luck on the study. Hope they figure it out soon.

rand(om) bites said...

Loved that hotel!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Daniel-I have had insomnia since I was seven. I can't get to sleep and as I've gotten older, can't stay asleep either. I am lucky to get four or five hours and often much less. I am taking a mild sedative now to go to sleep but the doctor won't prescribe sleeping pills at all. And that sedative wears off at 4 every day.
I have been tired all my life except for a good period in my twenties.
My sister-in-law sleeps eleven hours a night!
Hope you find your answer.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Nine hours seems to work best, but I usually get more like six or seven unproductive hours.

Patti, that's how it has felt for me for the last few years. When I was a teen I slept like a rock, and sleep was something I looked forward to. Now I dread it, each and every night.

It seems that unless the problem is a clearly serious one, that it is very hard to find an easy or clear solution.