Sunday, May 31, 2009

Waking Life

I have insomnia. It's the chronic type. I've had this sleep disorder for years... more than 5 years, maybe 10 years. It's hard to go to sleep, then I wake up a lot during the night and it's hard to go back to sleep. I can generally sleep in the morning between 5 and 8 AM, but unfortunately, that's when I get up every weekday - at 5 AM. I *might* get 4 hours of sleep a night (and that doesn't mean "in a row")

I don't think I have just one cause. For the past several years, a lot of it has been cat-related: 4 cats and some with serious health problems. Now we are down to 2 cats, but one of them is elderly with various health problems that seem to keep my brain awake most of the night. I can't blame this on the cats (not anymore). I'm a worrier. I'm working, even when I'm trying to sleep. Deadlines loom and I can't forget about them. Naps have been almost non-existent for the past 4-5 years. Dreams are not restful either, as I seem to spend them searching for someone (person or pet) who's lost until I am hopelessly lost too, and never get anywhere. Sometimes they are post-apocalyptic. Do you think I've seen too many movies?

Anyway, after recent major changes in the employment department, I've decided it's a good time to make major changes all the way around. I need to start taking care of my health. I need to try and get time off occasionally (OK... that's unlikely for another year or two), I need to stop worrying about everything, get some exercise, and accept circumstances. Try to relax and go with the flow. Relaxation has become an alien concept to me over the past few years. Must. Learn. To. Relax.

As for meds, I really don't want to resort to prescription sleep drugs (like I don't already worry too much now, I don't need to worry about those). I'm giving up my nightly dose of diphenhydramine (an anti-histamine and the primary ingredient in most OTC sleep remedies) for awhile. I've taken so much of it that it no longer makes me drowsy so that benefit is gone. I've been taking an OTC product called "Calms Forte," and it might be helping a little. It might be buying me an extra hour a night, but not much more.

I think I'll open a frosty, cold beer, and get out a cheesy novel. How's that for therapy?


Ann said...

I have the EXACT same problem with sleep at times - going through a spell right now. I also use Calms Forte and have found that it helps. Just a little bit, but better than nothing. SleepyTime Extra tea with valerian was helpful too, but the valerian doesn't agree with me so I had to stop using that.

Blueberry said...

Tea might be a good option. It's worth a try.

Silliyak said...

Something that has helped a little bit, sometimes, are snore strips. I'm sure you've tried Melatonin. I'm currently having similar sleep problems, but it comes and goes.
I have had dreams that I was laying awake thinking about falling asleep. Not very restful. I only realized it when something woke me up.
Good luck!
(the word verification is "trian")

Blueberry said...

I hadn't thought of using melatonin, It's looks interesting. I think I might give it a try too.