How I Finally Got To Sleep … sort of
Edit 4/24/19: so apparently I jinxed myself with this post as I have not slept well since.
I’m literally half asleep as I type this out.
Several years ago when I still cared about Facebook, I had posted about taking a nap after I got the kids off to school. Someone replied that they wished they could nap whenever they wanted (and by this person’s own choice she had 10 kids and homeschooled). Yeah, I replied to that with “I have chronic fatigue, sometimes napping is not a choice.” Apparently that was offensive so this person unfriended me.
For several years I took morning naps. After the kids would get on the bus to go to school I’d run back to bed and many days I didn’t get up until they got home. I would have what I call “death nap” where you literally can’t move. And you think you’ve gotten up like 10 times and you haven’t.
It’s hard for me to HAVE to get up, like having to set an alarm because I have to get up and do something. My body doesn’t like being forced to do anything. Summer time was a little better since I could sleep in. However, my night sleep – non existent. Or filled with hallucinations, falling out of bed and terrifying nightmares. I’ve gotten out of bed and ran to the living room because I thought someone was in my room. I’ve seen flying pants. I kid you not, they were the only thing I ever saw in color – they were flowered pants. Usually I would see people. There were times I swore the kids were in the room and I got out of bed to tell them to go back to bed. I’ve rolled on top of my husband, I’ve fallen out of bed taking my night stand and lamp with me. This went on for years. My doctors were not concerned.
I tried a lot of different things – medications, supplements, natural therapy, bio feedback. Nothing helped. Melatonin made it worse. Benadryl made it worse and on top of that gave me a heavy dose of depression. I didn’t want to try anything prescription because of my hallucinations, I figured it would just make things worse as well.
So, what worked? I don’t know and I’m not sure when it started, actually. Maybe the last couple of months?
Caffeine. I went from drinking about 2-3 16oz bottles of Coke a day to about one bottle a week now. I’m trying to quit altogether (and this has been a super long process let me tell you) but it does settle my stomach sometimes and I do take my pills with it. Yes, yes, I know. But the fizz helps those suckers go down. Having pills stuck in your esophagus is not exactly fun. Side note: I beat my high score on how many pills I can swallow at once. My record is now 12. Which is actually kind of funny since I was terrified of swallowing pills until I was about 16. Where am I going with this? Ah, okay, point one – caffeine consumption has gone down. I still drink tea everyday, but the natural caffeine doesn’t metabolize in my body like artificial caffeine they use in pop.
I force myself NOT to nap during the day (Monday through Friday.) Now that I’m homeschooling our youngest and our three oldest kids are grown, I don’t HAVE to get up at any particular time. I’ve never been a morning person, but now that I’m finally sleeping at night, morning isn’t terrible. As long as I get to say when I get up. Otherwise my body refuses to cooperate. It’s no coincidence that female donkeys are called “Jennys.” And since I don’t have to get up my body accepts the no napping. Now that doesn’t mean I’m dancing on Broadway. A huge chunk of the day I’m lying down. I just force myself to not. fall. asleep. If I sleep during the day (unless I’m sick with something other than my usual crap) I won’t sleep at night and my naps last like 4+ hours. I’ve been getting up around 6am which for me is a MIRACLE (though it takes me about 3 hours to stop feeling nauseous.) But I don’t have to do anything, I don’t have to try to get a kid out to school or go to work or whatever, I can just sit and be awake. I usually work on my laptop in the morning until my daughter gets up, then we work through her assignments and then I sit on the couch and watch cartoons for a bit before I lie back down in bed.
I’m absolutely exhausted by about 4pm, and like 85% asleep by 7, but I try not to “go to bed” until 8. I might be IN bed, but not for the night. Plus I have to pee a lot so that keeps me busy. BUT the point is, that I finally sleep most of the night. I usually only wake up a couple of times a night and sometimes have to pee or if an IBS attack attacks me. I still have weird dreams, but I haven’t hallucinated and I haven’t fallen out of bed since. I do take Elavil (which I tried years ago & it didn’t do anything) before I stay in bed for the night. I don’t take benadryl at all if I can help it and no melatonin. The melatonin alone causes crazy hallucinations. I’ve tried many different brands and dosages in the last 12 years, but I’m done with that. If it works for you, though? Awesome.
And I pray a lot.
So, what is the benefit from actually sleeping at night? Well, it’s good mood booster. And did you know sleeping can help you lose weight? But as far as the rest of my illnesses go, there’s not too much of a change. It’s nice, though, to not HAVE to take a 6 hour nap everyday. I’ll always be permanently tired, but I expect that. (Not accept.)