I can’t sleep. This used to be quite the norm for me. Taking a long time to fall asleep, waking up in the night, taking a long time to fall back asleep, waking up even more tired than before I slept. That used to be my norm. This is no longer my norm. Except for today. Surprise. Went to bed at 10:45, but up again at 1am. That’s not good… After some tossing and turning, here we are.
I normally don’t share a lot of very personal or health information on my very public blog. Once it’s out there, it’s out there! But here we go…. Ready for a little Andrea Williams health history?
In the winter and then into the spring I became so tired I was having a hard time dragging myself through the day… This was different than it being winter, and I hate winter, and the weather just bringing me down. Lots of people get this, and a lot of people detest winter as I do. This exhaustion was also different than anxiety or depression (which I also struggle with). I was just so tired. And I couldn’t catch up with my sleep. Even if I did get a sleep in, or a few days in a row of a good night’s sleep…. Still… Exhaustion. I just kept writing it off to owning my own business, being a mom of a two and three year old, stress, and having to work outside the home with frequently changing shift work – work that was physically demanding…. There were good reasons for me being tired. I was busy and running myself thin. Family and close friends agreed – it was time to go to the doctor.
My doctor is a smart guy. A very holistic doctor who looks at a lot of different aspects of life and medicine to make sure everything aligns… A good family doctor. Even through explaining and evaluating our family life and my life and sleep (and blood work, etc.) my doctor said I should be feeling more rested. He decided to look above and beyond all my circumstances and to send me to do a sleep test.
At first, I thought this was silly. Ridiculous, annoying, a waste of time, money (OHIP dollars that is) and I just didn’t want to do it. Being all wired up and having people watch me sleep. No thank you. But after telling Jon and my family and a few friends, they were all so thrilled I might get some answers…. They were pleased I had a doctor who was doing something about it. Who knew I needed this so badly!
My test time came at the end of May and we got some results… Other than me feeling like I hadn’t even slept that night…. It is really like I hadn’t slept. Really. Ever. I have an abnormal rem sleep cycle (or something of the sort with big long words and explanations and some syndrome or something attached to it). Instead of taking the normal time to fall into a deep sleep, it takes me hours and hours (5.5 hours the night of the test) to reach rem sleep. By the time they were able to observe me into a deep sleep cycle it was time to wake me up. This was not the norm, and this was a night I wasn’t interrupted by any two or three year olds waking me up. They allowed me to sleep later than an an average person taking the test as they needed to observe a full sleep cycle… And there I was. Having a full night sleep, with only a few hours of rest every night for who knows how long.
So breaking it down, on a night where I would go to bed around 11, it would take me about 30-45 minutes to fall asleep, then another 5-6 hours to reach deep sleep, and then I’d be waking up around 7am on the average day. That meant I was getting a total of 1-1.5, maybe 2 hours of restful sleep. And that is if I wasn’t woken up once during the night. If I was woken up at any point (5/7 nights of the week) then my timeline was basically reset. The nights I would be up in the night with the kids, it wouldn’t take me a long time to fall back asleep, but would reset my sleep cycle to basically not having enough hours to reach any rem sleep. So I was living off of a max of 12 hours of restful sleep a week (on an average week of being in bed for 8 hours per night)…. That is not okay.
I received these results in August, and my family doctor, who knows my family and our life very well, insisted I try a medication to jump start me into deep sleep much earlier in the night. I’m pleased to say it has been successful. I’m sleeping like a baby. Well, a sleep trained, well fed, healthy baby. That “sleeping like a baby” saying is ridiculous. I’m sleeping. I’m getting rem sleep. I’m feeling more rested.
Because I had never had a sleep test and because I had never admitted to tiredness being such a large symptom in my life, we don’t know how long this has affected my sleeping. Could have been a year, two years, 5 years, since childhood… Who knows! But I’m sleeping now. Except for tonight , because i didn’t program our new thermostat correctly and it was HOT up in here! Anyways, now I’m more rested and therefore have more energy. This is good. Very good.
See how much better I look!
I think I’m sleepy enough after writing this post. Goodnight!
Yes. The “I can’t sleep. I’ll RIGHT a blog post” was intentional….
I know that WRITE is RIGHT!
Also, I did edit this a few days later so it would make a little more sense. My writing in my sleepless state was a little, uh, odd. 😀