plan #7 – get better sleep

 

Sleep

Most people set alarms to get up in the morning. I also have to set an alarm to make myself go to bed at night.

It wasn’t always this way. For most of my life, I was renowned for being an excellent sleeper. I could (and did) regularly fall asleep anywhere: at school, in church, on mass transit, in cars (which got to be a real problem once I learned how to drive). My going-to-bed routine involved one step: laying my head down on the pillow. BAM! I was asleep.

Part of this tendency must be genetic. My mom has been known to fall asleep while sitting at the dinner table having a conversation. (Put a glass of wine in her hand and – just by virtue of holding the glass – no drinking necessary – it will happen even faster.) I also come from a family of snorers, and I have the added bonus of interspersing snoring with what is called, in technical jargon, “not breathing.” During the many years it was untreated, all that disrupted sleep definitely added to my drowsiness.

It’s not that I am not still drowsy. Heck, I am tired all the time! The problem now, though, is that I am sleeping at all the wrong times. This MS fatigue is a killer; I’ll barely make it home from work (or church, or the grocery store, or a walk) before I feel the need to collapse and take a nap. Then, when nighttime comes, I can’t sleep.

I blame the double-barreled menace of steroids and smartphones, frankly. I was on that pulse steroid treatment for three years; one day a month I stayed up around the clock, which sent me into a tailspin when I had to return to my regularly scheduled programming. I’d fall asleep by day and sleep so long that I couldn’t sleep at night. I got into habits of reading on my phone while I was lying there awake, and that addiction has been really hard for me to break.

I’ve tried the whole not-napping thing, with varied success. Some days, like today, I try to resist the pull of the nap, until I realize I have just fallen asleep sitting up instead of attending to the paperwork piled in front of me. I’ve also tried to keep my naps short, but I get so groggy and sleep so soundly that I either can’t wake myself up or I can’t seem to function when I do.

Oh, well! It’s a trial-and-error process, I suppose. I need to keep making the attempt to figure out what works for me and take my successes where I can get them. In the meantime, I’ll try not to keep regaling you with my sleepytime woes. I’ll use that time to catch up on some zzz’s instead.

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