Tag Archives: sleep

I’ll take a Migraine, Please.

To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,

This is my second day without much of a migraine.

I won’t say that it is gone, that would be lying, but it has slipped into the realm of <1 most of the day, which is close enough. It is there, but it isn’t having as much negative impact and apparently my mind and body are thrilled.

So, thrilled in fact that I was blessed last night with not one, but two forms of insomnia. 

  1. Can’t get to sleep.

That was fun, and very fruitful, went to bed early (9:45 pm), read a few chapters of a light mystery that I’d picked, curled up and…. Didn’t sleep. The brain wouldn’t stop working and the body started tossing and turning. Sometimes when I read poetry it makes me sleepy – you have to work so hard to make all the connections – so I went out and found The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot and read that…

It didn’t help.

So, read some more poems. Then went to find History of Witchcraft in England by Wallace Notestein – originally published at the turn of the last century ca. 1900. Unfortunately it wasn’t as dry as I thought… and it was after midnight when I finally tried to sleep again.

Not sure when I got to sleep, but I know when I woke up.

  1. Can’t stay asleep

I don’t really mind the first form of insomnia. Once you get to sleep it is over. But the second one gets me every time. Usually I don’t have a specific time that I need to get up at so when this happens I tend to sleep in, late. But I’m tired of losing the whole morning. No matter how much I try and convince myself that it doesn’t matter as long as I get the hours in – it still does. So from 4:00 am on I woke and dozed, had wild dreams, dozed, had more wild dreams… and so on and so forth until my alarm went off at 7:00 am.

Did I mention I was tired of losing the morning?

I am, so all week I’ve been working on getting back to a more normal sleep pattern… it hasn’t worked and I’m wondering if I should just give up. I have lots of research to do and late at night is a good time to read, surf the net, and correlate data since I just can’t seem to get up early to save my life.

This morning the dreams were so vivid, and I would jump right back into them after a period of waking. Sadly after being up for an hour I absolutely no memory of them…

That is another side effect I’ve experienced before. When I really start to get into a story my subconscious wants to come out and play all the time. Some mornings, like this one, it is too good to miss… so I didn’t get up until almost 10:00 am.

What a slouch.

Maybe this guilt is a holdover from my childhood.

My Dad is a morning person. Up by 6:00 am and busy busy busy. He isn’t restless in his busyness and rarely commented out loud on my teenage tendency to sleep till noon… but the reproof was felt nonetheless – whether it was real or imagined I don’t know.

Oh, well… I’ll probably keep trying since it feels wrong and probably keep failing because 2:00 am to 10:00 am seems to work well for me.

Besides, I really can’t complain can I? The whole reason all of this is happening is because my migraines have lessened and my productivity has increased.


~ Tess


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Miles to go…

I’m having trouble sleeping.

I have no idea how long this has been going on. Every night I wake up. If I’m lucky it is once, if not then it is constant.

The first clue that this has become a problem is my cat, Minerva. She usually sleeps on me or against me. Since the beginning of the year she has moved to the bottom of the bed. She is a very persistent personality so I’m sure it’s taken her quite awhile to change her habits.

How long?

Yesterday my lack of sleep, the restlessness and the strange dreams combined to make it a very weird day. I should have stayed home so as not to inflict myself on others but I didn’t have a choice so I went out and probably negatively impacted a lot of people. Thank goodness for my girl friends. They took me out for drinks. It helped. I came home took a melatonin and thought things would be better.

Last night was worse.

Last night it felt like I didn’t sleep at all. I was restless and my brain kept going a million miles an hour. It used to be that when I was like this it was over something at work – but now it is all stories, dreams, fantasies, and delusions. My mind is filled with the strangest thoughts and at night they try to escape from me. No one would want to live in the worlds that I experience when I dream yet they are not nightmares.

I promised myself that if I felt that incredible restlessness I would get up and write. But that didn’t happen. It was a low level night. A constant buzz of dreamscapes but I always felt like I had a chance of falling asleep, but then I would wake up.

The thing is, years ago when I had horrible insomnia I did a bunch of research and changed a lot of my habits. Bed is for bed, it is quiet, cool, and I only sleep there. I used to read in bed for hours on end but I read that can be counterproductive for an insomniac. I stopped drinking caffeine late in the day, don’t drink right before bed, and created a ritual to help my body move from waking to sleeping.

But it’s been years since I had that kind of insomnia….funny I didn’t notice this happening besides this is different.

As long as I don’t have another day like yesterday I think I’ll be fine – but I wonder what is causing this. I don’t remember ever dreaming like this, even as a child. Sometimes there are hundreds of images and stories in a night that I flip through none of them a repeat.

I’m not sure what to do because deep down I wonder if this is a byproduct of releasing my imagination and I am afraid of what might happen if I try and squelch it.

The logical part of me is telling me that I need good sleep!  

I usually go for the logic – so melatonin, no alcohol, and yoga for relaxation before bed. I’m feeling really ambitious I’ll add in some meditation or breathing exercises.

And if that doesn’t work…. *shrug* I’ll just write about it.

~ Tess

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Leave me alone – I want to stay in bed!

The alarm went off with plenty of time for a snooze yet I didn’t want to get up. It is so nice to not hurt! My back, which has been cranky for the last five years, is feeling great. My neck is still having issues – but that is a pillow problem not a mattress problem. I feel great when I get up… I just don’t like getting up.

This is all because after 10 years I finally purchased a new bed. I’ve decided that is my excuse for sleeping in this morning not a lack of discipline. I’ve always loved bed. Not necessarily sleep – I just like lying in bed. When I lay there my mind wanders I come up with ideas and work through problems and issues. For me my bed is a second office.     

Yet – how many of us feel inferior to those souls who need only a few hours a night? The average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours. I’m more of a 9 hour girl myself, yet every once in a while I dream of only needing 4 hours so that I can be more productive during the day.   

But sleep is important!

But I digress – what amazes me most is that after multiple doctor visits about my back I don’t remember anyone telling me I needed to get a new bed. Now they may have – and I may have ignored them. But the bed is magic! And I’m wondering if pressure from the medical profession might have tipped me over into getting one sooner.  

We seem to be in a transition between “here’s a pill” to “let’s look at your lifestyle”.

One of my doctors recommend, and threatened to prescribe, having someone clean my house. I’m allergic to dust mites and mold. I am also allergic to cleaning products. My reliance on drugs and the number of days I felt sub-par because of allergies has decreased. I truly believe that when we are having health issues we need to look at all the factors – and not reach for the medicine cabinet.

Changing behaviors takes effort, taking a pill only means remembering to take the pill.

It’s funny because it is a matter of degree. I once dated a guy who dealt with his allergies and asthma though drugs. His house was filled with dust and mold but no matter what was causing it he found it easier to mask it with drugs then deal with the root cause. Being with him was causing me to go back to using medications to keep me healthy – that didn’t last long. I left preferring my health over his company.

This leads me to wonder about the medical profession.

How many of us are willing to change our behavior if a doctor tells us to? Most of us still feel a reverence for the profession and put a lot of weight in what they tell us. But so much of what I’ve read about healthcare talks about doctor’s unwillingness to look at behavior – often because they don’t believe it will work.

Maybe it is just the people that I hang out with – but I was surprised to learn how many of them responded to their doctor’s request to alter their life style. A couple I know are the most religious of gym goers – three times a week without fail. No whining, no complaints. All because a doctor told them to.

Another friend has altered her diet multiple times as she tries to sort out what might be affecting her migraines. A co-worker, who had multiple serious injuries in the last year, is recovering faster than average because she does the physical therapy prescribed by her therapist at home. Oh, and then there was the couple who one of them was having insomnia and the other discovered he had sleep apnea – the hope is once the sleep apnea is resolved his wife will be getting better sleep.    

Now there are also folks I know who aren’t doing quite so well… but they are at least beginning to understand that they are their own worst enemy. Having chronic insomnia and heading up to play computer games at 11 at night with a two liter bottle of regular Coke is a recipe for another sleepless night. But most of us are taking our health more seriously and understanding that our environment and habits could be responsible.

Now there are plenty of times when I reach for medication – my allergies are only under control with daily drugs but I’ve cut down on the need for Benadryl. I have severe migraines but have successfully moved off of daily meds to Imitrex as needed. My back was fixed by my bed and regular exercise, however my insomnia would be much better if I didn’t drink – but we all need a vice.  

I hope that I always start with the root of them problem and then work out – leaving medications as my last course of action. And think more of us would if we were given the information to make that choice.  

So where do you sit on this spectrum? The pill or the behavior or someplace in-between?

 ~ Tess


Filed under Health