First, considering that I am scheduling this blog to post, Happy Independence Day. Hope you have a safe and happy July 4th. We’ll be over here in the corner of the basement with the music playing really loudly until about 2am trying to keep Le Moo from freaking out over the fireworks. Even though they are illegal in our area, neighbors just don’t seem to care. Fun.
So today’s post ties in with the previous paragraph, in that I am not a good sleeper. I have never been a good sleeper, even before I got sick. I was a night owl, preferred to stay up late and get up late. When I first got sick, I found that the night was both a balm and my enemy. I hated the feeling of being alone in the dark, but at least I knew Hub was next to me if I really really needed him. So during those early years, I would be up until 2 or 3 in the morning, either writing or watching television. I would go to sleep, Hub would kiss me good bye in the morning when he left for work, and I’d go back to sleep until about eleven. I’d wake up, check emails, do a little work, then go downstairs to make lunch for me and for SP, and my day would start. Hub would get home only four or five hours after I woke up, so my day alone (and awake) would be fairly short.
Even when I wanted to try to go to sleep earlier, for some reason I never could. My brain does not shut down easily and I’m forever thinking. I’d lay in bed for hours, even after turning everything off at 2am. It would literally take me two hours (or more!) to fall asleep. It was so damn frustrating, and even though I would sleep until 11am, I wouldn’t get enough sleep because of how late I actually fell asleep.
In the past six months or so, my sleeping pattern has changed. I’m mostly turning out the light to go to sleep before 11:30pm, and I’m generally falling asleep within half an hour most nights. Good, yeah? Yeah, except for the fact that I’m not able to sleep in the mornings. There have been many days when I’ve woken up at 6:15 (or even earlier) and not been able to get back to sleep. So even though my body (and brain) is allowing me to go to sleep faster, it is also making me wake up earlier without any possibility of going back to sleep. I’ve been doing better the past couple of weeks, but by 8:15 or 8:30, I’m awake and that’s the end of it. I can’t sleep during the day, so on the days that I’m awake early, I’m pretty well screwed.
Some of you might be thinking that my schedule doesn’t seem so bad. I’m sure lots of you get less sleep than it seems I do. You may be right. You may also wake up four to five times a night, uncomfortable and in pain from a body that doesn’t allow you to rest. From a body that refuses to let go of pain. But how about that scenario every single night for thirteen years. I bet there are some of you who completely understand. And with that lack of sleep comes lack of refreshment. Your body (and mine, obv), repairs and refreshes itself during sleep. But that requires the deepest sleep–restorative sleep–that you generally get during a REM cycle. If I’m waking up every couple of hours during a short span of sleep, it’s not likely I’m getting much restorative sleep. So my vicious cycle of being tired and in pain just continues on, ad infinitum.
Add on any little bit of stress, and the sleep plummets even further. I have tried to get into the right sleep habits, but so far that has not made much difference. Of course, I have not given up the computer or the television in the bedroom, but there are some things I just can’t do. Especially considering my office is in the sitting room of our bedroom!
Oh, hey, did you know cherries are good for sleep? They are high in melatonin, I think. I also read they are good for reducing inflammation (pineapple, too!), and I just saw they are good for reducing pain. Cherry greek yogurt is my choice of yogurt, and my smoothies are made of cherry yogurt, frozen cherries and frozen pineapple. I also love to eat black cherry gelato (TALENTI gelato is aweSOME) at night. Well, technically, I’d love to eat their dark chocolate chip gelato, but the chocolate is still pretty much a no-go for me because of my heartburn. Anyway, try cherries on for size if you think they might help your sleep cycles. Hey, maybe that’s why I’m falling asleep faster…but then why the hell am I not more rested?