When I was younger, I didn’t even think twice about sleep. In fact, like most kids and teenagers, I fought to stay up later. I fought against sleep. Now I fight for sleep. I go looking for it, and I still stay up pretty late, but not because I just want to be up late or stay up for Saturday Night Live, but because sleep and I are not friends anymore.
One of the hallmark symptoms of Fibro is disordered sleep. With all the stress our busy lives demand these days, a lot of people I know suffer from occasional insomnia, and even my d.h. has a bout of it once in a while. But we fibromites live in pretty much a constant state of sleep deprivation. Some of us have had sleep studies, other of us simply have docs that just accept the rampant insomnia as a part of our disorder. Almost all of us are on sleep meds, but they don’t work for us all.
I have a constant prescription for Ambien ™ and my docs know if I don’t take it, I won’t sleep. Period. Sometimes for days on end. I’m famous for wandering around the house at four a.m. I take Ambien ™ just about every night, but once in a while not even that will induce sleep. Last night was one of those nights. I took all my night time meds (sleep and allergy meds) and waited my alloted twenty minutes or so before going to lie down, but by two a.m. or so, I knew it was going to be one of those nights. I wasn’t going to sleep no matter what. I just couldn’t settle in enough. Sometimes I give up and get up, sometimes I just try to get what little sleep I can.
Sometimes, it’s just a conspiracy of kitty jumping on me, doggy making a bunch of noise for some reason or other, my hubby snoring, it’s too hot, there’s too much light, etc. It doesn’t take a lot for my sleep to be disrupted and I think part of it is my circadian rhythm has gone bananas some time over the last 10 years or so, and I just haven’t got it right. I have to be careful with caffeine, or with foods that will interrupt sleep too. I have a rule not to have any caffeine after about four in the afternoon.
I’ve counted a million sheep, tried concentrating on just breathing, and even tried warm milk. I sleep better, just like anyone does, when I have a pretty regular schedule and when I’m able to meditate for a few minutes just before bed. The smell of Burt’s Bees Baby Bees Buttermilk Lotion soothes and calms me and one of my tricks is to massage it into my arms and hands as I sit on my bed in a dim room and just focus on being calm right before bed. That’s all meditating is for me, just finding that calm place for just a few minutes.
We all have our coping mechanisms, whether you deal with a chronic illness, a stressful day, or just regular ol’ life. My wish for you, gentle readers, is a good nights’ sleep!