Thursday, February 23, 2012
Two bells... am I well?
So what do I do? Usually toss and turn and try to get back to sleep. Often I can, for at least a couple more hours.
Insomnia, by definition, is trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night. It may come and go (episodic), last up to 3 weeks (short-term), or be long-lasting (chronic).
Yeah, that's about right. Except the definition doesn't say that you may feel totally rested.
Am I just one of those people who needs less sleep than others?
I'd like to think that's the case.
I have, for years, been able to function on just a few hours of sleep each night for at least a couple weeks. Then I sort of "hit the wall" and see about 24 hours of just napping and doing nothing to get back in sync.
Science has learned that the sleep habits we learned as children may affect our sleep behaviors as adults. When we repeat these behaviors over many years, they become habits.
Poor sleep or lifestyle habits that may cause insomnia or make it worse. Going to bed at different times each night and not getting enough exercise are really the only lifestyle habits I possess. I rarely nap during the day, my bedroom is dark and quiet with white noise, I don't lay in bed when I'm awake.
I also limit my caffeine intake and generally don't take medications, so they're not a factor either.
I did, for about eight years, take Ambien to help me sleep. It's a prescription medication designed to help you stay asleep. Unfortunately when you do wake up, you may not know it.
I believe it was created by Satan himself. It took me about a year to wean myself from the dependency I had on it.
I know I'm not alone in my sleeplessness. In my pre-internet days, my mother and I used to joke that we needed a way to let the other know we were awake at night so we could play cards.
Honestly, stress plays a major roll in my sleep patterns. When I'm stressed out, I'm exhausted when I'm awake and not tired when I'm trying to sleep.
Thankfully I've been taught how to control the stress and get back to sleep.
For now, I'll just keep riding the insomniac train and try to enjoy the trip.