Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Monday, August 26, 2013
So last night, I made it to 12 pm before I was out like a light. Woke up 6.5 hours later! I FEEL AMAZING!!! Yesterday after a family party, I was basically drunk and disfunctional. I couldn't even walk inside. My hubby carried me in, plopped me on the bed, and I could have slept then, but I was trying desperately hard to stay up longer. By 11:30, I decided I could sleep, and promised myself that if I didn't nod off right away, I'd get out of bed. Well, before midnight I was out!! NEVER HAPPENS! Now today, I was up out of bed by 7, and will not be taking a nap. Hopefully I will nod off by midnight, and if I don't, I'll get out of bed, and try to sleep later. The key is to NOT stay in bed if you can't sleep. I sure hope this sticks. I got greedy last night and went to bed before I should have, but seriously, after 4 days of extremely little sleep, my body forced shut down. But if I have to, I'll stay up again.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Couldn't sleep till 4. Was woken up twice by Carson. Hubby slept downstairs with the monitor so I wouldn't hear Ethan, but we didn't expect Carson to get up. Felt like punching my hubby in the face when he told me it was 7 and I had to get up. Hardest part. Hate everyone and everything right now. God, help me.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Trying desperately to stay awake right now, but it's becoming near impossible. 2 hours to go. These lonely nights can make you crazy.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Right now, I'm fairly ok. This morning was very, very hard. 1 hour of sleep killed me, but I had no choice but to get up. As the day went on, I felt better. I'm running on something right now, not sure what. I hope this night goes by quickly, because being alone through this is no fun. I'm more worried about my state of mind tomorrow. I know, I know this will be worth it. I've been through worse. I CAN do this. I'm tough. And with His help, anything is possible. He will not leave me in my trial. He never has.
Any ideas of what could occupy my time for an entire night? Good series recommendations? Please share!
Today's feelings: can't do this, can't do this, can't do this. Didn't sleep till 5:30, had to wake up at 6:30. An hour. That's it. Previous night I got 3 hours. Now I'm supposed to stay up all night tonight, all day tomorrow, and not go to sleep till 4 am the next night, then wake up at 7. This sounds impossible right now. God, Please help me.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
(See how I came out of that here. and here.)But after some thought, I knew I needed to quit this. I had this solution given to me months ago, and now I needed to face my mountain. With Ethan now sleeping through the night, I had run out of excuses. So I didn't get the meds. And I cried, and cried, and cried. Terrified of losing my mind to severe lack of sleep. But then I realized, that I am not that person anymore. I conquered that mountain. And I am stronger today than I ever have been. I KNOW I can do this.
With a blessing and prayers, I started last night. Didn't fall asleep till 4:00 am or so, and got up at 7 am. No nap. I will see how long it takes me to sleep tonight, and then starting Friday, I am pulling my all-niter. And the reset button will be pushed. I'm writing this all down, in case there are others out there that have or are currently experiencing insomnia, and need a solution. I will do this, for you and me, and we'll see how it all pans out.
So far, today was a good day. This morning I didn't feel awesome, but this afternoon I felt alive. I played with my kids, I mean, really good and long. We read books, giggled, made silly noises, tickled, played games, sang songs. And it was perfect. I know Heavenly Father won't leave me in my trial, and that all trials are here for us to learn and grow, and we DO come out stronger in the end. This will not be easy, it will probably be one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it will be worth it, to be free of dependence on drugs. I'll blog again tomorrow, or tonight, and let you know my state of mind, and my whole experience.
Here is my story...
For the past ten years, I have had chronic insomnia, and before that, as my mother has shared with me, I wasn't such a great sleeper either. I toss and turn for hours and hours, until finally I fall asleep, only to find that it's usually 4 am, and I usually have to get up for something or someone, and cannot get the amount of sleep needed. My brain just won't shut off. That chemical that turns your brain off and helps you drift to sleep, just doesn't function. I have always slept better in the morning, and been wide awake late at night. I can't pin point when and why this really developed, but I have been off and on sleeping pills since I was 16, but for almost 3 years, I have been on Ambien every single night. If any of you know anything about sleeping pills, you know you are only supposed to be on them for a few nights, never long term. They aren't made for a chronic problem, and over time, you eventually develop a resistance to them, and need a higher dose in order for them to still work. Sooner or later, you are needing such a high dose, way more than recommended, and you are faced with either running out of your prescription too soon, or going to the doctor and getting on a different kind. When you've been on sleeping pills for this long, when you run out of your meds, you don't sleep...AT ALL... for a couple nights. Your body can go through withdrawal, and insomnia temporarily worsens. By the third night of hardly any sleep, your resolve to quit the sleeping pills diminishes. You NEED the pills...you can't function without sleep. right? So you HAVE to be on them. It's just part of who you are, and what you need to function...right??? In an article I was reading, I found this quote. "The only effect sleeping pills have," says sleep expert Dr. Kripke at UCSD, "is they make you feel good about not being able to sleep." Even your doctor tells you it's fine that you need it, and if it isn't working, lets load you up with more drugs. It's a hole you feel stuck in. YOu just wish you could shut your damn brain off and sleep like the rest of the normal people out there, but no one has an answer, and REAL solution to your problem.
This is where I am at right now. My baby is finally starting to sleep longer stretches, and here I am, wide awake. And just as I'm finally falling asleep, I look at the clock and realize my toddler will wake up in a couple hours, and I'll have no choice but to get up and be his mommy, no matter how tired I am. Then someone offers to give me a nap, and I take it. I feel better when I wake up, but I find that I have the same problem later that night, and I can't sleep unless I'm heavily drugged.
I have been wanting with all of my heart to get off of these meds, but with desperation and a priesthood blessing, I was prompted to wait until I was no longer pregnant, since my pregnancy was so complicated. I was told that I would be able to find a solution, even though it may be hard to go through. So here I am, almost 8 weeks post pardum, and last weekend, I ran out of Ambien, and of course, I had been taking too much and couldn't refill it yet. I went to my doctor, and he said I could start on a different medication, but he advised that I figure out why I am not sleeping. I asked him if I should see a sleep therapist, and he seemed to think that was a good idea. So I did the hard thing. I went home without a prescription, knowing all too well that I would not be sleeping a wink that night. But I was done. I was done with being so dependent on these pills. And with my body going back to normal, I was ready to take this on. The weekend was rough. My hubby let me sleep in on Saturday and Sunday and Monday, after no sleep the previous nights. Then Tuesday night, I finally fell asleep at midnight and slept for 3 1/2 hours, then woke up and fed the baby and could not go back to sleep, even though I was utterly exhausted and the baby was sleeping. That was last night, and today I went and saw the sleep specialist. I told him my history, and after going through many questions, he first told me that he was very impressed that I wanted to find a solution, and that I was brave enough to get conquer my dependence on the meds, and that I wasn't there just to convince him I needed a higher dose. Then he proceeded to tell me about this treatment called Sleep Restriction Therapy.
First he started out by explaining that our minds can be compared to a computer. When you go to shut it down, you have two ways of doing so. You can shut it down the correct way by clicking the button, and then it proceeds to go through the normal procedure of closing programs and turning off correctly. Or, you can push the start button and hold it down, till you force it to shut off. Forcing your brain to shut off at night is exactly what sleeping pills do. You are not shutting down the normal way, you are just skipping that whole process and forcing it to sleep. Pretty soon, this is the only way your brain knows how to sleep at night, and it completely relies on it. So, you are up all night, and then you sleep in the morning, or take naps during the day, so then you aren't tired so you have to take a pill to sleep, and the whole process repeats itself.
So this is what you do. First, you have to figure out how much sleep you normally get without sleeping pills. Get and average over a few nights, and log it. Then you must do a "hard reset" on your brain, and you stay up for 24 hours straight. This means no sleeping pills. Sleeping pills will harm any chance of retraining your body to know when to sleep and how to stay asleep. Sleep fasting reboots your internal sleep computer. This resets your circadian rhythm, and starts a clean slate.
Then you must figure out when you need or want to get up every morning, and subtract that from the number of hours you normally sleep at night, and that is the time you go to bed. So for me, I usually only get 4 hours of sleep at night, and I have to get up by 7 every morning, so my bedtime after the sleep fast would be 3 am. I MUST get up at 7 am, even if I feel like sleeping in.
Next, you must use bright light therapy. You can buy these at stores, but my hubby actually made a light box for me after researching how and what kind of light you needed. You have to be near the light for a half hour right after waking every morning. Using light therapy is absolutely essential, and this whole process is not near as successful without it. This helps to teach your system when to sleep and wake at the right times.
Next, you gradually increase the amount of sleep you get each night.This is one of the most important steps, because if you jump back too quickly into trying to sleep all night, you'll lose any benefit you gained up to this point. Once you find that you are falling asleep quickly (within 20 minutes of lying down) and you are sleeping the full amount of time, you can add 15 minutes of sleep. So if my bed time is 3 am, I could try going to sleep at 2:45 am, and if that night is successful, then 2:30 am and so on. But if I find that I cannot sleep at 2:30 am quickly, then I must go back to sleeping at 2:45 or 3 am, and start at the time I could sleep for a few days, and try it again.
And last, NO NAPPING. This is extremely important. Napping messes up your circadian rhythm and you won't be able to sleep when you need to. If you have chronic insomnia, like me, you should never ever nap again, it's that important. This kinda makes me wanna cry. If you feel tired during the day, use your light box or get out in the sunshine and exercise until the drowsiness is gone, but don't give in to napping.
In reading Dr. Spielman's studies, most people gained at least a couple hours of sleep each night after doing this therapy. That can make all the difference. 6 hours of sleep is a heck of a lot better than 4.
When he explained this to me, it felt right. I felt peace that this is the course of action I should take in order to beat this problem. It's definitely not the easy route. It's going to kill me, I am sure. But in my mind, it makes perfect sense. This is the only real solution I have ever been given to treat my chronic insomnia, and I am so grateful that it exists.