Tuesday, March 9, 2010

N is for Narcolepsy

When I was stationed in Germany, there was an X-ray Tech in my unit who had Narcolepsy. I never saw him fall asleep and didn't know anything about it until almost a year after I met him! We were all sitting around drinking on a Saturday night and he was talking about how they had to keep messing with the dosage of his meds. If they gave him too much it would mess with his liver and if they didn't give him enough, he'd fall asleep all the time.

Then the other guys we worked with all started in with the Narcolepsy jokes. They also would tease him about how it must be rough being able to fall asleep anytime, anywhere.

I've had so much insomnia since we moved to Colorado that I sometimes wish for Narcolepsy. Then I wince, realizing I just wished for a chronic illness. Stupid!

When I wander about the house, sleepless, I tend to go downstairs and watch TV or get the laptop and tool around the internet. Sadly, that's pretty much how I spend my days as well. At least I'm working out 4 or 5 days a week now and hoping that counteracts all my inactivity. Initially, the workouts were making me sleep like a baby! But even that's not working anymore.

I don't sleep because of stress and there's not much that's going to help my stress levels anytime soon. Don't worry about me, though, I seem to have entirely too much fun on my sleepless nights to be truly worried about it! I knit, watch movies, play poker online - all kinds of useless stuff!

The knitting is mostly what's keeping me sane. I've finished quite a lot of stuff this year! I finished my Olympic Sweater, Dave's Sweater, some dishcloths and towels for our kitchen, some bed socks. Just yesterday I finished the second of a fantastic pair of socks! I can't show them to you as they are a super-secret surprise for someone and I'll show y'all when they are given.

Do any of you have sleepless nights? Any tips on getting to sleep?

Knitting in my sleep(less), Ruth!


tinkers said...

i can totally relate! i'm up almost 3 nights a week until 5-6 am then the baby gets up at 7. my biggest tip is tea and curl up with really boring stockinette or garter stitch project. a few reruns of roseanne help too! lol

Yarnhog said...

I went through a horrible period of insomnia due to stress starting in February of last year. None of the things I usually do, like exercise, read, knit, hot bath, etc., worked at all. I tried Benadryl, which normally knocks me out, and Melatonin (ditto) to no avail. I finally started taking Xanax to fall asleep, and it worked great, but I was afraid of becoming dependent, so I only used it twice a week or so. The other nights I'd just suffer. Last month we went on vacation. I slept like a baby every night we were there, and every night since, with no assistance. It was obviously psychological, but I don't know why it suddenly switched off. Best of luck!

k said...

I went through years of this. I finally got sick of being up wandering around, and just stayed in bed. At least my body could stay warm and comfy, and I'd drift in and out. I've run into a couple of articles just lately on how this is really the norm, being in bed much longer than we are told is normal, and being more or less awake for an hour or two in the middle.
Now, I take a small dose of an old and mild antidepressant, and on bad nights, half a zanax.

Yvette said...

I learned a great relaxation technique that helps when I wake tense from stress (or don't fall asleep at all). It's based on mindfullness of the surroundings. Just focus on sounds and feelings. Name them in your head as you take note of them. "I hear the furnace, I hear a car drive by, I hear my breathing. I feel the blankets against my feet. I feel the weight of my head resting on the pillow etc..." It helps the worries get pushed out of the head and relaxes the body so you are resting, if not sleeping.

Heide said...

I have many sleepless nights because although my body's tired, my head just won't shut up. The suggestions I tried included NOT going near a computer, t.v. or anything else you enjoyed, but instead to do something like cleaning. The Melatonin, Tylenol PM, Benadryl, etc. can help you to fall alseep eventually, but unless you know at 6:00 that you won't be able to sleep, then they make the situation worse. If you take them at 11:00 then forget waking up and not feeling like you're in a drugged stupor the next morning. Beer can relax you, but then you have to get up to pee. My best ways to try and sleep now include: taking a bath, puting on comfortable pajamas and baby powder, having my glass of water and a book...any book and then my youngest daughter lays down next to me with her own book (this way I know she isn't up and wandering). Unfortunately, on the nights this is most successful my husband usually wanders in at about 1:00 after playing WOW, moves my daughter then he procedes to jostly the bed, mess up the covers and be a nuisance until he's settled in. He usually drops off to sleep within seconds then starts to snore. Loudly. My point being... I empathize with you completely. Good luck and if you find something that works then please share!

k said...

Oh, and white noise. The tv on, but not on a channel. A radio between stations.

And a few years' time.