Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sleep is precious

For years I never got enough sleep. Never, ever, ever. I think it started back in college. Sleep was more of a drunken, exhausted "pass out" phase. Oh yeah, I partied as hard as I possibly could. Pursuit of pleasure and a Bachelor's degree was my goal. I indulged my every whim, and came out with the piece of paper that confirms my intelligence and a beer gut to boot. I picked up important social skills and an amazing alcohol tolerance.

But sleep was not important to me at all.

Then a few years later, something odd started happening. I would wake up gasping for air. I was stressed, a little heavier, and waking up numerous times in the night- thinking perhaps I was having a panic attack in my sleep.

This went on from 1997 - 2010. Maybe a solid 2 or 3 hours of sleep. Not without trying. Last October/November I went to the cardiologist to work on this blood pressure thing. Through numerous tests (many of you may remember all of the posts about that) - I found out one of the many causes of my higher bp was the sleep apnea. No, I am not a 500 pound person.. it can happen to anyone. Apparently if you snore or momentarily quit breathing in your sleep - that's a sign.

Since then, I have struggled with this CPAP machine. It took about 2 months to really get the hang of it. NOW - I sleep like a baby. Better than I have in a decade... maybe even longer.

For example, I came home last night after that long journey back from the coast, went and had a massage, grabbed some groceries and even sipped an espresso (pretty late.) I decided to chill with the tv - then I ended up staying up pretty late. (Mixed with a little nap.) I went to bed close to 4am and woke up at 8:30am. I FEEL WONDERFUL. You would think that was not enough sleep. However, with the machine - it's uninterrupted, pure filtered air with a humidifier streaming into me. Translation - feels like I slept 8 hours.

I never realized how precious sleep was. Now, I can fall asleep fairly fast, and sleep hard. Like a baby.

What about you? How are your sleeping habits?


Anonymous said...

Ah...sleep, that mysterious little creature! My sleeping habits are random at best. It seems most of the time I struggle with being completely wiped out from about 8pm until 10 pm then find myself wide awake when I transfer my body to the bed! Thoughts begin to fly and sleep doesn't come easily. That is unless I'm struggling with insomnia..then I have those 4 am kind of nights. So glad you are sleeping well these days!

Peggy K said...

I fall asleep fast and hard. Dream pretty quickly. Only need 6 hours most nights. But you are so right about the breathing being the key. When my allergies kick up, even if I slept 8 hours, I'd wake up exhausted! I think those machines used for those with sleep apnea are amazing!! Good for you for using it. I know those who get the machine and don't use it. DUH!!

Dana said...

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and shift work disorder this summer. So I use the machine and medication to go to sleep. My work hours are 3:30 am - 11:30 am. Some time around 8:00am I crash so I have this great medication to keep me awake so I don't fall asleep while driving home.

Wendy said...

I'm a borderline narcoleptic. Happy you're able to sleep better, feels good, huh. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there...I love this post. When I was younger I was like yourself, I didn't get much sleep. I partied all the time. Now, I must get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Very rarely would I not. Sleep is so important, I feel so much better in the morning after a good night sleep. It pretty much shapes the rest of the day.

Just came by to tell you that I am featuring your blog on my In the Spotlight Sundays.


KCB said...

I can't imagine struggling with sleep the way you have, but I'm so glad the CPAP is finally working for you. :-)

Jen G-son said...

I woke up so exhausted, I think it's even blog worthy...I envy you of your sleep!

Leanne said...

Must say that sleep has been really limited this past week, while I suffer through a pretty rotten cold. Most nights I sleep very well - usually 6 to 7 hours. But when I am sick, I have a VERY HARD time sleeping and find myself waking up with coughing fits or a stuffed nose. Nothing helps ... I'm feeling a little better today, so I'm hoping for sleep tonight. Now, PG requires 8 to 9 hours every night and if he doesn't get it, he can hardly function. Maybe I'm turning into him, huh? Ah, well.

Anonymous said...

I need so much sleep, and I love it too much to sacrifice.
I can take three hour naps, and still fall asleep when I want to at night. Pretty amazing.
I think that's why I was so screwed up this past spring, because school was stealing all my precious sleep time.


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