As some of you may have noticed, my blog entries are often posted quite late at night (or early morning for those of you who actually ARE morning people) and you've read how variable my work hours are. I am often up until the wee hours of the morning with difficulty sleeping more than 4-6 hours/night...I am usually fatigued EVERY day and/or tired.
So, I've made a commitment to myself to try to clean up my sleep act these days. I'm going to try to practice a better "sleep hygiene".
I don't know why the sleep specialists refer to the process of getting and staying asleep as "sleep hygiene"...it almost makes it sound like something is dirty and needs to be washed! It certainly has become a catch phrase in the up and coming practice of sleep medicine...a practice that has become a multi-million dollar health concern.
Three years ago, I underwent the overnight stay at the Sleep Lab and got connected to about a hundred different wires and leads while a camera and a technician watched me "sleep" all night long. The result of this study informed my doctor I suffered from Obstructive Sleep Apnea and also Periodic Leg Movement...in lay man's terms, I snore loudly and my legs dart about the bed! I am a very "busy" sleeper...
Since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2003, I have also suffered through sometimes debilitating fatigue. Not only does my body feel TIRED, but I am also literally exhausted by the end of my day. I have tried a plethora of medications, a CPAP machine (positive airway pressure device that is supposed to keep one's airway open and prevent snoring), and have read most of the literature out there on sleep disorders...bottom line is, I'm STILL TIRED.
One of the "dirtiest" little problems with my sleep hygiene is my inability to set a normal pattern for going to bed...I always think there's just one more thing I need to do before I lay down, one more blog entry I need to write, one more TV show I should mindlessly stare at, one more phone call to make. I am worse than a five year old accepting my bedtime!
So, this week I'm turning over a new leaf...I'm washing behind my sleep ears...I'm practicing what I preach to clients...I'm gonna GO TO BED LIKE A RELATIVELY NORMAL PERSON!
I often don't even get home from work until midnight (on a good day), but have decided I must set a standard time for hitting the hay, whether I feel tired or not. I think it's reasonable to believe I can be in bed by 1:00AM. As you can already see by the posting time of this entry, it's now 2:00AM!
So I'm shutting down the computer, I'm going to try to remember no caffeine after 6:00PM, I'm going to attempt to have a bedtime routine, and I'm going to try to get a handle on this fatigue...no more machines or pills...it's between me and my sheets now. I'm going to try to get some productive Z's...G'nite...I'm trying to sleep tight and not let the bedbugs bite (or at least keep the fatigue from biting my arse!).