Now here I sit at 2:00 am in September 2010 and not much has changed. It's easy to make excuses and I also face some tough challenges. I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea about a year and half ago. It adds another layer of complexity to my sleep issues.
I used to cling to my insomnia like it somehow made me different or cool. I could stay up score bonus time with the things I love. Movies, music, video games and internet are an insomniacs best friend and worst enemy. Lately, though, I've grown weary of it. I'm tired of my life being defined by my condition and I feel like it's the one thing holding me back from the next level in my life. It's time for change.
I've said all the platitudes and tried all the gimmicks. Time to tighten the bootstraps and just get it done. I'm hoping by finally writing things down I can start to make a positive change. I'm opening the dialog, so feel free to bring it up or call me on it when I fail. Here are some of the things I'm hoping to work on.
I know, duh, sleep is the cure for insomnia. I need to focus on quality AND quantity. My past thinking was only the former mattered. I seem to function best when I've had 6-7 hours of quality sleep several nights in a row. Most other remedies I hope to implement focus on quality, but I know I need to set a schedule to get the quantity I need.
Being a creative individual I cherish my dreams, both waking and sleeping. I find that my dreams are a good indicator of the quality of sleep I'm getting. Most nights lately I don't dream at all. I still recall the night of my sleep study to diagnose my apnea. After determining I had apnea, the put a CPAP mask on me. I immediately fell into REM sleep, the state during which you dream, and stayed there 3 times the average length. The dreams I had were unreal. I'm considering keeping a sleep journal next to the bed and including a section to record my dreams.
DEW OF THE MOUNTAINOUS VARIETY
Caffeine is a drug. Time to call it for what it is. I don't think I'll need rehab, but the time to quit is now. I drank my last one earlier tonight. Fortunately I have my wife on my side this time. With both of us don'ting the dew at the same time hopefully it'll stick. I've tried replacement therapy before with mixed results. This time the replacement is good ol' H2O. I need to hydrate something fierce.
I need to get this apnea thing under control. When I was first diagnosed with apnea my insomnia actually got worse because I was afraid of suffocating in my sleep. Then came Mr CPAP machine. It was like heaven the first few months. I was getting awesome sleep and felt like my sleep issues were finally under control. Then the honeymoon ended. I can honestly say I HATE the mask. Some nights I wake and literally tear it from my face. Without it I don't sleep but with it I go insane. My plan is twofold to get this under control.
- I need to treat the symptoms. I'm not the most diligent at maintaining my CPAP mask and machine. A little effort will go a long way in helping me cope with the here and now of my condition.
- I need to find the cure. There are two major causes for my apnea. I have enlarged tonsils that need to come out. Not a fun prospect for a man of my age. Also, my doc won't even consider it until I've fixed the other issue. I'm a fatty. I'm 5' 10" with a fairly thin frame. I weighed a whopping 125 lbs when I graduated high school and felt soft and out of shape at 155 lbs when I was married in 2000. I'm tipping the scales at 215 now. Disgusting for a guy that used to run a 5 minute mile.
CITIUS, ALTIUS, FORTIUS
Exercise. Period. It has to happen. I'm still trying to figure out when. The what is easy. I love runners high. I love a long grinding climb on my mtn bike followed by a sweet singletrack descent. I love, love, love disappearing into the wilderness with a full pack, a map and compass. I find myself in a viscous cycle of not working out because I don't sleep well and not sleeping well because I don't work out. I've tried easing myself back into it. Time for some shock therapy.
- Melatonin is my friend. I should pay a visit more often.
- Luminous entertainment (computer, TV, video games) needs to cut out early.
- Books are awesome. I've been meaning to read Cosmos by Carl Sagan. That should help me drift off.
- We need a new bed. Probably the biggest thing I feel the most helpless about. With the new house it just isn't in the budget right now. I want to do it right this time, too. King size with technology developed by NASA that wraps you in the wings of a thousand baby unicorns, which is expensive.
- It all gets worse when I'm sick or my TMJ flares up. Yay for another cylce (sick => don't sleep, lack of sleep => sick). Need to stay healthy.
- Probably shouldn't be blogging at 3:00 am...