Sunday, March 30, 2008

Effects of no sleep

I remember being four and having a hot pillow. My face couldn't handle it and my brain could not shut up about it. As a solution, I would begin in one corner of the pillow and gradually work my head across and around, a couple minutes on each of the eight squares I'd mentally divided my pillow top into. After those eight spots got hot, I'd flip over the pillow and begin on that nice, cool side.

This is some serious organization for a four year old, who should have been out cold and not even aware of having a hot pillow. Instead, I'd do this for a few hours.

I was always a hard wake up in the mornings. I remember standing daily for 30 minutes in front of my closet, unable to focus enough to choose a dress for school. My mother used to quip that I needed a solid nine hours of sleep. Little did she understand, as she was asleep the second her head hit the pillow, that there were reasons for me being so slow in the morning.

Many people suffer from insomnia like this. I found out another scouting parent has the same problem, only he hasn't been so lucky as to find the proper med for himself. He kinda melted when I said that Seroquel gives me a solid eight or nine hours, although I do take a lower dosage to save money and to reduce the high blood sugar risk; it also could have been a contributing cause to my tremor last fall. But can you tell how desperate I am? How desperate all insomniacs are?

Today, an opinion piece in the LATimes struck a chord: Can insomnia kill? In essence, the answer is, "Yes." Because the measure of everything in LA is celebrities, the writer mentions a number of probable sleep-related deaths from Health Ledger to Anna Nicole Smith to Elvis to Marilyn Monroe. New to me, even Eminem and Drew Barrymore talk about their sleep issues.

I don't think insomnia is taken seriously by the general population and the negative effects of it aren't understood. Gayle Greene, the author, points out that there are hotlines to call if you're depressed or have restless legs, but there's no such help for the insomniac.

Isn't that an irony? An insomniac could man lines for fellow insomniacs?


Anonymous said...

I get insomnia in small bouts. I will be awake for what seems like four straight days with only maybe two or three hours of sleep.

Most of the time, I fall right asleep. My girlfriend Renee has sleep trouble as well. She seems to sleep better when I am around. She lets me know this as well.

Val said...

Great article; I may forward it to my mom!

Brigitte Ballard said...

I had problems for the last 5 years until I went to Florida. My problem was that I could never fall asleep in time and then kept waking up. Well after changing time zones for about 17 days I finally adjusted to that zone. Now I get tired earlier and then can fall asleep. I still wake up a lot, but I get to bed so much earlier. It stresses me out less and I seem more relaxed.

It did take me the entire time in Florida to adjust. I had to make myself wake up at 8:00 a.m. every day even if I didn't get enough sleep. One day I survived on 2 hours of sleep.

No sleep is a real problem. I am glad you have found a drug that works for it. Everything I took made me stay up. /sigh

brite69 said...

Stupid work computer won't let me open the article. Grr. I think I've blogged about my insomnia before. It's been steadily getting worse over these last few years to the point I only got about 45 minutes of rest last night. Not sleep, mind you. Simply rest.

I've always been leery of prescription sleep aids, especially since I have a tendency to talk in my sleep and have had a few instances of sleep walking. Reading and hearing about the people who've driven places in their sleep freak me out.

HotFudgeNubbins said...

i usually only can manage about 5 solid hours a nite-knowing my body needs at least 8. for instance this AM i was up at 4 -for no reason. when i was trying out different meds on my migraines i had one (topamax) that wouldn't let me sleep at all. i literally would sit on the couch in the dark begging for someone to let me just get some rest. i can't figure out how to sleep well anymore. i don't have it "bad enough" for serious meds. it sucks!!!

Aunt Becky said...

Insomnia is the pits. I'm sorry you struggle with it. I know how hard the effects of sleep dep are.