Steps I’ve taken to get better sleep

I’ve really not had a good night’s sleep ever in my life. Let that sink in a minute and you’ll I must be exaggerating or what does she mean, she’d be really unhealthy!

I am not exaggerating and I am really unhealthy. I’ve described before reasons I couldn’t sleep, so I’ll just list a quick reminder here:

childhood – asthma, bedwetting, afraid of the dark, no bedtime/no routine/neglect, chronic bronchitis/fevers/coughing, oh and of course the nearly nightly sexual abuse from AF that eventually made me try to stay awake all night every night to stop because the coward always came in my room once I was asleep

adolescence – spinal cord injury caused back pain, leg pain and twitching, constant waking up to roll over, nightmares, still staying up all night and napping after school when AF was at work, homework

adulthood – I continued this pattern for 20 years, grabbing sleep when I can, afraid to sleep, waking up in terror whenever Hubby moves or makes a sound in the bed next to me

Better Sleep Steps:

  1. Gabapentin – I was prescribed this miracle drugs for the migraines, which it did not help, but it stopped the burning crushing pain in my spine and the constant twitching that was keeping me awake. I have to take so much that I’m a bit dopey and blurred vision, trying to find the balance here. For now, I think the sleep is more important, such a new thing for me, and an unexpected side effect. I’m not sleeping all day on this drug either, just at night.
  2. Zonegran – another anticonvulsant. It does nothing for nerve pain in my spinal cord, I tried reducing gabapentin and sci pain came back with a vengeance. I was stunned to think that was the pain I had been living with, no wonder I had to go numb. Apparently though the zonegran either makes me sleepy or helps my sleep cycle, because I crash soon after taking it each night and don’t wake up until 6 hours later. A straight 6. wow thats impressive. The first few times it happened I was freaked out. I put my head down, and next thing I knew birds were singing. I never had time disappear like that unless I had surgery or something, and I didn’t feel too groggy, just confused. My brain wasn’t sure what had happened, I usually am aware of every night passing, all night long I hear every noise, I drift in and out of sleep, I have multiple dreams and nightmares. I didn’t even dream that I could recall. Once I got over the weirdness, I realized that this is probably what sleep is actually supposed to be like. I started asking people. OK, I don’t have people. I started googling. Turns out sleep and dreams should not be remembered, kinda the point of it, to turn OFF your brain and let you rest.
  3. Vitamin D – my vitamin D levels had plummeted to critical last spring at 11, and after months of supplements got it up to 25. Dr decided to double my supplement. Target range for ideal sleep is 60-80 according to current research, but many doctors seems to disagree on this, and the exact number will vary on each person. vitamin D is not a vitamin, it actually functions as a hormone in the body, more like thyroid. Please see this link to Dr. Gominak’s site I found, and why I’m choosing to take OTC D3 and prescribed D2. My doctor gave me the ok on this and the right dosage for me. Please know that vitamin D supplements are fat soluble meaning you can take too much if not careful it can be toxic, so just because its OTC and made by the sun you can’t take it willy nilly all at once to get your levels up quickly, it takes a while to deplete and it takes a while to restore. Patience grasshopper. Vitamin D, Pain, Sleep Disorders
  4. Magnesium – This goes along with the vitamin D, it prevents hypercalcemia while supplementing which is the biggest toxicity concern of taking large doses of vitamin D. It also is a calcium channel blocker to prevent migraines, and reduces muscle tension. Again I have a dosage prescribed to me by my doctor.
  5. I sleep alone now- Sorry Hubby. I don’t know how long this will be. I think it will be forever because I can’t see a way to fix it and damn now that I know what it is like to sleep I am guarding this like fort knoxx. I’ve been sleeping downstairs in the recliner so no triggering noises or bumps in the night startle me to panic. If the kids or dogs wake me I am fine. But if Hubby does it, my sleepy brain must think it is AF and it is instant terror every time. I’ve dealt with this our entire marriage and each time I think Hubby understands, he forgets and grabs me and I scream. I’ve asked Hubby to not wake me any more himself, but if he must, then to do it by talking, saying something like, “good morning” from the other side of the room, not hovering over me, and not touching me at all while I am asleep. It makes him sad and feel rejected, and I am sad for him, but I for once in my life I am doing what I need to heal and take care of me and feel safe. It didn’t matter before, I wouldn’t have slept anyway. But now that I can, I’m not going to sacrifice it by pushing the panic button needlessly. Maybe one day a therapist can ‘fix’ this. But I honestly don’t think so, not after so many years of AF attacking me in my sleep, and I honestly have no desire to fix it if all I have to do is sleep alone. It already seems fixed. Done, problem solved, hallelujah its a freaking miracle I can freaking sleep at all. I have no desire to cuddle while I sleep, I never have. We make the kids sleep alone, why can’t Hubby? Why does he continue to make me feel bad about this? Sorry, I didn’t mean for the marriage issues to sneak into this post.

6 thoughts on “Steps I’ve taken to get better sleep

  1. I usually sleep alone too…always have. My hubs loves to cuddle in bed but I avoid it like the plague. He stopped touching me to wake me years ago when I accidentally socked him in the face with my flailing startle/panic reaction to being woken from a dream with touch. Your man shouldn’t make you feel bad about that…he knows it’s nothing to do with him. Xx. You guard that sleep sister. You certainly need it.

  2. I ‘like’ that you are finding solutions, small steps toward some of the problems one step at a time. I struggle with S.A.D. (seasonal affected depression or disorder depending on who you ask). I use a spectrum light to help with my absorption of ‘D’ along with a lower dose supplement and Magnesium, this combination helps and keeps the risk of toxicity at bay. I can sit at my desk at home with the light for hours, no tan, no risk of skin cancer but constant light absorption. You might want to ask your doctor about it.

    I only sleep 4 to 5 hours a night most nights. Pain, seizures and nightmares being large contributing factors to this phenomenon. Fortunately, my mind and body have adjusted to my patterns and I have learned to catnap when required. I don’t though have the added responsibility of children and husband at this time. It makes a difference.

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