Sunday, April 13, 2008

Snooze Feast or Famine

When it comes to sleep, I don’t seem to have a middle ground -- it’s either I get almost none and exist as a zombie, or I sleep so much that I feel like someone slipped me a poison apple.

The tides turned for me this week. For the last month, maybe more, I had a bear of a time getting any sleep at all. I just couldn’t seem to drop off for any reasonable length of time. When I finally did manage to sleep for a little bit here and there, it was always during the day time, never at night.

My schedule had become totally turned around -- I was awake all night, every night, and slept for a few minutes here and there during the day. Relationships with people in my same time zones? Forget about it! I was always unconscious, or too tired to function, when they were awake and ready to talk or do something, and I was then awake all night when my local friends (and the HipHubby) were sound asleep. Thank goodness for the Internet and friends in Australia!

I finally decided I had to do something drastic, and started taking a prescription sleep aid. I started with a low dose, and actually got a few hours sleep at night. So if a half dose does that, a full dose ought to give me the eight hours I dream of, right?

Oh, so wrong.

It turns out that when you add a full dose of Ambien CR to all the narcotics I’m already taking, the sleep aid downer becomes an full-blown amphetamine upper. I become wide awake, complete with a pretty good approximation of the same jitters that come from having a cigarette and a Mountain Dew for breakfast. Definitely not a good thing to happen ever, but really bad when it happens at 4 o’clock in the morning to someone who can’t even transfer out of bed on their own (thank you, stupid broken leg).

After scaling back to the half dose earlier this week, life was grand. I managed to get nine hours of uninterrupted sleep for the first time in I can’t remember how long. I FELT GREAT! I was alert, and I was taking a lot less pain medication. The only down side was that I was sleeping in later than I liked, not by choice but because I just couldn’t stay awake. I repeated the dose for the next two nights with the same results -- great sleep all night and into the mid-morning, and even a few naps during the day.

Feeling confident that I was now well rested, last night I decided to forego the sleep aid and see what happened without it. I initially had a few problems getting to sleep and staying asleep (the staying asleep part has been a major challenge in the past), but I finally managed to drop off and slept peacefully for another nine hours, a full hour past the time when the HipHubby got out of bed. That NEVER happens. Not only did I sleep in, I slept all afternoon and well into the evening, and I’m feeling a bit sleepy now (it’s just after 1 am).

So it seems that sleep has become another item in my life that is a case of no middle ground, it’s either feast or famine. This living in the extremes has been such a recurrent issue in my life that the first tattoo I got -- way back in 1988 -- was of the comedy and tragedy masks (it’s over my right shoulder blade -- I’ll see if I can get a decent photo of it to post). I figured that they were an appropriate symbol for me since my life was either all good or all bad.
Now that this theme has extended to sleeping and I either seem to be a total insomniac or a functional narcoleptic, perhaps I ought to get my masks tattoo updated to give the happy mask a pillow and add a few “ZZZ”s (since I am at my best when rested) and add a few dark circles under eyes of the tragedy mask. Hmmm, I’m actually liking that idea more and more.

Off now to see what will happen tonight. Any wagers on what will happen over these next few days?

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