My Many Interests

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Are you sleeping enough?

Someone on my Facebook page asked how much sleep everyone usually got. The answers ranged from enough to not enough. You know, the general consensus you would expect.

I have to wrangle my sleep patterns to get enough. I feel like Dr. Frankenstein when it comes to piecing habits together to make sure that I get enough.

There are several things that contribute to my lack of healthy sleep. Some I've always had and some are brought on with weight gain and old age. I never lack of reasons.

According to the Sleep Foundation, my kid requires more sleep than I do and I can see that. She expends more energy in her day than I do. But, she also doesn't have any of the problems that I exhibit, so when she get 9-10 hours of sleep, it's a good 9-10 hours. I, on the other hand, according to the Foundation, only require 7-9, but that requires me to sleep a full 10 just to get it. Here's all of the factors that affect me.

Image by No-longer-here from Pixabay 

Night owl - I have always been a night owl. From the earliest recollections, I've always been more wound up at night. That may have come from my father being a shift worker and me and my brothers staying up late for when he came home. It might also have been just a natural biorhythm that puts me out of sync with a majority of the world. I've never been a morning person. A good day for me is sleeping until 11am and then getting up and going by 1pm. I really hit my stride late in the afternoon and could stay up until 2am or 3am easily. This worked fine for the years that I was a club DJ, but doesn't work so well when you have a kid.

Caffeine - I've always drank colas, starting at a very early age. I know, I know. The damage is done, no need to point fingers at my parents. It was I that continued to harm myself. I've tried curtailing my use and I've done pretty good, but if I drink anything with caffeine, it better be before 3 or 4pm or I'm up all night.

Sleep apnea - In 2017 I was put in the hospital for pulmonary embolisms, blood clots in both my lungs. I was told that if I had waited another 24 hours, I wouldn't be here. It was found that one of the culprits was sleep apnea. As I began to put on weight about my late 20's early 30's, sleep apnea affected not only the amount of sleep I was getting, but how much oxygen my body was getting. This worked hand in hand with other factors to give me blood clots which almost killed me. I did a sleep study shortly after my leaving the hospital and found that I was waking up 113 times an hour. Yep, I was impressed too. So, now I use a cpap and get much better sleep, but not the way I'd like as you'll find in the next paragraph.

Medication - I am on numerous medicines, one of which makes me go to the bathroom. A lot! It's for blood pressure and it's called Furosemide and it's a beast. I was contemplating a few months back about how I could get better sleep and then I wandered down the path of "what" was keeping me up. Though the VA put me on a cpap to help me sleep better, they gave me medicine that made me NOT sleep better. I researched my drugs and found that though they had me taking it once in the morning and once at bedtime, bedtime was not a good time to take it. Through online research and speaking with a neighbor who is a nurse, I found that I could take it at least six hours after the first dose, preferably in the afternoon and it should be out of my system by bedtime. This has worked to some degree. Since some of my drugs have to be taken with food, I tend to eat earlier in the evening between 4 and 5. At least I try. And then there is the remembering to take the medicine at this time, when I've been taking it at bedtime for almost three years. Working on those new habits.

Kid to school - And the last hurdle to getting good sleep is the fact that I have to wake up at 6:15 AM to make sure that the Kid hasn't overslept. As I said earlier, I'm a night owl and so this isn't really conducive to getting sleep. I have found though that if I go back to bed fairly quickly, I can be up by 9 AM with no repercussions.

My ideal schedule would be to get to the point where I could go to bed at 8 PM and sleep all the way through with maybe one pitstop and wake at 6 AM. Hopefully, this would give me enough energy to work the whole day through.

*** While writing this post, I came across this article that describes how pre-Industrial Europe had two sleeps. Not exactly like naps, mind you. Naps mean you sleep as you normally would and then take a short twenty minute to hour nap after lunch to get your energy back up. In the Navy, we usually skipped lunch and went straight to our rack (bed) and called them Nooners. In two sleeps, you go to bed at dusk, sleep about four hours, wake for two or three, and sleep another four hours. I've read where Thomas Edison, didn't necessarily sleep, he catnapped. He'd sleep an hour or two, work a few hours, sleep a few more hours and so on. But he also was able to flexible with his lifestyle, unlike most in the 21st century.

Or are we inflexible. With Covid showing us how we can work from home, we may be getting back to that ability to do things like second sleep. I might even try this since, aside from the Kid waking at 6 AM, I'm pretty flexible the rest of the day. Now to work on normalizing first breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper.