As the name of this blog tells you, I have major sleep issues. (Yes, I'm about to get all Andy Sullivan on you.) I'm generally up until between 5 and 8am, and whatever sleep I do get is lousy - I wake up constantly, and by the time I get out of bed I feel like I've been hit by a truck. I'm exhausted all day, but inevitably around 10 or 11pm I start to feel awake and alert.
Over the past six months I've been seeing various doctors in an attempt to deal with I consider to be two separate issues (dyssomnias, as they're called): the first is the poor quality of my actual sleep, the second my inability to sleep at night.
Through a polysomnogram conducted during an overnight stay in a sleep lab, the sleep quality issue has been diagnosed as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which, briefly, means that while I'm sleeping my airway closes up and I stop breathing for a brief period of time. This happens constantly throughout my sleep, causing me to briefly wake up over and over again, which is why I never feel rested or refreshed. I'm trying to solve this problem with the use of a CPAP machine, which pumps pressurized air through my nose to keep the airway open. It's a little machine that connects, via a hose, to a mask which goes over my nose, and which I'm trying to retail as "sexy in a Blue Velvet kind of way." (Not much luck so far.) It hasn't really been helpful so far, but I'm gonna keep trying.
So today I saw my sleep doctor (a pulmonologist) to talk about my being unable to fall asleep. I'm convinced that I have delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS), which not surprisingly means that my body clock is out of whack so that I'm tired during the day and awake at night. But, and here's where my frustration kicks in, I can't get my doctor to really listen to me.
When I had my overnight stays at the sleep lab (once for the polysomnogram, once to fit me for the CPAP) I fell asleep at around 11pm, slept for about an hour or so, and then was up for the rest of the night. So according to the doctor, the fact that I briefly fell asleep at around 11 shows that I don't have DSPS. I tried to explain to him that this happens occasionally, and that it's the equivalent of a mid-day nap for a normal person. This didn't impress him.
He told me I should try sleep medications. (Gee, I never thought of that. Brilliant.) I informed him that I've tried every sleep aid known to man, from ambien to lunesta to trazodone to restoril to medications that haven't been used in twenty years. Not one of them puts me to sleep. His answer to this was, "well, you haven't tried them with the CPAP." Now, just so we're clear here, the purpose of the CPAP is not to put you to sleep, it's to keep you asleep. It has nothing whatsoever to do with DSPS or any other dyssomnia that prevents you from falling asleep. And, on top of that, it's not even doing what it's supposed to do for me.
I'm not generally shy about expressing my opinion, but my attitude is that you shouldn't piss off the people who control your physical and mental well being. So as much as I wanted to, at no point did I leap out of my chair and strangle the doc.
The upshot of all this? I'm going to try the remedy for DSPS, which is to force your body clock to "reset" by pushing forward the time you go to sleep until you're where you want to be. In otherwords, if I usually fall asleep around 6am, I'll push it to 7am for a couple of days, then 8am, etc, until I'm pusing it to midnight or 1am. This'll take about a month, and is supposedly not much fun, but it's either that or completely give up on any semblance of a normal life, which I'm not quite ready to do.
I'll keep you up-to-date through a series of really short blog posts, but I promise not to turn this into a "here's what's wrong with me" diary. In otherwords, enough about me: what do you think about me?
I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog programming.