Friday, May 18, 2007

Facing Demons

I've had a rather odd week.

Over the last several months, I've been experiencing insomnia. I've always been a happy, sound sleeper, but in recent months I've been waking repeatedly during the night. It's not due to stress, or anxiety, or anything specific. My doctor tells me that for women "of a certain age," shall we say, insomnia is the number one complaint... before hot flashes, even.

I've been going along, getting tireder and tireder, until I hit a point where I was getting sort of crazed. So, last week my doctor prescribed some sleeping medication for me. The good news? I had the first, sound, through-the-night sleep that I'd had in ages. The bad news? The next day I had a whopping headache and blurry vision. I tried the medication again the next night, with the same result the following day. Okay, the side effects are worse than the insomnia. Scratch that.

Then he proscribed another option. I tried that, and not only didn't sleep but spent the following day feeling nauseated and weirdly spacy and wobbly. Scratch that.

Now, I'm just gonna try to exercise enough every day to make myself tired, and not take anything...except maybe the occasional nap! But today's the first day I've felt actually normal in a long time.

Which leads me to the sea demon above. In one of those "Why did I say that?" moments, I volunteered to make an auction quilt for my daughter's school featuring flags her class drew to commemorate their overnight fieldtrip on a sailing ship in the San Francisco bay. So now, pleased to be feeling back to my tired normal self, I'm working on my "Balclutha" quilt. Thank goodness for freezer paper and WonderUnder!


  1. Ah, Diane. I, too, have been suffering from the insomnia.. though mine seems to be stress related (I'm past that "hot flash" stage.) I'm on a med that helps me sleep, but I'm still not getting those regular 8 hours.

    Isnt' it strange how we take something simple for granted until we can't do it anymore?

  2. Anonymous6:53 AM

    Nothing is more debilitating than sleep deprivation! I've gone through some of it over the years and I find all the sleep aids leave me as groggy the next day as if I hadn't slept.

    Hope yours resolves very soon!

    I've tagged you on my blog for seven random facts, if you are not too tired to do!

  3. Melatonin works for me.

  4. Anonymous12:45 PM

    Benedryl works for me. It gives me a deep sleep, which is extremely helpful to a light sleeper. I've used it for years and it's very safe. Sympathy here.

  5. Ah yes, my Mum has the same problem. She reads a book for a while and goes back to sleep eventually.

    That quilt is going to be some challenge!

  6. My mother told me that she never fretted about waking up in the night. She said she got up and turned up the stereo and danced around her house for a while, then relaxed in a chair. She went back to bed and slept well. She said she rather liked her nighttime activities and did not worry about it.
    When I began to experience the problem of waking up in the night, I remembered what she told me. Nowadays, I just get up and walk around and spend some time on the computer. I go back to bed and sleep well. I don't have to get up early for work or take care of children so it works well for me.

  7. Anonymous2:34 AM

    Hi, Diane!
    I came here looking for quilts and found the description of my sleep problem! I have found that things got better after I started swimming - I now try to swim for 20 - 30 minutes a day or if I can't I get out in the fresha air and walk for about the same amount of time - not too fast, but not like I'm eating an ice cream either!
    I hope you soon rediscover your rhythm and good luck with that quilt.
    All best wishes,

  8. I have been going through your "hell" for several years now. Sometimes I just get up at 4 or 5 AM and enjoy the peace and darkeness. HOWEVER, my most recent discovery is having my last bit of caffeine at noon. I sleep like a baby. You have probably already thought of that and tried it, but it has really helped me. I also have sinus problems and routinely take an antihistamine/antidecongestant plus a time-released Melatonin at bedtime. The former alleviates postnasal drip and the latter just keeps me slumbering away.

    Good luck with this!!

    p.s. I love how your class piece turned out!!

  9. Diane,
    Try downloading "This American Life" from NPR on your iPod. I love this show and really try to listen to it when I'm having insomnia, but it always puts me back to sleep sooner or later. Ira Glass' voice is so soothing, I guess. To really listen to it, I absolutely have to be "veritcal." =)