I am so tired that chewing gum is too much for me to handle right now.
My body is fighting sleep better than a toddler.
I can’t focus on whatever it is I happen to be doing.
My legs are heavy and clumsy.
I don’t even remember most of the drive home from work.
For about 7 or 8 months now, I’ve been going through bouts of insomnia where I get very little sleep (like 4 hours or less) for days on end. I walk around like a zombie all day long and want nothing more than to nap under my desk like George Costanza but when I crawl into bed at night and close my eyes, my brain is wide awake. Sleep eventually comes, but not until the wee hours of the morning.
I wake up more tired than when I went to bed and each day when I think that it’s not possible to be any more tired than I am at that moment, I prove myself wrong.
I lay awake for hours thinking about things that I need to do and things that I want to do but don’t have the time or energy to do. I don’t know if the anxiety is preventing me from sleeping or if the inability to sleep is causing the anxiety. When it’s not anxiety, it’s pain, or restless legs, or muscle cramps, or one of the other 99 symptoms that make it difficult to get (or stay) comfortable. When I finally do fall asleep, I wake often to either use the bathroom or readjust myself or the covers and have difficulty falling asleep again.
I’ll admit that it makes me angry/jealous when I hear my husband snoring away less than 5 minutes after getting into bed. Night time used to be my best time. I used to fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and sleep like I was dead for 8+ hours. I used to fall asleep sitting up on the couch or at the movies on a regular basis. I actually fell asleep on my first unofficial date with my husband after leaning my head on his shoulder for only a few minutes. I snored and woke myself up. Now I’m lucky if I get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep and I miss it desperately. You will never know how much your body needs sleep until it stops happening.
I’ve tried all of the recommendations for inducing sleep such as limiting screen time before bed, using a red bulb in my bedside lamp, avoiding caffeine at least 5 hours before bedtime, etc. We even invested in a new Tempur Pedic bed with cooling technology designed to draw body heat away from the mattress. I’ve also done a bit of research on the topic specific to MS (because it’s what I do) and it seems that the “internal clock” may be affected by the lesions in the central nervous system. This can make people with MS tired when we should be awake and awake when we should be tired. The CNS damage can also affect the brain’s ability to control breathing, resulting in sleep apnea which affects the quality of sleep. Lastly, a reduction in or lack of physical movement during the day can decrease the body’s ability to sleep.
So maybe it’s not me, but my MS. Add it to the list. Here’s to hoping that my new Neurologist has some new suggestions because I am out. Until then, I will continue to take advantage of the sleeplessness and get some additional read time in. Any good book recommendations? 🙂