Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sleep developments

It's been so long since I posted. 

These are poorly formed late-night thoughts that I put down because writing relaxes me and will maybe allow me to sleep. 

I don't have pictures in this first part because my hard drive is the middle of trying to start my taxes, the TAXACT screen froze on me and I smacked my computer. I know, brilliant. All those pictures, all those least I have this blog for the best ones since 2010. 

The below, I wrote months ago. I had found an herbal method that worked, had tapered down the dosage from where I started with 4 pills of each to one of each, and was sleeping well. (See below) Then I got sick, and the anxiety made me need my ambien again. And a doctor at the practice I go to said those herbs are dangerous if taken long-term, and Ambien is not meant to be taken long term, and I was so angry that someone who so clearly knows so little about insomnia was condescending to me about it, I wanted to tell her that I've been taking Ambien for 10 years and have been able to taper off the dosage, rather than increase it, over time. A lifetime of experience trumps an hour of instruction in med school, lady.

So my frustration is keeping me up at night too. But I will write this ill-informed doctor, I will go to the sleep specialist she recommended, and I will pursue this until I find out what is going on and how to fix it!

Like many of my fellow bloggers, I suspect, I have always struggled with sleep and getting an amount that makes for well-rested, energy-infused days. Lots of times I fight nodding off at my desk in the afternoons, occasionally I feel foggy in the brain when trying to comprehend things people tell me, and sometimes I feel overwhelmed at the thought of doing things that ought to bring me pleasure, like tidying up the garden and the house, cooking, and organizing. 

I get bursts of energy despite the sleep deprivation, and I fight the fatigue with a determination to be creative and active and productive because I know that to try to nap would be futile, tempting as it may be. 

So I am always trying new things to try to kick the prescription pharmaceutical habit, which allowed me to sleep far more than I would have otherwise over the ten years I was a habitual user but which filled me with doubt as to whether it could really be a healthy long-term way to go.

I am happy to report that it seems I have found a non-pharmaceutical solution. A combination of three herbs, Seriphos,
Cortisol Management, and Gaia Sleep Formula, taken together about two hours before I want to fall asleep,  seem to produce the necessary sleepiness and ability to shut down. 

I can't say how happy it makes me to be sleeping without the help of Sanofi Aventis or GlaxoSmithKline. The herbal habit is more expensive than the prescription meds, and because of the way our wacky health care system in the US works, insurance won't pay for them, and yes it has crossed my mind that insomnia may be very amenable to the placebo effect. 

But I'm sleeping! Most nights.

The other thing recommended is the sleep restriction thing, where you're supposed to spend less time in bed doing things other than sleeping. The theory being that if you read in bed, talk in bed, argue in bed, make out with the dogs in bed, and listen to your boyfriend check out new ideas for ballet class on Youtube in bed, then you're associating bed with all those active things and your body is not getting the message to sleep when you're there.

The strict version demands no reading in bed, no lounging in bed, no spooning with the dogs in bed unless you intend to actually sleep entwined with a mastiff, which you would if you were Florian but might not if you were most other people. 

I think insomniacs in general already have a little problem with being too hard on ourselves, and reading in bed is one of my great pleasures. So I am not adhering to the most draconian of the sleep restriction directives, but doing sensible things like getting out of bed and doing something else after a few hours of wakefulness. 

So here I am on the living room couch writing this blog post at 2:26 am. And it's true, I am starting to feel a sensation of relaxation take me over, a sensation that would not have found me if I were still lying in bed fretting. 

As all bloggers know, writing has a way of doing that.

Alright then, I'm going to spend a few minutes on a relaxation video and then off to bed! I wish you all a peaceful slumber.


  1. Hi Kirsten, we haven't posted since Christmas. My dad's too busy and stuff. Life stuff. But he still takes all of us out for long walks on the weekends. Week days are left to our BFF dog walkers, Chris and Kathy. My dad does not have trouble falling asleep. Its getting enough that's the problem. Anyways, we hope that you find yourself an attorney and that this will all blow over.

  2. Not being able to sleep is awful. Like you I have a problem calming my mind down. I've been working with my Naturopath for two to three years now trying to get this under control.

    Here's what is working for me. 2 L-Theanine, 1 Rhodiola rosea 3% at breakfast. Shortly after lunch I take one B complex vitamin, and another Rhodiola rosea 3% around 4:00 pm I take one more L-Theanine (technically I could take two, but I'm doing okay with the one.) I try to limit my electronic usage, so around 10:00 pm I shut down the computer, shut off the TV take a cup of hot herbal tea (sometimes it's just hot water) and go to my bedroom and just sit and let my mind unwind. I use my iPad (I know I said no electronics but the iPad has books and puzzles) lately I've really been into the JigSaw puzzles I downloaded to the iPad and the good thing about that is, once Hubby comes to bed, I can shut the light off and continue to play/read until sleepy. Usually by 11:00 I'm ready to go to sleep, I shut off the iPad and get my snuggy spot, then I try and come up with 10 things I am grateful for that happened that day.

    Phew, it sounds like a lot, but it's really now. anyhooo...that's what's working for me. I hope what's working for you continues to work.

  3. Waw nice blog !! You are such a great pet dog lover .i think you love you dog a lot off.

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