My sleep has never been great, and in the last few years, it’s been terrible. I have recently had it described as ‘fragmented’, which is a technical term but makes a lot of sense. It describes well my ability to get to sleep easily, but then lie for great periods of time, awake, turning to frustrated and restless in bed.
Coming back from Russia, I slept so much, and I think I had fallen into a pattern that exacerbated my underlying sleep issues. This was a pattern of fatigue, early bed time, falling asleep quickly, then waking repeatedly during the night and feeling drained in the morning. Hence I’d have a snooze in the middle of the day … and repeat the same pattern.
There is an overlap of two issues for me, that of broken, fragmented sleep, and the fatigue which is endemic with MS. The AHSCT can help some people with fatigue, but for me, hasn’t removed the issue. On discussion with my sleep therapist, we are focussing on my sleep issues first, and monitor how the general fatigue is affected.
I don’t like taking sleeping pills, as they leave me very fuzzy in the morning also become less effective very quickly, and the last few months my sleeping has been terrible. So, I decided to go to a sleep clinic. Here’s the link https://www.sleepmattersperth.com.au, there’s some really interesting reading and all firmly based in the science of sleep.
It’s run by clinical psychologists, who analyse and review your sleep patterns and work with you on a CBT ( cognitive behaviour therapy) approach to modifying your behaviour patterns to improve your sleep quality. For me, my pattern appears to be a mixture of
- too much time in bed,
- associating bed with wakefulness,
- worrying about work while lying awake, in bed
I am right at the start of this process of consolidating ( the technical phrase) my sleep. The first step, and why I am blogging at a very early hour of the morning, is to stick to a very strict, and restricted, schedule of sleep and time in bed. It’s called ‘restricted sleeping’, bed time is 11pm and getting up 6am, with no more than a 30 minute sleep during the day if needed. The concept is that I will, over a few days, become more tired and actually start to sleep in a more consolidated manner. As my sleep quality improves, I can start extending the time in bed, until I reach a happy medium when I am sleeping well; this does not necessarily mean solidly during the night, but with only a few brief periods of being awake, and refreshed in the morning.
I’m actually feeling OK on this routine, so far. The evenings are very hard, and I’m barely managing 11pm, it’s been more like 10:30pm most nights. However, I am willing to really focus as it’s hopefully for a couple of weeks, and the benefits will be so valuable.