By the time you read this I will be in a hospital. After years of suffering, indecision and procrastination, I’ve finally taken the plunge, and have myself voluntarily committed.
To a sleep clinic. What were you thinking?
For as long as I can remember, I have had trouble with sleep. Not so much actually sleeping – I have no trouble falling asleep. In fact, that’s in part the problem; I can – and do – fall asleep anywhere, anytime. It’s not narcolepsy, in the sense that it’s not uncontrollable, but I go through life with essentially an almost permanent sense of exhaustion. I can fall asleep sitting in a chair during my lunch break; I can fall asleep watching TV. I fall asleep at night with no difficulty. Worryingly, I even doze off when I’m driving (especially in the evening, but sometimes in the morning as well).
Insufficient oxygen during the night can have a definite impact on your general level of alertness and well-being.
Essentially, no matter how much I sleep, I never feel well-rested. I used to think it was just a side-effect of the depression I was suffering, but as things changed and my mind reshaped itself, the perpetual tiredness has remained the same. Often when I’ve had a particularly long night’s rest, I actually feel more tired than if I’d only slept for five or six hours.
It was not so long ago that I was talking with my psychiatrist, and he happened to ask me how I’ve been sleeping. I gave my usual answer – I sleep well, no trouble falling asleep, etc. – but also thought to mention the fact that my wife has told me that I snore a lot. As in, a lot. She ends up getting far less rest than I do, because I’m constantly keeping her awake. (I haven’t bothered to tell her that she snores too, because I rarely wake up when I’m sleeping). And he pointed out that snoring can be a symptom of a lack of oxygen whilst sleeping. He also pointed out that insufficient oxygen during the night can have a definite impact on your general level of alertness and well-being.
And so he recommended that I look into having a sleep study done, and although I’ve put it off for quite a few months, I finally made the call. Up until now, I kept wondering if it was really true, or if it was just something inherent to me. I kept wanted to get one of those health bands that can track your steps and workouts and sleep patterns, and just the other day I finally bought the Jawbone Up (my wife was less than thrilled that I spent money on this trinket when there are better uses it could be put to), and it’s been fascinating to see what it’s telling me. Last night I spent about 7½ hours asleep (more than average, but it’s my day off today), but far more fascinating was the long of deep vs. light sleep. It even shows that I woke up briefly in the middle of the night (I don’t know if I went to pee or just rolled over in bed).
But as fascinating as this is, it’s not terribly scientific, and the accuracy may be dubious. So that’s why I’m having this done professionally. I’m actually very interested to see what the results of tonight’s tests are – and if there’s anything that can be done about it. It would be wonderful to feel awake once again; and far more wonderful to have a less cranky wife.