What I Started Doing Recently to Better My Sleep Health
I love a follow up story...you too? Or is it just me? This old TV girl still loves to hear MORE about a story, more details, and definitely a follow up. So if you don't, then you don't have to read more into my "sleep study adventures."
But I am pretty sure most of us...women especially, have a HARD time sleeping. A good night's rest seems like a unicorn waiting to be seen. Will we ever feel rested? Will we ever sleep through the night again? I swear some nights I have regressed back to infancy...waking up all through the night.
I do believe as I explained in my first post about this(You can read that here) that nearly 15 years of shift work contributed to me not getting adequate sleep. Nearly 2 years away from the "zero dark thirty" club and I still struggle.
I knew it would take awhile to balance it out but nearly 2 years and I still wake at 2:30 on my own...I go back to bed but never fully asleep and usually wake naturally between 4:45 and 5 am...and it never matters if I go to bed at midnight or at 9 pm...still tired.
So, I did a thing...a sleep study (read the post above that I directed you to for more on the why).
A few weeks ago, I did it. I was nervous and I do not know why. Something about people telling me stories of their experiences and what to expect and then spending the night in a new place, alone...it all made me a little anxious BUT it was anything but scary. As I shared before, my dear friend Lauri Leadley, is the owner and founder of Valley Sleep Center, she and her staff walked me through it all and on the other side was an experience that was better than I could have ever imagined.
It was simple and easy. I did a tele-medicine appointment for my consult. That was great, especially in COVID world...you don't have to leave your house and you connect via zoom with their doctor. Loved their flexibility and forward thinking with this.
Th next night, I arrived at one of their sleep centers. I checked in, in my jammies, freshly washed face and brushed my teeth before I left. They went over EVERYTHING in great detail but not in the "overwhelming, omg, why am I doing this" way. Their sleep technician attached all sorts of electrodes to my head and leg and finger. Why? Because they monitor EVERYTHING. From when you actually fall asleep, to how many times you dream, to the amount of times you wake, how you are breathing, to how many times your legs move.
It is so fascinating.
The room was the perfect temperature, they had a TV, and the mattress was COMFY. And it was quiet. For any Mama, a quiet room is a gift from God. Yes, I love those babes of mine but to not hear "HEY MOOOOOOOM!" 3,235 times is kind of nice. #truthteller here.
So, that was it, I fell asleep around 10:45 pm and woke on my own around 4:45 am. As soon as I began to arise, the sleep technician came in and asked if I was ready to end the sleep study. He took off all of the wires and I was free to leave. I was sitting on my porch by 5:15 am drinking my coffee.
IT. WAS. TOO. SIMPLE.
The one question everyone asked was "how did you sleep with all of those wires?" It was not too bad, surprisingly. If you are a stomach sleeper that might be a little weird but I am not and usually sleep on my back or side, so it was only slightly uncomfortable at specific times. Really looks more strange than it felt.
The next day I went back in for my follow up and results. Great news was there were no MAJOR problems but plenty of areas that we could improve on.
Dr. Martinez was so wonderful and helpful. She is not into "here take all of this or change everything" to improve. She recommended small changes first and then we see where I am in 30 days.
First thing to help would be my inability to fall asleep lately. We both agreed that my caffeine intake late in the day is likely contributing to that. So I have cut out caffeine after my morning cup. No caffeine after 12 pm and I have noticed a difference in being able to settle myself at night in bed a bit easier. But this is only a couple of weeks of this...hoping with more consistency it will improve even more.
Secondly, she recommended slowly pushing my bedtime up a bit. About 20 minutes to start for a week or two and then moving it up a bit more. That is helping. So, for instance, if I go to bed normally at 10:30 pm, I am trying to be in bed without the phone or TV at 10 pm, that way I fall asleep closer to 10:30 instead of 11 or later.
Lastly, I, over the last few years had begun using oils as a natural way to soothe and calm my racing head at night and to help fall asleep. I got away from them because I don't know why to be honest but I am back to regulary using them as well. Lavender doesn't seem to work for me so I am, thanks to a dear friend who is an oil expert, trying Vetiver, as a way to naturally fall asleep. Barely a week into this one, so more follow up on this soon. I am hopeful too that this a great addition.
So, overall, it was absolutely one of those things I am so glad I participated in. So often, we, me included complain over and over about something. Anything in life for that matter but we are never willing to take the steps towards finding an answer or even just learning something new.
That can be applied to anything, right?
And right now, there are a lot of factors affecting our health and our sleep and many things feel chaotic and out of control so I am going to keep focusing on what I can control. It will always be what I do to make myself feel better and hopefully improve my health.
As, always, I am an open book, comment, email or ask away. And if you always wondered if a sleep study might be a good step for you, I highly suggest Lauri and her crew at Valley Sleep Center. To learn more on sleep health through them, visit here.
We all need GOOD rest if we are going to keep walking forward in this life.