Wednesday passed by and no blog was written or posted. Life happens. I was thinking this morning, coming home from a doctor’s appointment, that I can go into all the negative reasons my blog didn’t happen yesterday and then I heard the internal “Screeeeeech” (picture a car braking, hard) and realized that there was no need for me to be Negative Nelly on my blog post. I thought about the appointment that I was coming home from and instead decided to post about that because there was so much positive that came out of it. Before I start on it, please read this post (hint, click on the word post ;-) ).
SLEEP. Let me tell you about sleep. Two months ago, I had an appointment with a sleep specialist that my amazing doctor used her pull to get me an appointment for. He wasn’t taking new patients - but thank G-d for my PCP, I got in. I was excited to meet with him and find out what new MEDICINE he had to help me sleep. Because, while I was in bed for at least 10-11 hours a day, I was getting very broken, very poor sleep for about 7-7 ½ hours. Some people will say, wow, 7 ½ hours? That’s amazing, as I only get 5. Well, we all have our magic numbers for how many hours of sleep will allow us restorative sleep, and I believe mine is/was 8.5-9 hours.
So, I met with the doctor’s resident and talked to him for a long time after waiting three months for an appointment, filling out a 20 page questionnaire, and doing a sleep study for two weeks. My verdict given to me by this specialist was exactly what I WASN’T looking for: a behavioral approach. I was to take two months and complete a sleep diary. Fine. That wasn’t the part I was, excused my language, pissed about. The part I was unhappy about was that this doctor’s approach was to only be allowed in bed for the amount of hours you sleep. So, I was only allowed to be in bed for 7.5 hours. WHAT???? I was given the opportunity to choose the hours that I wanted to spend in bed. Boy, was that hard! I could choose to stay up very late (for me) or wake up very early (for me). When you live a live with chronic illness, sleep, or lack thereof, is one of the top issues that we deal with. So, I was going to deal with it.
I started the plan. I was not to get in bed before 1AM and I had to wake up at 8:30. Those were both painful hours to fall asleep and wake up to, but it was the best compromise I felt I could handle at that time. The first week, even less than a week, was brutal. BUT, then my brain started shifting. I was falling asleep quicker and waking up less and for shorter amounts of time. The big thing, for me, was that after about a month, I started dreaming! I couldn’t tell you the last time I dreamt because I so rarely reached stage four of sleep. And now, you look at my sleep charts and you see that I am sleeping for long periods of time - up to four to five hours. The amount of times I wake up has significantly diminished, and the quantity of time I remain awake has also decreased. Cue happy dance.
This behavioral plan was presented after major research and has been successfully implemented with hundreds of clients. I gave you the short story with a happy ending. So many of us with fibromyalgia struggle with sleep for so many reasons. Are you struggling with your sleep? Would you like some significant help with scientific research behind it? Comment below, send me a message, or set up a complimentary consultation (all of these can be done on this webpage). I look forward to hearing from you!
I’m Kate Straus and I’m a Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor. I help Jewish women feel confident in their ability to practice their faith while navigating the ups and downs of fibromyalgia. I’m using the disease that at one time knocked me down, to help support others live life to their fullest.