A Year Later..Am I Sleeping Better?

posted by Dan Mitchinson - 

A year ago this week I went in for a sleep study. They sent me home with a machine to monitor how much I do/don't sleep as well as my oxygen intake level when I do sleep and how many times a night I wake up. And it's that last thing that surprised me the most. Turns out I woke up 30 or 40  times an hour! Not a night, but an HOUR! 

I thought after years of of trying to improve my sleep habits naturally, and with the help of prescription drugs (none of which have worked) this would finally help me get a full night's sleep. It has, and it hasn't. Tests show I'm not waking up as often, which means a deeper sleep, but the mask is annoying, and wakes me up when I toss or turn. I also have to wear a chin strap. The doctor has me eating dinner around 3 in the afternoon, cutting out caffeine four hours before bed, and no TV or tech at least an hour before I head upstairs and fall asleep.

Am I still tired? Yup. Do I think the machine is working...it depends. My wife says I don't snore or stop breathing like I used to, so that's a plus. In the meantime, I'm trying to work out more (being married and getting up at 1:30 in the morning for work means by the time I get home, I have zero energy or motivation). 

I'm also working on some cognitive issues. Trying to stress less, focus more on things I enjoy and remind myself to stay in the "present." I've always been a worrier, stressed about money and family, looking ahead to the future and regretting some of my past. Reading this, you probably think I'm a wound up ball of knots...and you'd be right (at least I can admit that). When I went into for some physical therapy, the therapist said my back felt like a bag of frozen golf balls.

In the meantime, I'm trying to follow my own advice. I know this is going to be a lifelong battle, so I'm trying to take it a day (or night) at a time. I won't give up, and know there's a solution out there somewhere. It just takes time.

Dan Mitchinson

Dan Mitchinson

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