Friday, December 02, 2011

Terminal insomnia redux: Correlation isn't causation

Terminal insomnia has struck again. I thought I wouldn't get it this year because I haven't been using the light box. Every year after I switch on the light box, my terminal insomnia comes roaring back like Jews who've spotted a Viennese table. So I assumed the light box was causing the insomnia.

But this year, I'm relatively happy. I'm not in a toxic job environment and grieving the loss of an almost-engagement and two adorable stepsons. I'm not feeling depressed, having trouble concentrating, or avoiding social gatherings. I'm performing exceptionally well at work (my supervisor's opinion, not my own), and I've started volunteering once a week doing detox acupuncture at a different program near my job, which is awesome. So I haven't needed to turn the light box on.

Yet I'm still waking up way too early -- despite liberal use of the acupressure torture mat, melatonin, and calcium supplements (the real reason warm milk promotes sleep is that calcium promotes muscle relaxation). My caffeine intake is limited to two cups of tea per day and a reasonable chocolate intake. I know that regular exercise also helps with sleep. I haven't been to the gym since Sunday, because I have a cold. But I think I was having insomnia last week as well, when I went to the gym two or three times. This must be my only symptom of seasonal affective disorder.

I see Dr. R again on December 20. I'm not sure what he'll say, although I'm almost positive he won't prescribe me a sleep aid. I don't really want to take one, either. I'm already on a fairly high dose of antidepressants and lithium. Even though so far my liver has come through like a champion, I don't want to overburden it. Or my kidneys, which seem to be working overtime; I usually wake up because I need to pee, and then can't fall asleep when I get back to bed. On the plus side, the supplements I ordered seem to have taken care of the chronic UTI that was plaguing me, although I still think my urinary frequency is abnormally high.

How problematic is it to lose a significant amount of sleep? I know that's associated with weight gain, which is unfortunate. And my dark circles are quite unattractive, although they probably bother me more than most people who interact with me. I don't like having insomnia, but maybe it's just something I can live with. Today after I couldn't fall back asleep I updated my resume, read some emails, messed around on Facebook, watched a little TV, did some knee exercises and stretches, and then decided to blog. Parents of young children routinely lose a great deal of sleep, but most of them seem to manage somehow anyway. Maybe that's just what I need to do.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

1 comment:

  1. I have early rising insomnia too, got up this morning at 6am even though I set my alarm for 8 (and don't have to be at work until 10:30). I get it especially bad around this time of year, right after we change the clocks.