Sleep: the final frontier

These are the dreams and nightmares of the starship Lethargy. Its nightly mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Morpheus and Iris, by Pierre-Narcisse Guerin
Sleep has been the bane of my existence since I was a young child.  I had 3 different recurring nightmares as well as almost nightly sweat drenching nightmares.  Also, I have onset insomnia, most likely caused by the stress of the nightmares.

For as long as I can remember I struggled to get 4-6 hours of sleep every night.  I've since learned from Sound Sleep, Sound Mind that this is a common form of "self-medication" to avoid the last couple of hours of sleep which are commonly the worst hours of sleep for those with sleep issues.

My whole system went through a change with my fourth and fifth children.  For a few years I couldn't wear any sort of metals on my wrists, fingers, and neck as I would blister.  I became overweight and the weight didn't fall off me like usual.  And my sleep changed.  Instead of the 4-6 hours I began to sleep 8-10 hours. 

After contracting Lyme disease my sleep patterns changed even more.  I began to sleep a minimum of 12 hours a day and it wasn't uncommon for me to be awake only for 4 hours a day.  I am still not healthy, but I am learning tips and tricks that have helped me to become healthier.  Did you know that any sleep over 9 hours can suppress your immune system?  Talk about a merry-go-round.  My immune system was causing me to oversleep and my overdose of sleep was suppressing my immune system. 

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I began hacking my sleep using every tip and trick that was easily incorporated for a bit over a year now.  There was a period of around a week last year where my sleep cycles were healthy and I had a memory again.  I was able to hold conversations without stuttering, losing track of my thoughts, and it felt amazing.  Then those tricks wouldn't work through my bad sleep periods.  So far I haven't found anything to help with my bad periods, but the hacking continues and I will succeed! 

In The 4-Hour Body Timothy Ferris hacks all sorts of aspects about the body.  Ferris is a lot of fun and instead of feeling like a failure when something didn't work he has helped to make me feel more like a mad scientist.  Instead of reviewing the book, I will tell you what I've tried from the sleep section so far and my thoughts on it.

Ferris recommends an Iphone app called Sleep Cycle .  It isn't available for droid so I went on a hunt.  There are quite a few apps available and many of them you can test out before buying.  My favorite is Sleep as Android and in second place is SleepBot .  These apps do not improve sleep.  They track your body movements and chart them for you.  This can be a helpful tool to help you decide if a tip or trick is helping.  It isn't as informative as the Zeo Coach, but it's in my price range :) . 

Power naps have definitely helped with physical and mental fatigue.  Ferris has a section on polyphasic sleep.  I found this section written in a style and format easier to understand than the referred to group Poly Phasers.  I am enthralled with the idea of 2 hours of sleep, I mean who wouldn't be?  I have found that 1-2 power naps has greatly reduced the amount of sleep my body thinks it needs. 

A power nap is a 20 minute nap.  It hacks your sleep cycles so that it is refreshing.  A nap much longer than this can leave the body and mind lethargic.  Not so good.  I have tried a few different binaural audio tracks and my favorite is Hibernation, the track Power Nap is 30 minutes long and it really seems to work for me.  It takes me 5 to 10 minutes to fall asleep.  I should note that my fall asleep time didn't start out like that, it took time and a rigid schedule to get myself to sleep at all during the power nap time.

I have several more tips and tricks to mention and will have more in the future as I continue to study.  And since I have a cleaning project to get to and I could spend the entire day writing about sleep I think I will adjourn here.  Have a wonderful Sunday.  We have sun!

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  1. Tam and I have had great success with better sleep now that we've dropped gluten from our diets. I have found that I don't snore as much and no longer need my CPAP or my apnea guard. Tam sleeps better too, longer periods of sleep between trips to the bathroom.

    She still has insomnia, but if it's early enough, she can take magnesium and get back to sleep. (The magnesium also helped me not have as many headaches in the morning).

    1. That's interesting about gluten affecting your sleep. I know it affects all sorts of areas, but didn't realize that. Good to know. At some point this year I plan on going raw again and I wonder if the lack of gluten also is part of why I feel so good on raw.

      I will check into magnesium! Magnesium sulfate is in a lot of my bath salts that I use on a regular basis and its one that soaks into the body. I wonder if that counts? Putting magnesium into my to look up :)