Friday, June 8, 2007

Is it time for a nap yet?

I’m an unabashed napper. I nap any time of the day if I need it. I have to because I have horrible insomnia. One of my friends feels that I can’t sleep at night because I nap, but I’ve tried going nap-less for several days in a row and I *still* won’t sleep well at night.

I don’t take long naps; they’re power naps of 10 to 20 minutes. I can jump right up when I wake, although I do have to admit that on a grey, lazy day, I just may be tempted to cuddle under a quilt and stay a lot longer.

I’ve never been a good sleeper and then, becoming a nurse and working shift work really blew out of the water any ability I had to sleep at night. For several years, I did shift work and have, at times, worked all three shifts within seven or eight days. Then, to try and regulate my body, I tried working only night shifts. Not good for the body, I’m sure. Then there were the years of babies waking in the night, followed by young children who woke up with nightmares and then get up early. None of my three kids slept entirely through the night until they were at least 2 years old. They would go right back to sleep, but they’d wake up, we’d hear them and sometimes they’d call out of fear or just wanting reassurance.

Now, unless we get a phone call in the middle of the night from one of the off spring who call to tell us they’re not coming home, we don’t get disturbed by them – but I still can’t sleep. I may fall asleep quickly sometimes, but I’m lucky if I stay asleep for more than an hour and a half; that’s my longest stretch to stay asleep. And for the rest of the night, it’s sleep 40 to 50 minutes, wake up, sleep 40 to 50 minutes, wake up… and then by 6 a.m., forget it. I’m awake for the day.

There’s some interesting research going on about chronic insomnia. While we know about the medicinal sleep aids that are available, there’s a big push on to teach people good sleep habits and good sleep hygiene. That means using the bedroom only for sleeping and sexual activity, for example. Following a relaxing routine before sleep, no heavy meals before bed time, no heavy exercising either. Another technique is not allowing yourself to stay in bed if you’re not sleeping. If you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, get up until you’re sleepy again. Don’t lie there and think about not being able to sleep.

Keeping a sleep diary is helpful to some people. By keeping track of what time you go to bed, what you were doing beforehand, how long it takes to go to sleep, how many times you wake up, etc., you may be able to recognize a pattern or trigger that wasn’t obvious before.

Now that I work from home full-time, my sleepiness during the day isn’t that huge a problem. I can be inconvenient when I need to go places or do interviews, but I can work around it. But I can tell you, it was hell when I had to work outside of the house. By 10 a.m., I’m just crying for a quick nap. I so admire the companies that now promote naps at work. I am a firm, firm believer in them.

So, is it time for a nap yet?

News for today:
Conjoined twins' surgery halted in Ohio
Alta. surgeons complete 18 transplants in 56 hrs
Vitamin D lowers cancer risk in older women: study

1 comment:

Dawn said...

I'm sure that it must be very inconvenient needing to take naps so regularly. Working from home would be a blessing. Good luck with the blog. I've only been going a few months and a number of the people that visit me are also fairly new bloggers. That explains why we're all so fascinated with widgets!