When Sleep Isn’t Restful

I have a problem. Okay, I know you do, too. And I hope yours is less of a nuisance.

Nuisance? Mine has gotten to be more than just a nuisance the past year or two. Makes me feel like maybe I am “aging gracelessly.”

Here’s the backstory…

My wife and I normally start heading for bed around 9:00 p.m. She reads for a while, and I close out my day by praying. So I fall asleep quite restfully.

At least I used to. But I have a mystery pain–after a surgical procedure we hoped would alleviate it, my doctor hopes it’ll still go away if I live long enough–that requires me to find the perfect way to lie down in order to be comfortable. I may start out on my back, my front, or my right side. My left side is usually–but not always–a bad choice. But then I often need to make a few small adjustments. Suffice it to say that one night’s perfect position may be exactly the wrong one the next night.

Once I get into position, however, I’m able to pray myself to sleep.

I normally need to get up at least a couple of times during the night. Hey, I’m a sixty-nine-year-old man. Enough said about that. Most of the time I don’t have much trouble getting back to sleep, although I do need to find a new most-comfortable position if I’m awake enough.

I take a very mild prescription medicine to help me sleep better. Although it’s supposed to be taken at bedtime, it’s more effective if taken after midnight. Otherwise, the effects don’t last long enough. It doesn’t make me groggy, thank goodness. It simply helps to keep my mind from fretting about ridiculous things I wouldn’t even think about if  fully awake.

On weekdays we get up at 6:30. We get up whenever we want to on Saturdays and at 7:30 on Sundays. So I spend a minimum of nine hours in bed, most of them asleep. I do tend to dream a lot, though.

So what’s the problem? Uh, did you read the title of this blog post? Oh, but of course you did.

Very rarely do I feel well rested. And it’s even worse if I attend a church function or do anything away from home the night before, even though I still get to bed well before 10:00. I feel even more wiped out the next day than usual.

What about sleep apnea, some of you ask? Excellent question.

I USED to have sleep apnea, which resulted not only in fatigue, but also caused me to snore intolerably, not to mention making me periodically stop breathing for a number of seconds, which always made my poor wife worry about whether I was ever going to start again.

So I had a sleep study done and ended up using a CPAP machine for several years. But I had to sleep on my back because of the type of mask I wore. Having to go to sleep on my back occasionally to accommodate my mystery pain isn’t bad, but having to sleep that way all the time back then got to be too much. So I used the CPAP less and less, and it currently resides in its travel case under the bed.

After intentionally losing fifty pounds, my apnea symptoms disappeared. My wife says I seldom snore anymore, and I never have any of those non-breathing spells. The only sleep apnea symptom that remains is the next-morning fatigue after an otherwise restful night’s sleep–not counting those irritating dreams, of course.

I keep telling myself to go to the doctor and see what he suggests, but that would take too much energy. And what if it’s something serious? Do I really want to know?

Hmm. Better to know for sure that something’s bad than to fret about it, huh?

Okay. I’ll go see the doctor. One of these days. In the meantime, I promise I’ll try to quit complaining. To my readers, anyhow.

What do you think? Any doctors in the house–arm chair type or medically trained? Or anyone experiencing similar problems? How about leaving a comment?



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Best regards,

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