Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I have been very conscious of my current sleep habits since I took a sleep apnea test over the weekend ...

I am highly doubtful that this test will show anything worth worrying over. But my excessive tiredness has been such an ongoing issue that I mentioned it to my doctor, who referred me to a respiratory specialist, who recommended this test. So I guess, if nothing else, I will find out what (if anything) this home monitor test reveals in a few weeks.

My weekends have been exhausting me lately. Any plans which consist of overnight-anything deplete me. I have had two such weekends in a row. This past weekend, I was thrilled to be able to simply stay home and follow the rhythms of my body and sleep habits.

The one thing that the overnight monitoring made me aware of, was the number of times that I wake up in the night.

The night of the test, I was supposed to try and remember what times I woke up and what woke me up. It is hard to retain this information in the middle of a 'good night's sleep', so my times and memories were vague. I simply remember looking at the clock and seeing 12, 1, 2, 3 or 4, 5 & 6 o'clock. I thought that I probably woke up so often because I was aware of this monitoring equipment and all of the record-keeping that I was supposedly doing in my head ...

That is, until the nights that followed. I didn't track the times, but all of a sudden I became aware of the number of times that I wake up in the night. This night time wakefulness is not out of the ordinary for me. I know that this interupted sleep could simply be a normal and expected part of the process of aging. But I started to wonder how many hours of sleep I am actually getting at night ... 

I watched a fair bit of TV on the weekend. And I stayed awake most of the time! This is highly unusual for me. Perhaps it is because of the food intake (I know for a fact, that I eat to stay awake) or maybe it was the caffeine. I was drinking far more coffee than I usually do. Or maybe it was simply because I was well rested and my body didn't require the extra sleep.

I decided that it was time to experiment. Reading always puts me to sleep. Always. I can sit down feeling fully refreshed and wide awake, thinking that I could read forever. The next thing I know, I'm waking up. So I 'read'. The next thing I knew, I was waking up ...

Maybe I'm just lazy. Maybe something is amiss with my sleeping habits. It may be nothing. But it could be something.

The fact that it could be something immediately made me think of how inadequate I felt when trying to learn, retain information, cope and thrive in a workplace outside of my home this past year.

When I worked outside of home, I severely limited my coffee intake. Number One reason - so I wouldn't need to use the washroom facilities. Number Two reason - because no workplace really became 'home' to me and the coffee ritual never began. But what if ... what if the lack of caffeine played havoc with my ability to stay alert and learn my job effectively!? Maybe my need-for-coffee is my body's way of staying awake ...

When I worked at home, I often nodded off during the day. When I babysat (more often than not), quiet time became nap time for me. When I did bookkeeping, when the waves of exhaustion hit I just laid down for a while and caught the necessary sleep that I needed so that I could carry on. Heavens! When my bookkeeping became an out-of-my-home job, I took a few naps (instead of breaks) sitting up at my desk.

Working at the school, I didn't have the time to feel tired until one job where my primary responsibility was filing (by myself). Standing upright, doing a physical job, the waves of tiredness hit me hard one day. I 'medicated' myself with caffeine to get through the last of my shifts at that job.  But throughout the rest of the year and the over-the-top-anxiety that I felt ... could it have been on account of exhaustion?

It would bring me such peace of mind to learn that perhaps my body's need for sleep was a part of what went wrong in my adventures of working outside of my home last year.

But I must prepare myself (and I do truly believe this is what they will find) for an 'inconclusive' test result to this test. Then I must own up to the 'me' that I am. Brainwaves must move a little bit slower as you age. Perhaps sleep has nothing to do with it.

But what if it does ...

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