Sleep is sleep right?
People with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue don’t get restorative sleep. I should say, they don’t get nearly enough restorative sleep.
I might sleep for two hours at a time. Out of that two hours only approximately fifteen minutes of it was restorative sleep.
Restorative sleep, that sleep that makes you feel refreshed and energized and rested.
I really don’t remember what that feels like. Oh sure I get some. I wake up and am awake and refreshed however it is only two am. Then tossing and turning happens. I get maybe another two hours of sleep before the door flies open.
“Mommy can I watch Cartoon Network?”
“No. Its a school day.” It is painful to even think that clearly that early in the morning after very little restorative sleep.
I find school days are slightly easier. I can push myself to function with the illusion that I can come home and go back to sleep. It rarely happens. I am pretty good at lying to myself about it though. Well at least about going back to sleep.
The weekends are harder. I still want to sleep in. I want that luxurious feeling that comes with it. Some weekends it takes everything I have to get out of bed. Its better if I make plans. If I know someone is coming over or we have to meet someone I can get myself moving.
Part of my motivation is I don’t want my chronic illnesses to ……….take away from the wonder of childhood. She needs to be out exploring and doing things not inside watching tv.
For the most part we stick to a pretty strict schedule. We start winding down for the day most of the time by five. I divide up some of my night time medications . Its kinda like stepping down from the days activities. Some of this has been pure trial and error. I can’t take this one until seven thirty because it makes me too sleepy and such. Bedtime is eight ….eight thirty at the latest. There have been plenty of times that I leave the last bit to hubby to get the kid into bed. I spend 12 hours in bed, but leave the bed at seven am feeling like it was two hours. Other nights I get somewhat decent sleep, those days I try to take advantage of.
Its not always this cut and dry. There are many days that I function. I pick up the kid from school, take care of the dogs, but it seems like cement fills my legs and arms. I have no desire to do anything but lay in bed watching tv and possibly scroll FB. I don’t really care if dinner is made or if the kid is watching tv or if the dogs need to walk. My body is done and it doesn’t want to squeeze out even a tiny bit more.
For me this is where self-care is super important. The more I ignore my needs the more likely I am going to fall into that paragraph above. I need to walk. I need to be outside even if its miserably hot outside. Nature centers me like nothing else. So does taking time to connect with friends. To laugh til our sides hurt and tears are running down our faces, the looks from the kids that we have gone crazy is just a bonus.
The thing about self care is it is a sneaky bastard. Not only does it want you to forget about it , it also needs to be changed up here and there. It says it won’t matter just this one time if you don’t get time alone. It won’t matter if we don’t make it to that playdate this week. Then before you know it its been over a week since you did anything more than just function and survive. The other thing it likes to do is convince you that this one thing is all you need. So you do this one thing, say take a walk, and before you know it, its not helping you anymore. Its just another part of your day. So you have to make sure you are doing different little things for yourself. Meet a friend for coffee one morning, go out to lunch another, take a walk the next day, whatever gives you that shoulder dropping sigh of relief. Where you can recenter and refill yourself.
Sometimes you have to force the self care. Make that playdate even if you don’t really want to. Take a detour and a little walk before picking up the kids. Let yourself lay in bed and read a book Saturday or Sunday mornings.
So what does all this mean? How does this link back to sleep? The better you care for yourself , managing your meds, taking time for self care, getting some very light low impact exercise it all helps us sleep better. I know before I had chronic Illnesses I didn’t think about my actions and what I was doing each day as much as I do now.
There are still times that I wish I could just lay in bed. We do have times that we do that. I have some good friends who tend to know before I do that I need the break and take the kid over night. Then I realize wow I really really needed that. I sleep better because I am not keeping one ear open for the kid, or I actually allow myself to take meds that will make me sleep that heavy. It all depends on how I was sleeping.
I think people with chronic illness and or chronic pain have to work harder to get ourselves centered. To find our inner peace. Our inner peace likes to run from us just a bit more than normal people. It makes every aspect of our lives just a tad more difficult. The day to day stuff people take for granted.
All we want is sleep. Deep restorative good sleep so we can function. So that we can do more than function, so we can do more than survive. So we can thrive.