The past few weeks have had this roller coaster in them for me, and I haven’t talked to many about it. This week, I had this sleep study to see why I am so exhausted throughout the day, and I won’t have any definitive answers for a couple weeks. Then I need to schedule a consult with the doctor, and possibly a couple more sleep studies to confirm diagnosis.
The study itself was interesting. I mean, you’re supposed to sleep as you normally would; but on their terms and with all these wires hooked up to your body, face, and even in your hair! I mean, I had wires sticking up my nose!!! So, not only do you have to go asleep at the time they set for you, you’re in a different bed, with different temperatures, and ALONE. If you sleep with your significant other, pets, or even young kids that crawl in your bed this would be a different experience! So, putting the study aside, I have something I want to talk about.
There is a tentative suggestion that I may have narcolepsy. This would explain why, ever since I was between 17 and 19, I started to have trouble with energy. It has gotten worse, and is even to the point that when driving, if I drive for over 1 1/2 hours (it doesn’t matter if I have slept or not) I get extremely drowsy! Sometimes, even just driving the 3 miles I have to take for work, I feel myself taking a miniature nap when sitting at the red light. In fact, once, when I was 21, I knew I had about ten minutes extra time to get there on time, and pulled over and set my alarm on my cell for an 8 minute nap. It’s a real problem, and makes it difficult to manage, not knowing what it was for all these years.
I am initiating a study for personal reasons, and came across this interesting article. It’s an expansive list of tips for those who suffer from narcolepsy. This one suggests that the REM needs to be retrained. During the times which sleepiness is more prone, move around and exercise! It suggests finding the magic number for sleep needed for a “normal” day (or the closest possible) and sticking to that schedule. Getting exactly that amount of sleep, and then making the bed when waking up.
Exercise is KEY. I cannot stress this enough. One thing that I have already noticed (whether I have narcolepsy or not) is turning on all the lights to stay awake. It has worked wondrously for the past couple days for me! In fact, a minute ago I nearly fell asleep while trying to study, and falling asleep on my desk is not my favorite! I decided to work on my narcolepsy study, and found this article that I chose to share with you. I immediately got up, turned on all the lights, and my urges started to slow down.
Another thing that helps is taking a shower. The act of washing my face and hair, getting into clean clothes, and getting a fresh glass of iced tea is something that is hard to replace. Perhaps this is a double whammy for exercising to energize, because not only are you moving around and boosting your metabolism, but you are signaling your brain that it is not time to sleep. Then to top it off, you freshen up as if it were a new day.
KEEP MOVING AND YOUR BRAIN WILL REMAIN ALERT AND ATTENTIVE
I am not suggesting that you should go without your proper sleep by any means! This is just what I have found to be helpful for myself, in my sleep situation. Eventually, I will strive to have a schedule that will be healthful for my condition, to keep it under control. For a while, I was eating right and sleeping a consistent 7 to 8 hours a night; with rarely a nap in the middle of the day. I was doing great! I was active, and had the energy to do so….but not at first. It takes discipline and dedication to start out. It also takes a good sleep log, so I have heard. I started one today, since I will be consulting with the sleep specialist in a few weeks.
So, exercise doesn’t have to be just about “running” from that which annoys you, or “hiding” from your fears. It actually doesn’t have to be about weight loss or even health. It can just be a way to symbol your brain that it is daytime, and it needs to stay awake and alert. I’ll write an update when my results come back, and give you more information that I have compiled from different resources.