Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bicycling in Bed

I have long had insomnia.  I never have a problem sleeping once I get to sleep, trust me, I'm a champion sleeper, but I can lay awake for hours waiting for sleep to come.

One of the culprits is my brain.  It just won't shut up.  It seems that when I lay down to sleep at night and I'm no longer doing anything is when my brain decides it needs to go through tomorrow's to do list, compose bill drafts, blog entries, e-mails, and anything else it can come up with.  It's not unusual for me to look at the clock, realize that I've been in bed awake for 2 hours and also be able to trace back every single thing I've thought about since I turned out the light.   Of course, that doesn't mean I'll remember any of it the next day when I should be thinking about it all. Case in point.

The other villain that contributes to my sleeplessness is Restless Leg Syndrome, or what Rob calls my bicycling in bed.  If you're part of the 10% or so of the population that suffers from this, you'll know what I'm talking about.  Trying to lay still and ignore the desire to move my feet and legs is useless.  My RLS occurs at other times as well.  It's not unusual for me to be sitting in a meeting and find myself bouncing one or both legs up and down.  But when I lay down at night to go to sleep is definitely the worst time, and unfortunately there is no logic to when it will occur, how long it will last, or how severe it will be.  Many times it's easier to just get up out of bed and go do something else for 30 minutes or so and then try again to sleep.

It appears to be a genetic thing.  I know that my sister has it as bad as I do, both in bed and out, and my brother also has it, at least when trying to lie down in bed.  Oddly, I've never thought to ask my parents if either of them have it, but I noticed my oldest niece exhibiting symptoms of it at her 1st communion a couple of weeks ago as well.

Most nights I don't even try to go to bed before midnight because I know I won't sleep anyway.  Sometimes that's not enough and I lie awake until the wee hours of the morning.  I have a sleeping pill prescription, but I don't like to take it until have had several nights in a row of little to no sleep because it makes it even harder to get out of bed in the morning.  I'm not a morning person to begin with, so I don't need anything else giving me an excuse to hit the snooze.

For the most part, I've come to accept that RLS, and insomnia in general, is just something I have to live with, but it would still be nice to be able to lie down in bed without feeling like Jiminy Cricket.

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