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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Sleep Like A Disease

"SLEEP LIKE A DISEASE" ~ it's a favourite homespun expression of mine. That's what sleep is to me all too much of the time. If not a symptom of some malady then a sickness in its own right. Sleep is like the sea. Sometimes when the tide goes exceedingly low, the sea seems never to be coming back again.

I would be curious to know whether other people's sleep oscillates so much, and if so, how much and for how long? Is there any association between sleep and the general level of health and energy? Is there any relationship between your sleep and your mood?

Last night I spent a long time smoking ordinary roll-up cigarettes (I cannot stand cannabis) while drifting in and out of consciousness. My medication, quetiapine, which is supposed to be for bipolar depression as well as bipolar mania and schizophrenia, also helps me sleep.

I got up after 4pm, having fallen asleep on the couch around 10pm then gone to bed at 1:30am. I don't know exactly how many hours I slept but surely it had to be more than 15. The night before, I did at least 12. On Sunday evening, I had gone to bed by 6pm and dozed through to 9am in one single 15-hour block. The "meaning" of this pattern to me, is that my body appears to be becoming depressed again. Sure enough, upon rising I feel the familiar signs: lingering fatigue and malaise coupled with emotional deadness.

My fellow blogger James Claims, who journals a life with bipolar disorder, says he's not Allowed any more than eight hours' rest each night. This is one of many strictures of Dialectal Behaviour Therapy (DBT). It's based on the premise that excessive sleep could actually trigger a depressive episode.

It's interesting that in the present sleep-deprived age of our 24-hour society, sifferers of depression seem as likely to complain of oversleeping or hypersomnia as insomnia. Age old descriptions of Melancholia, as it used to be known, almost without exception describe sleeplessness as a hallmark feature of the syndrome. Maybe these days when many people are so sleep-deprived, the body will claw back lost sleep by plunging it into a state of hypersomnia.

Oversleeping is something I've had to deal with since my early 20s, when I worked six nights a week between the hours of 18:30 and 02:30 and found myself unable to function, despite countless attempts, on less than thirteen hours a day.

Anyway, I'd like to know whether the rest of you ever have sleep difficulties: insomnia, hypersomnia or just no sleep-pattern at all... tell me what form they take and what, if anything they seem to "mean"...

8 comments:

bugerlugs63 said...

Just a quickie ;-)
Absolutely no sleep problems, way too tired from my exciting day to day life; *washing, cleaning, cooking, shopping (repeat from *) . . . and then there's cleaning, feeding and socialising with my "20 odd" hamsters . . . and writing ;-)
Must fly now . . . have to finish my "escape" episode while the kids are at school.
Hope you slept well last night. On the very rare occasion that one of the boys has Hamper G so I can have a lie in, I mostly feel very sluggish after sleeping longer than usual (usual being 7 hrs) with love, as always x

Anonymous said...

bugerlugs, on top of doing all that you still hsve time to take drugs :)

jams o donnell said...

Ach y own sleeping patterns are screwed

Akelamalu said...

Well I never sleep the night through (8 hours). On Tuesday night I went to sleep at 11 p.m. and woke at 12.30 a.m. I didn't go back to sleep until 5 a.m. and got up at 7 a.m. I have to say that is extreme, I usually go to sleep at 11 p.m. then wake up at 4 a.m. use the toilet and go back to sleep until 7 a.m.

Gledwood said...

Bugerlugs: I slept for ages last night. But I'm glad you had a good day.

Anonymous: Bugerlugs doesn't take drugs every day anymore. Far as I know she's sticking with the methadone...

Jams: you mean your sleep is all over the place? It's the 24-hour society that's to blame. They say we sleep with computers and TVs in our bedrooms, while our grandparents had a bed and a wardrobe (and maybe a pisspot) and that was that!

Akelamalu: I once heard on TV that in the Great Fire of London 1500s type times it was usual to sleep through the night in 2 shifts, meaning people actually got up again after midnight, sang songs or did whatever they did and then went back to bed in time for the morning. Personally I find that a bit difficult to believe as life was so bare for many people, surely if they'd have got up in the middle of the night with the fires out they'd have frozen??

I used to get up at least 10 times in the night (I counted it with cigarettes smoked, so I know it was at least 10)... but I never even saw that as abnormal until a programme on TV told us we were meant to sleep through!

Bev said...

I dont even know when Im falling asleep.My hubby use to take off my glasses and turn off the tv.now I brush my teeth before bed and get up in the night to turn off the tv.I get up at 5 and Im usally asleep before 10.I hope you get lots of good dreams in your sleep.

Gledwood said...

I used to have insomnia so bad, I had to do guided visual exercises, where I pretended to be deep-sea diving and I remember a few times diving deep into a black abyss and... that was the precise moment I lost consciousness... out like a light

I only have very dreamy sleep once every week, 2 weeks or so and then I'm dreaming vividly all night. Usually though my sleep is utterly black and featureless and the next thing I know I'm waking up to pee... and pee again and again and maybe once again and then it's morning!

mustachewoman said...

I sleep over sixteen hours a day. It's irritating because I get to do nothing in my day. I'm not in the mood to do anything anyway.