So, it’s been about three years since I can remember having an effortless, good night’s sleep. Where I would lay my tired head down and just simply fall asleep and stay that way for the whole night. This post is about the journey to getting back to that simple necessity of good night’s sleep. Something I will never again take for granted.
Sawing logs? Catching flys? Funny phrases for sleep. But, sleep had lost it’s humour for me. It had eluded me and I was getting desperate. I had been told to go to bed around the same time every night. No screens in the room. Darken the room. Sleep in a separate room from spouse and pets. Fan beside the bed. No liquids after 8 pm. Lots of exercise and fresh air. Bamboo bedding. Cool room. No caffeine past noon. I have done it all. I had even duct-taped over any annoying little green LEDs – like the one on the heat pump. Still no sleep.
After three years, last night I had nine hours of good sleep where I laid my head down and woke up nine hours later. Here’s how I got to this point.
It started in my book club this past winter when a friend was saying that her aunt was seriously suffering with shingles and that we should all get vaccinated against it. Making a mental note, I called my doctor’s office for an appointment to get the prescription for the vaccine. The appointment would take place five weeks later. Ugh. Life in Nova Scotia with a shortage of doctors.
Five weeks later, I now need to wait a few more weeks because I have since had the covid vaccine and there needs to be at least four weeks between jabs.
So, two weeks ago, I called down to my local Pharmasave to make an appointment for the shingles vaccine. I was put into the following week on Wednesday which was a week ago. All this to say, it was a journey just to get to the place where I would learn the real trick.
After getting the jab, the very nice and kind pharmacist had to observe me for fifteen minutes or so to ensure that I was okay. In that time she asked these words, which will be forever in my mind as the key to unlocking the mystery…
“So, is there any other health concern that I can help you with today? (or some such phrase which gave me the opening to ask about my overwhelming, at this point, issue with not sleeping. You see, I had a sponge brain going on. I was forgetting things and misplacing things. I was putting things in the freezer that didn’t belong there – like a fresh bunch of broccoli. I was lacking energy, grumpy, and reaching for carbs and sugar to fill the void. And who knows what else was troubling me below the surface.)
So, I said back, “well, actually, yes there is something”. Trying not to cry, I said, “I haven’t been sleeping well for the past three years. I sometimes have whole nights of no sleep where I alternate between laying quietly and just keep hoping for sleep to come, and reading. I am getting desperate because I am also bipolar so sleep is very important to ward off episodes and anxiety.” I was nearly crying. She was nodding profusely and looking at me with big, kind, intelligent eyes. She professionally asked about any other meds I might be taking.
She said then, “Are you taking magnesium?”
“Yes, I’m taking the big horse pills from the bottle with the green lid.”
“I would recommend magnesium glycinate for you because…blahba-de-blah – my sponge brain couldn’t recount those words if I tried. With her vastly educated tongue, she explained why magnesium glycinate works best.
I’m thinking, “Preaching to the choir. You had me at ‘recommend'”.
I blurted out, cutting her off: “Sign me up!”
“I compound capsules of it here. Everyone here, (she waved her arm in the direction of the whole pharmacy), is taking it. I’ll make a few and you can give it a try. 200 milligram capsules and take max of 600 mg per night.”
That night I had five solid hours of sleep, up for a quick pee and then three solid hours. Each night has been progressively better and as stated, last night NINE solid hours. Thank effing jeesus.
So, this morning I wander out into my living room and sit on the bay window bench on the aqua afghan my sis made for me. I look out the window and it’s odd. For some reason I’m facing the opposite way that I normally face. I usually always look north down to the bay. This time I raised my face to the south west and there, quite aptly, was a rainbow.