Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 108 of 365

Caffeine is something I try to avoid.

I've never been a coffee drinker. Occasionally I might have a Diet Dr. Pepper or a Diet Coke when I go out somewhere, but only if it's during lunch time. I learned long ago that if I have anything with caffeine during the afternoon or evening it'll keep me from getting to sleep.

But this last week I haven't been able to get to sleep and I haven't had any caffeine. I haven't changed my diet, my exercise routine, my television viewing habits or my computer time. Everything has been exactly the same.

Except that I can't get to sleep until about 3 in the morning.

I lie there in bed, trying to get myself to sleep.  Trying my old standby meditation-type thoughts to calm my mind and body. My mind has been calm even without me trying. I'm not thinking about things that might keep me up. Yes, my body aches, but that's not new either.

So some nights I might get up and watch TV for a few minutes then come back to bed. Other nights I might read or come to the computer for a few minutes. Never for more than a few minutes. Because almost as bad as caffeine is the mental stimulation that television and the computer screen causes.

Despite being up, down, lying still with my eyes closed, I am not getting to sleep. Forcing myself to sleep is not working.

After racking my brain for any change in anything I've done, I might have come up with something.

I've been taking some new medication. Some medication prescribed by the gastroenterologist to help with my stomach issues. I've been taking the medication faithfully twice a day, every day, since my procedure, and I've been faithfully unable to sleep every day since the procedure. Wouldn't you know it, a rare side effect of this medication is insomnia. Hmm.

On my own I decided to stop the medication for a couple days to see if there was a connection between the medicine and my sleep pattern.

I never made it through two days without the medication. The stomach issues returned. Just as bad as before.

I like my sleep, but I like a pain-free stomach even better. I'll stick with the medicine and I'll be searching for things to keep me occupied at night. Things I can do between the hours of 10 PM and 3 AM. Things that will not be noisy or distracting. Things that will keep me from lying wide awake in bed for 5 hours a night.

Unfortunately, going to sleep at 3 doesn't prevent me from getting up for a drink of water at 6.

But the reds, oranges, blues, and whites in the sky at six o'clock this morning were spectacular. The picture doesn't do it justice.