Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ahh..A Good Night's Sleep

A recent survey found that more people are sleeping less than six hours a night. The major concern with this fact is that chronic sleep loss can contribute to health problems such as a decrease in the power of one's immune system.

Truth be told, I haven't had a good night's sleep in years. Not only don't I sleep through an entire night, but I have been taking sleep aids as well.

The doctors contributed my inability to sleep originally to loss of hormones from my hysterectomy back in 1998. Then when I was diagnosed with MCTD/Polymyositis, they said it was due to my illness.
No matter what the reason, I have been taking ambien and other sleeping pills far too long.

It is a fact that the effect of sleep on the immune system affects one’s ability to fight disease and endure sickness. So I cannot be "helping" myself to heal if I am not allowing my neurons, located in my brainstem, to "naturally" allow me to sleep.

I read that sleep deprivation results in a decrease in immune system function as measured by one's white blood cell count. That is not good! Especially for someone with my health condition.

Last night I decided that I was going to try and fall asleep naturally for the first time in years. On Monday I met with my rheumy, Dr. Rumore, and he wasn't too happy with my sleep habits. It is true that if I am fighting each day to stay in remission, that not only do I have to exercise, but I have to sleep.

Guess what? I did it! I got into bed and watched the news like I always do every evening. But this time, I just closed my eyes and fell asleep. Without any drugs!!! I feel a bit sluggish this morning, but I am so relieved that I was able to sleep naturally for most of the night.

At this point, I will take it one night at a time and not put any stress on myself. It will take awhile for my body to adjust, but if I stick to my promise of exercising regularly, my body will tire naturally and crave sleep.

We are opening the pool next week...hooray! There is no other exercise that compares to the workout I get in the pool.

According to my doc, he said my bloodwork was good...but had some minor changes. However, it is not significant enough to restart the Rituxan at this point. If I am still having joint pain in a few months, he can prescribe a new drug to specifically address that issue. (If I could only take anti-inflammatories! But I can't...I am allergic!)

The doctors are all in agreement that I must now reduce the Imuran by 25 mg. per day. This immunosuppressive has been both a positive and negative for me. It has kept me going for quite some time now, but it also has held me back.

One major concern is if my health starts to spiral, will it be because my body is just weakening or because I lowered the Imuran dosage? Hmmm...?

I need to take the risk.

At this point, I am still exhibiting many signs of the disease process including swollen fingers, arthritis, muscle/joint pain and inflammation, and fatigue, and memory loss. But I must say that my short term memory has vastly improved. I am going for a repeat of the NeuroTrax test next week, so those results will give us a clue as the what is truly happening in my brain!

Oh yes...the human body is a complicated machine. But we must do everything we can to keep it running in tip-top shape.

Most importantly, one must get a good night's sleep. Sleep is a basic human need...just as important as exercise. And when you get a good nights sleep, it allows your mind to become strong and healthy as well.

The aim and goal in life is to live life more productively with greater mental participation. And the key to understanding the workings of the mind lie in the experiences of a person's innermost mind.

Remember... "There is but one mind in the Universe. All minds are inseparable from the one great mind. All so-called individual minds are individualized expressions of the one great mind."

A person can become a better, more aware individual by listening to that "higher inner mind."

So get a good night sleep, and allow your mind to gain a personal sense of identity. This will ultimately allow you to adjust to all of the changes occuring around you each and every day.

I know that I will try my best to heed my own advice!

Peace out!


Anonymous Andrea said...

Great for you Bev! I try to tell people, the bed is the most important place in the world:)

5:39 PM  

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