This past Tuesday night I was out like a light. Or, I slept like a baby. Or, like the dead. Take your pick of cliche. Whatever you chose, just know that I was asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow. I was in blackness, in dreams. I didn’t even have to get up to use the bathroom or because the dogs woke me up with their whining/ barking. That meant I had almost eight and a half hours of sleep. It was glorious.
Wednesday night was different. I went to bed at the usual time, but I stayed up reading for ten minutes longer, and it took longer for me to get to darkness. It was maybe an hour before my mind quieted, and I went from that odd state of half-asleep/half-aware into real sleep. I even did my deep breathing technique that usually does the trick (where I take slow, deep breaths and as I slowly inhale I think “rest” and as I slowly exhale I think “sleep,” so my mind clears and my body gets in a sleep pose), but to no avail. And in the morning I found myself waking up after a dream in which I acted out Agatha Christie’s novel Cat Among the Pigeons, but before my alarm went off. Waking up, needless, to say, was not glorious. It was too damn early to be up.
The thing is, I needed a nap on both of those days after those nights, regardless of the type and amount of sleep I was able to get.
Eight and a half hours seems like it would be enough for the average person, but I need nine and a half to feel my best. I always have and fibro makes it more important that I get those hours. So I oftentimes end up taking naps.
Which means I break several of the rules that people give you on how to get into a good sleep routine. Some call it having good sleep hygiene. They say don’t take naps. They also say to get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. But if I’m running on four or five fewer hours than I need by the time the week is over, I feel like I have to make up for it on the weekends. And I don’t even sleep late on the weekends–nine is not late. The birds are still singing and the sun is still in the east at nine in the morning.
I guess it’s like anything with fibro–you find the rules and try to apply them and find what works and what doesn’t. The advice of experts may not be the advice I need to follow to feel my best. The good thing about having fibro is you have time to apply trial and error. You get to run a health experiment. Five years into it (holy cow!) and I’m starting to feel like an expert.