Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My Dilemma

Sleep. Sleep is my dilemma.

To be specific, my dilemma is that I'm on my last allowable prescription for the next 6 months of some Most Cunning Little Tablets that help me sleep through the night. Little 10mg parcels of Mr Sandman. I only take a half a tablet, and I only take them 2 or 3 nights a week max. Mostly because I don't want to get addicted to them, and partly because I need to make these babies last. My doctor will only give a maximum of two prescriptions for these little miracles in a 12 month period.

Spoil sport.

And because the Universe hates me and wants me to be sleep deprived with sizeable bags under my eyes for ever, they have also clamped down on these recently and made them harder to get. Even reducing the pack size. Some little issue with people having dissasociative fugue states or something whilst on them. Waking up having scarfed the entire contents of their refrigerators. Or having trashed their ex's house, after driving across town whilst asleep. Well, a) I can't drive, b) the only ex whose house I would even consider trashing lives interstate and c) my fridge never has that much in it anyway. Lucky for that ex that it takes a while to board a plane, or I could have had a valid excuse.

So, I went without last night whilst looking whistfully at the packet and thinking I have like 12 guaranteed good sleeps in the next 6 months. It wasn't too bad, I only woke up about 8 times.


Michael Guy said...

Andrew, I totally feel your pain on this topic. I am a very light sleeper and with the stress of fashioning a solo/single life for myself find my sleep patterns out the window. I manage about 4 or 5 hours at best minus any medication.

And, like you, I don't want to rely on the meds as the prescriptions are not readily available without 10-questions as to WHY I want them.

Tonight on the way home I bought some chamomille tea. I've tried it before but maybe with a good wank I'll be able to nod off relatively easy.

It's the staying asleep that I struggle with.

:: can hear a mouse fart ::

The Other Andrew said...

MG, I'm the same. Look up Light Sleeper in the dictionary and there is a picture of me waving.

I have sinus and back pain issues too which probably don't help with the staying asleep issue, and a couple of (thankfully mild) episodes of depression, with all the serotonin related issues THAT entails. Eh. I broke my ability to sleep through the night at some point, I'm just not sure when.

I personally think my problems are more physiological (or physio-illogical) than mental because getting off to sleep is never a problem. I just can't stay asleep. I never drink coffee later than about 10.30am, and I don't drink anything else caffeinated, so I don't think that's an issue. Maybe I'm just weird? I haven't ruled that out.

Ur-spo said...

on the otherhand, dissociative fugues can be jolly good fun; disappear for days if not weeks and 'wake up' in cleveland ohio or something like that.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

oooh, you're on the freaky tabs are you? I feel for you my dear, I couldn't imagine being that light a sleeper :-(

John C said...

My problem has usually been falling asleep in the first place, I used to have real trouble with that living in a quiet area. After I read about a bedside sound generator which is supposed to help with this I checked them out but decided the expense (70 quid) was too great for something that may not work:


However, I did try using a fan for a while and that seemed okay until the continual use wore the motor out. Still being a cheapskate (and loving the technical challenge) I dug out my old Sinclair pocket TV which hardly ever tuned in properly anyway and now only receives a b&w static picture and makes a lot of white noise. "Perfect", thought I and so it's turned out to be, with the added bonus that it's portable (I used it at my mother's house over Xmas) and the volume is variable. And it cost me nothing and recycled something that would otherwise be redundant!

I seem to recall reading that we prefer a continual drone of some sort, especially an ocean-like rush, since that's what we hear in the womb. And it also serves the function of blanking out stray noises that might wake you by providing a constant background. I'm not sure if this solves your problems, Andrew and Michael, but I'd recommend it for others. Rather than an expensive device (or an old TV) you can probably just buy a cheap radio, all it has to do is make the required wash of noise.

The Other Andrew said...

ur-spo, if I wake up in Cleveland Ohio that would be one hell of a fugue state! :) 24 hours on a plane, just to get to the right continent...

Speedy, yes I'm on the freaky tabs! But you haven't found me lying on your kitchen floor in a pool of leftovers yet, have you? (No really, have you?)

John I kind of solved the noise thing by sleeping with earplugs most of the time. I've heard that white noise is a benefit though!

Jodie Sorrell said...

At a push try Merserydol, in a turquoise packet. I first got them as a pain reliever, but the full strength (day ones are rubbish) ones are great knock out drops.

If you decide to go this way, be prepared for funny looks at the pharmacy as they tend to be sold a lot for period pain.

Gabriel said...

i hear your pain because i start getting teary when the empty blister packs stares back at me. so i've been trying to live on this valerian and magnesium combo on some nights. i am lucky if i fall asleep. and no, i haven't emptied out my fridge or gone for long walks around the house while asleep.

freakgirl said...

I have a stash of lovely pills, too. I also try not to take them often for mostly the same reasons as you.

Falling asleep is no problem either; it's the staying asleep part. I guess we're all weird.

On the white noise tip, we have an air filter thingie for my husband's allergies and I notice that I sleep better when it's on.

The Other Andrew said...

Jodie, I only ever seem to get pre-menstrual... but I might try it!

Gabriel, I know! Looking at those empty blister packs is like saying goodbye to an old friend. ::sniff::

FG, it's our weirdness that makes us special! Or something. :)

Quatrefoil said...

At the risk of being slightly unethical, I'd suggest just going to another doctor - I don't think these tablets are actually on a register. Present as though it's a new problem. You'll need to go to a different chemist too.

Alternatively, you might want to get a referral to a sleep specialist - I've just got one.

thombeau said...

There is a natural supplement called 5-HTP. I used it for quite a while and it helped tremendously. Slept better AND lost weight! I'm serious, dear. Check it out.

The Other Andrew said...

"Slept better AND lost weight!"


OMG, if they grow your penis too then all my dreams could come true at once.

Anonymous said...

The sleeping ingredient in mersyndol (the anti menstrual pill) can be bought on its own in "Restavit." If you've become accustomed to prescription sleepers it probably isn't strong enough for you, but it could be a back-up. You will be a bit groggy the next day if you abuse in combination with alcohol.