My Sleep Schedule Sucks for Socializing
I have talked about my epic battle with insomnia here many times before. About me struggling to overcome many sleepless nights consisting mostly of me spending hours just staring at the ceiling or the glowing blue numbers on the clock on the other side of my room. Even though I am lying there too exhausted to move, I will still feel the sleeping pill I had taken before bed kick in and then slowly fade away after failing to do its job. Many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) can relate to that, and I am sure they can also relate to one of the many consequences that come of it – not having the energy to participate in activities or outings with friends or family. While I have since gained much better control over my sleep, I still wake up with dark circles under my eyes feeling utterly exhausted and so my ability to interact with others still feels... somewhat out of reach.
Sleep greatly affects our health
Sleep is such a significant part of life. I mean, what do they say? On average, we spend about one-third of our life asleep and that sleep (more specifically the quality of that sleep) affects how we feel when we are awake and how our bodies function. Simply put, sleep greatly affects our health, so I have invested a lot of time, effort and money trying to improve mine the best I can since MS tends to dramatically affect our ability to catch some Zs.
Establishing a consistent sleep schedule
One of the best things I have done is to establish a consistent sleep schedule. I go to bed at the same time every night, and I wake up at the same time every morning (Monday-Sunday). I have developed a pre-bed routine to help shut my mind down and get ready for sleep, and I even have a bunch of those Hue LED lights that connect to my phone via WiFi and are set to turn on and off as well as change colors at different times of the day. For example, they fade from bright white during the day to a calm yellow in the evening and finally an assortment of orange and red colors to mimic a sunset before slowly fading off at bedtime. It took a while but my sleep schedule is now rock solid, and most nights I don’t even have to take medication to sleep. For the first time in a long time, my fitness tracker watch is saying that I am averaging between 8 and 8 and a half hours of sleep a night!
Here's the problem
So here is the problem; my social life is nothing like it used to be before MS (big surprise), and though it often really sucks, I never really minded too much because I just have so much going on in my life with MS that I feel like I am still learning to live everything on my own. Over the years I have learned to enjoy my own company but recently I reconnected with an old friend, and when he came to visit I realized just how much I enjoyed his company but also just how much I have changed since I last saw him. I don’t talk as clearly, I am not as quick with comebacks or clever remarks as I once was, I suck at multiplayer video games, and I can’t stay up very late... well, late. If you can even call it late.
I was kicking him out
We hung out all day but then, come 7:00 pm, I realized that my brain was clocking out and despite my embarrassment, I had to tell him that I was falling asleep. I wasn’t kicking him out but, yeah... I was kicking him out... haha. He of course understood, but that didn’t make me feel any better. Next time I saw him we joked about how we were getting older (we went to high school together), and how things like new technology were starting to sometimes make us feel kind of uncomfortable, how this new generation of kids “just don’t get it,” how important fiber is to our diet, and how (for me) I want to eat dinner by 5, be in bed by 7, and go to sleep by 8. I don’t want to go out and party like other people my age, I want to turn on some music, kick back, and go to bed!
My sleep schedule sucks for my social life
So yeah, my sleep schedule sucks for having a social life. I am awake between 4:40 AM and 5:00 AM and am usually asleep by 8:00 pm. Most people my age wake up much later and stay up much later, but honestly? I don’t really care. I don’t really care because this is the schedule I have found to work best for me and my insomnia. I am sure if I really wanted to I could slowly make adjustments to be up later, but why? Why would I change something that I have found to work so well for me? Especially when (like I said) I don’t even want to go out and party or whatever; I would rather just chill at home. I don’t need all that excitement. I enjoy simplicity. The only thing I want to drink is a nice cup of coffee while having a deep conversation.
My stamina depletes twice as fast
Maybe this will change in time, and eventually, I will have more stamina allowing me to stay up later and do more but right now? Well, if you were to compare my life to a video game, it’s like everyone else’s character wakes up with a full bar of stamina, but my character wakes up with only half a bar, and everything I do depletes that stamina bar twice as fast as everyone else does. So until I figure out how to increase my maximum stamina and reduce the rate at which it depletes, I am fine with the way things are right now. I’ll maintain my sleep schedule and just make the most of what little social life I have.
How many specialists did you see before finding "The One"?