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My current sleep strategy

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Lisa P., Oct 21, 2010.

  1. Lisa P.

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    Just thought I'd throw this out there because I'm seeing a lot of stress about night checks and we've been trying something different lately.

    I read crazy fringe pseudo-science stuff so be warned, I'm getting a lot of this from a book called "Lights Out", which discusses essentially how artificial lighting and artificially long days affects our brain chemistry and hormone interaction.

    So I finally gave up and gave in and asked my husband if we could try some of what's in the book.

    Essentially, our goal (still unachieved but we're closer) is to keep the artificial lights to a minimum, meaning that when it gets dark outside we start to think about actually going to sleep, and we get up when the sun comes up, naturally, not off alarms and lights and such.

    What this means this time of year is that I've gone from 6 hour nights to 9 hour nights. I hated it at first, because I needed that "me time" without kids up to get things done, right? Except I was always too tired to get things done. So I got up at 5 a.m. to watch the computer. :(:p

    Now that I'm sleeping longer nights, the time I've got with my family is less miserable, I don't feel like one day drifts into another and it's all one big blur. I've had some physical problems improve a lot. I'm still checking over and over at night, but I'm not exhausted.

    Also, no lights on in other rooms, no night lights, no street lights in the window, and we're all sleeping much, much more deeply. Now I can't even stand the clock, I have to turn its face to the wall to block the light!

    Anyway, it's working for us right now, so thought I'd toss it out there. I know lots of folks are in situations where this isn't possible.

    In my opinion, having diabetes in the family means you have to give up something. I thought it meant giving up ever not feeling exhausted. Now I'm thinking it means giving up watching Hulu at 5 a.m., and maybe that's something I can live with.
     
  2. AlisonKS

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    I force myself to go to bed often at 8pm, then wake up to a bunch of messages from friends and family online saying "where the heck are you all night" lol. That is a great idea. I want to get my son some darker shades for his room, we have to keep the porch light on cause there are some sketchy people that walk up and down our street and our house sits kind of back from the road.

    I've found that eating a healthy clean diet gives me energy to survive the day. It was a unhealthy cycle for me-I' was tired so I'd go to the drive thru/nuke random food/chug red bull all day-then I was tired from all of that crap-it went on and on.
     
  3. StillMamamia

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    Thanks for the tip. Sounds interesting.

    My problem is not not sleeping enough. It's actually falling asleep. I come froma family of insomniacs. It takes me literally over 2 hours to fall asleep. I have tried the quieting down of noise, lights, reading til I drop, warm milk, etc, etc.

    I'm not whining. I truly cannot fall asleep fast enough, so my sleep patterns are messed up. I asked the doc for some sleeping pills (after having tried plant stuff, yoga, meditation, self-encouragement:eek:) and that would knock me out, but that's not what I want. I need to fall asleep fast. I know that that part is the missing puzzle.

    I just received a book how to beat insomnia in 6 weeks or something like that. So, stay tuned.:p

    I also know that part of the problem is that I have a thousand thoughts on my mind all at the same time. I cannot concentrate on one thing for too long and it's like I have a permanent Energizer bunny running in my head. Not that I am crazy or anything;) just I can't quiet my thoughts, day or night.

    Thanks for the info, though. I think getting back in touch with the simpler, more biorythmic aspect of life and body is very important.
     
  4. Lee

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    I have found that sneaking out of my office and taking a nap in the car works also. Well, at least it did today :D
     
  5. Jessica L

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    I wish that was feasible for me. I would slap my mom for that much sleep. My body doesnt work that way. Or my boys or my husbands job. He has to get up at 3:15 to get to work in time. Once he is awake I am awake. I cant change bed time cause my boys are autistic and I finally found a system that works for them. So they go to sleep and stay asleep most of the night without sleeping meds for them.
     
  6. timnshann

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    I think you are onto something about the lighting. I've stopped turning on the bathroom light for night checks, blindly feel around for the test strip, manage to put it in the meter the right way, and then use the meter light to guide me:rolleyes:

    This helps in my case because, I too have become unable to fall back to sleep after the 3am check. However, if he is low, then I just flip the lights on to gather juice and figure I can always attempt to nap tomorrow.

    My goal, however is to go to sleep as soon as possible after the kids do. This hasn't happened yet but it is a goal after all.:D
     
  7. BrendaK

    BrendaK Neonatal Diabetes Registry

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    Where do you live? That would mean here in Chicagoland we would need to get to bed around 6pm, that's when it gets dark now. When daylight savings ends it will get dark about 5pm.

    I do think in general we pack our lives with too much stuff, don't say no to things we should, and hence don't get enough sleep. Lights are out at home no later than 10:30pm, usually between 9:30 and 10pm. DH and I get ready for bed when we put the kids to bed at 8:30pm. I read from 9-9:30 or until I fall asleep. Up at 6:30am. That's 9 hours of sleep a night with occasional Dexcom beeps.... I feel pretty good :cwds:
     
  8. twodoor2

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    OMG, me too!! It does help, and also I gave up caffiene. I know it's a double edged sword because it keeps you from being tired because you don't get sleep during the night, but it also kept me awake all night too!!! Since I gave up caffiene, I find I need much less sleep, and I sleep more soundly. I also gave up refined sugar as well. I eat very little sweets nowadays, and a lot more healthy complex carbs and low fat protein. You do get the energy necessary. I was sick so much last year and so exhausted, I just had to do something. I take spirulina (helps the immune system) and Vit-D (I have a defficiency) every day. Exercise is important too.

    I do late night checks on Elizabeth, and Mark gets up at 5:00 AM to do early morning checks on her. I find if I can get to bed by 11:00PM/12:00 AM , I can predict, based on her active insulin, and earlier checks, if she's going to fall a lot during the night. If so, I lower the basal rate the appropriate amount. Some people might want to do additional checks around 3:00 AM or so as well. Her basal rate is much lower during sleep time, so that also helps with some peace of mind, but YDMV.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2010
  9. Alex's Dad

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    Glad its working for you, we are unable to do that.

    We left work at 7:30pm to pick up my daughter at my MIL house, sometimes we gave her the snack and NPH shot there, sometimes we go home, a 30 min drive, and do the PJs, Shot and Snack at home. At this point is 9pm - 9:30pm, we put her to sleep and end up eating at 10pm or 10:30pm.That is went our night start, we read, watch a movie, log into the computer etc, we go to sleep at 12:30am or sometimes 1:30am we test at 12am. I always get up at 3am to test, and sometimes my wife does, so I get a break:D. My wife and daughter gets up at 8am with breakfast and shots.
     
  10. NomadIvy

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    Lisa, my husband has been bugging me to do that for years. Ha! Coming from someone who can fall asleep in a jiffy.
    They grew up like that... there should be NO artificial lighting whatsoever when it's lights out.
    With all the technical gadgets lying around the house it's so hard to achieve that. Even the blue light coming from a small electronic thingamajig is bothersome when you get used to absolute dark.

    I guess I never thought I could have insomnia. It takes ma a couple of hours to fall asleep as well.
     
  11. Lisa P.

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    What's weird is that part of what stopped me was that my kids don't sleep well. I can put them to bed at 9, they'll be awake until after 10. So I was very skeptical about trying something as bizarre as starting in to get ready at 6:30 and being in bed by 7:30, which is what the light is dictating here. Just having dinner at 5:30 instead of 7:30 seemed ridiculous to me.

    But I found that they are getting to sleep faster, sleeping deeper, and sometimes sleeping longer. And not cranky when they wake up.

    I think they probably have been getting very tired and then getting overtired by the time bedtime comes around every day. At least, that's my new theory.

    Anyway, it could just be that any time you try something new it works for awhile, just because it's new. :p But I do know that I was feeling sick every day and getting almost nothing done but bare minimum running on 19 hour days and up five times at night. Now not matter how many times I'm up at night, I'm getting far more done with my 15 hour days and I'm not sick all the time.

    It definitely took some lifestyle changes before we could even try this, though, and not everyone has the luxury of changing lifestyle even if they want to.
     
  12. sam1nat2

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    I have a great sleep "trick" for my girls. We bought some lavender vanilla bubble bath and room spray. I spray their pillows and then we take a bubble bath---lights dimmed and tv on to the Zen music station. They get out and we do massages---they are sleeping great!!

    Will someone come massage me to sleep??:D
     
  13. Lee

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    What do you do in the dead of winter - seriously - it is dark at 4:15 or 4:30 here come Mid - December?
     
  14. Charlotte'sMom

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    That's such a good idea. Unfortunately, I like to soak up those quiet hours in the evening all by myself after the kids go to bed, even if I'm just wasting time on the computer. But I know I'd feel better if I slept better.

    We have to have a hall light on, or the kids start screaming when they wake up at night and it's pitch black!
     
  15. Lisa P.

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    I think the authors were o.k. with 14 hour nights sometimes. :eek:

    But more realistically, I think the idea is to sleep to the seasons. Our bodies need to know when it's winter and when it's summer, and we're making it perpetually summer. So I'm guessing if you turned the lights on only enough to make it, say, twelve hours of dark in the winter and 9 in the summer, you'd be on a righter track than 17 hours of light year round?

    Also, the idea is that interuptions at night mean your body thinks it's a shorter day than it is. If it's dark for 7 hours, your body thinks it's summer. If it's dark for 12 hours, your body thinks it's winter. But if it's dark for five hours, then bright light for half an hour, then dark for five hours, your body still thinks it's summer.


    I'm right there with the quiet time without the kids, and the kids needing light at night. I thought if we didn't have a night light in the bathroom I'd never find my way to the toilet. But we leave the shades up and starlight is actually enough to navigate by when your eyes don't have other lights messing with them. And I'm finding I don't need that alone time as much when I can draw better boundaries during the day because I feel better.

    Trust me, it's unexpected here. I come from a Marine household where you get out the door at 5 a.m. and home at 7 p.m. on good days, so I read this book probably 8 years ago and only now have enough begun to try it. And we're talking a week.

    OOps, it looks like we're blowing it tonight, too. . . . . :eek::eek::eek:
     
  16. Karenwith4

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    Total hijack

    Sooo nice to see you back!
    Karen
     
  17. wilf

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    We have a somewhat unusual sleep and night measuring strategy during the week. I stay up till sometime between 2 and 4 am (long enough to be sure DD is fine), and then head to bed and then sleep in late. DW (who got to bed hours earlier) gets up with DD at 6:45 am and makes sure she and her sister get off to school ok. This is only possible because I work at home. :cwds:
     
  18. Lee

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    I so envy this schedule - my natural sleep rhythm is 2am to 10am! I would be in heaven if I could do that every day!
     
  19. Lisa P.

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    That's what my husband and I were doing when he was home, but the jerk went and got a job in town. :rolleyes: So then I was finding that trying to go to sleep at ten or eleven and get up at four or five plus check her over and over meant I was useless during the day. Didn't want to give up checking, so I had to give up my shorter nights. . .
     
  20. MichS

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    That is a very interesting theory. My family does this a little bit anyway. As soon as fall comes, we have a hard time staying up very late. We are often in bed by 9 pm for sure - kids in bed at 8. However, it doesn't usually mean we sleep in in the morning, the kids are up at 6 am every day all year long! But - I agree that our bodies need more sleep in winter. I'm happy its working for you!
     

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