Sunday, December 15, 2013

sleepy head

You only realise how much you need it when it is absent from your life-sleep.

As many of you will know a very common symptom of PTSD is sleep disturbance; nightmares, restless legs, fear of the dark, tinnitus, night sweats and the intrusive thoughts when lying there trying to get to sleep.

As a partner of someone who suffers from all of the above, sleep for both of us has become a little bit elusive at times in this house. I for one love my sleep but I am now a very light sleeper often listening for any strange noises or sudden changes that might be going on next to me.

Certain medications and sleeping tablets can help but there is nothing like being able to just drift off into a dreamy state without any help. We've both been through periods where the best solutions was separate bedrooms as two grumpy people in one house is far from pleasant!

These days a CPAP machine now gets switched on each night so that for my husband the sleep apnoea (stopping breathing while sleeping) is reduced. I wondered how I would go with the noise of the machine but it is actually soothing in a way and I now don't even hear it.

With sleep being such an important part of the recovery process it's just a pity it can be so hard to come by. We all need it and some more than others but particularly those with PTSD and depression. I remember days on end when my husband barely left the couch. His desire for sleep couldn't be met no matter how many hours were spent with his eyes closed.

As part of his treatment he has been lucky enough to have had access to a sleep doctor who has been invaluable in accessing and monitoring his sleep patterns and also explaining what the brain is doing when you are sleeping and the sleep cycles we go through each night.

If nightmares are part of my husband's sleep during the night the next day is very average for him. It can take a couple of days for him to settle again, so cruel.

On the weekends I do find myself catching up on sleep with an afternoon nap if I can, nothing nicer.
I have a little routine myself before I go to bed, almost 'powering down' for the night. I like aromatherapy oil blends on my pillow and a nice cool room.

Do you find it hard to sleep these days?
Do you have any routines you like to do before you go to sleep?

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