I can’t remember the last time I slept properly. The day fibromyalgia moved into my body was the day that I gave up sleeping. I didn’t give it up like one gives up alcohol or chewing their fingernails. It was more of giving up on a lost cause. So many things in life are lost causes, including, somewhat ironically, Googling examples of lost causes. Sleep should not be one of them.
The average person needs between seven and nine hours of sleep. I am lucky if I get four. The other extreme are the days that I sleep an unnecessary 18 hours. No, I am not catching up on sleep, you cannot make up lost sleep. I don’t know why people think they can make up sleep like they can make up an exam. It doesn’t work that way.
In high school I took advanced science classes. During my first attempt at college I double majored in biology and chemistry. In one of those many science classes we touched on sleep, the phases of sleep, and what happened during them. We were told this information would be on an exam. I want to say that I understood the information. I was able to regurgitate it for my exam, a demonstration to my instructor that I knew the material. I wouldn’t really understand sleep until it was taken from me.
The human sleep cycle consists of periods of non-REM (NREM) sleep, and REM sleep. REM sleep is that stage of sleep where you dream. NREM is that deep restorative sleep where the body heals itself and produces that ‘well rested’ feeling. This doesn’t happen with fibromyalgia. REM sleep rarely happens. These days I only dream when I am sick or over stressed. Deep sleep does not happen at all. Alpha brain waves show up like a party crasher without snacks. These are the awake but resting brain waves. When you are able to go home after a long day and sit down in front of the TV with a pint of ice cream and relax, alpha waves happen. Alpha waves means no sleep.
Eighteen hours of sleep sounds great until you realize those eighteen hours are going to be the equivalent of being poked in the brain with a chopstick each time you start to doze off. Four hours of this is manageable. Eighteen makes you want to punch babies. Not only is it eighteen hours of waking up and falling back to sleep, it is a lot of wasted time that could have been spent doing something else, something productive. Time that could have been spent doing…