Saturday, January 9, 2016

To sleep, perchance to dream

Another morning when I wake up long before the birds.

This sleep issue has become a problem - one I finally raised with my doctor.

Waking up repeatedly at night - 1:30 - 2 - 2:40 - 3:15 - and so on until I finally get up, night after night.  The wife says there are times when I don't sound as if I'm breathing, then I suddenly start and gasp.

I've noticed more and more the negative effects during the day. In the last few months, I've found myself nodding off when I sit down on coming home. In the car at red lights. At Mass. During meetings. The other day as I sat in the dentist's chair waiting for him to examine a broken tooth that's been bothering me, I started falling asleep.

I've even caught myself nodding off as kids were visiting me as Santa.

It has been increasingly difficult to read challenging works, to grade papers, to write - I lose focus, I fall asleep.

Now I have tried to find a positive in this. When I wake up in the middle of the night and wait for sleep to return, I often recite the Jesus Prayer - "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner." - over and over until I sleep. Sometimes I wake up reciting the words!

But still, I need sleep, so at my physical last week I described everything to the doctor. He said it certainly sounds like a sleep disorder, maybe sleep apnea. I'm scheduled to see a specialist, and it's likely I'll have to undergo testing.

It's possible the problem is indeed physical, and fixable. But I also wonder how much of it is mental. When I wake up repeatedly, my mind is often racing, with thoughts about things I did or failed to do or have to do, perceived slights, work or family worries, others' expectations, my own expectations. When I do dream, it's often dreams about something bad happening that I can't avoid or stop, such as being chased, or being trapped in a confined space like a narrow cave.

We'll see.

I'd like to get a few nights of uninterrupted sleep just to feel refreshed and to think clearly.

And to write.

Pax et bonum

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