“Sleep is the interest we have to pay on the capital which is called in at death; and the higher the rate of interest and the more regularly it is paid, the further the date of redemption is postponed.”
Are you sleeping?
Man, I feel awful. Some days are bad, some days are worse. Headaches and stomachaches against the backdrop of fatigue. My sluggishness began about five months ago and has become progressively worse. Medication doesn’t help and caffeine only helps in the morning. After listing everything I could possibly think of, my doctor pinpointed sleep – or rather, my lack of good sleep.
We all know that to be healthy, you need to get sleep. But lack of sleep also impairs the body’s ability to digest food. Melatonin is associated with our sleep cycle, but it also works to regulate digestion. Sleep deprivation means that the hormones melatonin and prolactin, produced in the middle of the night, are not able to do their job of enhancing immunity. Immunity clears up toxins in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ironically, my stomach pains wake me up in the middle of the night. At least three times during a night.
What started my sleep problems? Stress. I may not feel stress in the conventional sense, but circumstance has added a whole new plate issues to learn to deal with, whether I feel stressed about it or not today. Stress hormones lead to insomnia and sleep disturbances. My attempt to regain sleep by focusing on and dealing with the emotions associated with my stressors – apparently causes more stress. A study out of Tel Aviv University found that subjects who focused on their emotions and anxiety shortened their sleep cycles.
Ironically, lack of sleep, stress, and stressing about lack of sleep, have also caused vivid nightmares and sometimes night terrors, which also wake me up a few times during the night. What wards off nightmares? Getting good sleep.
When the morning finally arrives, I am exhausted and dealing with fresh headaches.
Months of exhaustion and just feeling sick can cause depression. Guess what? Depression causes sleep issues and digestive problems.
So, I am trapped in a vicious circle of cause and effect. I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
It will take time, and a lot of work for my body to return to a healthy balance. But being healthy, and more importantly, being myself, is worth the work.