I surrendered my driving license at the beginning of 2014 as I’d experienced too many near misses from falling asleep at the wheel.
Factoring in naps during my day was difficult and nodding off in the company of others was embarrassing. Fighting the overwhelming need to sleep is so difficult, once the eyelids start to get heavy there is not much I can do to stay awake.
It’s not like saying ‘I’m so exhausted I just can’t keep my eyes open’, it literally is a case of not being able to keep your eyes open. Watching TV, reading a book, listening to a conversation, being part of a conversation, writing a letter…..all make me sleep, in fact most things except typing and eating (which is why I spend most of my time in front of my computer eating custard creams with IV caffeine for good measure).
I admit that I’m quite a lazy person, I just rarely have the energy to do much and as a result I don’t commit to doing much. The bed doesn’t get made, the trip to the park is postponed and speaking on the phone requires effort so it’s best to do text (words are predicted so even left effort is required). Lazy? Possibly, it’s just that when you’re tired motivation is limited and the desire to do things is reduced to the point where stuff sometimes doesn’t get done.
Living with me must be tiring (no pun intended) and when I say Jez is amazing I’m not over exaggerating. He starts a 4am shift returning home about 2pm, insists I get a nap while he takes the kids out and then prepares dinner for us all, just so I can rest. Sometimes my naps do interfere with my night-time sleep, but not often, it’s usually just the kids who used to keep me awake at night.
The trouble is that during the times I do feel energised and motivated (possibly coupled with a bipolar high), I go mad and do loads of things at once, take on too much and eventually crash-and-burn, resulting in another kind of tiredness called ‘overdoing it’.
Unlike narcolepsy I do feel the sleepiness coming on. I know I’ve got a few minutes before the overwhelming stages hit me, but prior to that I can get grouchy and intolerant like any tired person can and if I don’t get the nap I feel I’m entitled to then I’m not much joy to have around to say the least. It’s harder if there are people about as I expect them to give me the opportunity to nap and if they don’t (and why would they), then I get even more crabby. I get so tired I could cry.
Ideally I need 10mins – 2 hours nap 2 or 3 times a day. In their free time, some people like to go to the gym, go on a walk, catch a movie or go out for a meal, but I’d choose sleep every time. I look forward to my sleep, I know that I can make it through the rest of the day as long as I get my nap/s at x o’clock.
Sometimes, I’d sleep for 8 hours at night, get up at 7am and need a nap by 8am. Once I arrived home from grocery shopping and had to lay down on the kitchen floor, I was so tired I didn’t even put the shopping away (or make it to my bed).
I remember having it even at school (not just in lessons, but even at break), but more so nowadays. 5 years worth of doctors visits and sleep diaries then in January 2014 I was eventually seen by a neurologist and given a sleep latency test (which was fun, just a whole day of taking naps – a spa break for me really). The results showed I may have IH, which is basically excessive daytime sleepiness. There is no cure. We had to be certain that my BP meds were not contributing to my sleepiness, none really act as a sedative but amphetamine or stimulating drugs for IH could trigger a BP high, so a drug called Modafinil seemed the way forward.
Having researched into this wonder drug I had great expectations from Modafinil. The drug ‘kicks-in’ within about 20mins-3 hours and lasts about 12-15 hours, but 1 week in and all it’s done is make me feel sleepy, slightly disengaged and a little low in mood. I’m due to have a follow-up appointment in a couple of weeks, so I’ll play about with the dose a bit in the meantime to see if there is any improvement. Right – off to bed for a bit.