Getting Healthy is complicated… …and it takes sleep, if you can get it.


Cat Pillow Hog (CC)

Continuing with the theme that “loosing weight is complicated because life is complicated” let’s look at another of those wildly interconnected facets of life that affects everything, including efforts to get fit and healthy:  SLEEP

Sleep… OMG!  I would *love* to get a good night’s sleep.  It has been years since I slept well on a regular basis; I routinely wake up tired, exhausted, and feeling as if someone has worked me over with a 2×4.  I can not seem to get a good night’s sleep.

Yet, everything I read, drives home the importance of getting consistent, restful sleep, especially when you’re trying to improve your health and fitness.  Yeh, right.  No pun intended, but dream on!   Fair warning, this post is about to take you through the backroads of my brain and my life so you’d better brace yourself… …it is likely to be a long, strange and bumpy ride.

After reading a lot about getting a good night’s sleep, being me.  I made a list and got to work figuring out what I could do:

  • First thing I learned is that being overweight is a contributing cause of poor sleep!

So, let me get this straight…  To sleep well I need to loose weight.  To loose weight I need to sleep well.   Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhhh!!!!!!!   Can we say “downward spiral”?  Can we say “Catch-22?”  Hmmm???  Makes ya want  to snuggle up to a big bowl of oreo cookes, a gallon of milk and say “to hell with it all”.  Ok, ok, moving on….

  • Sleep Apnea can be a contributing factor in poor sleep.  And, being overweight is a major factor in having sleep apnea.

Check!  Got that! Like most overweight guys, I snore.  LOUD, awful, vibrate the walls kind of snoring.   I didn’t used to snore, not like I do now.  It only got bad as my weight increased.  Ok, ok, so if I loose the weight, the sleep apnea will be reduced.  But that will take a while.  What could I do in the meantime?  To find out, I made an appointment with a sleep clinic.  We will NOT discuss how much that cost.  Just so you know, my health plan is a high deductible plan which means that the insurance negotiates standard rates for various services and there are some drug benefits but the bottom line is that the first $5,000 each year out of pocket is MY responsibility before the insurance starts paying.  So from this point forward, remember that any medical expense comes from my paycheck and is not paid for by insurance.

Ok, so I went and did one of those overnight sleep analysis things.  I discovered that yes, I do have weight induced sleep apnea and that a CPAP device would help.  No way, no how.  Ain’t gonna happen!  It made me feel like I was smothering.  I felt like a victim in a bad murder mystery where they do that point of view thing with the pillow being smushed into the camera lens.  So, having that mask on my face just is not an option.  Moving on…

  • Learn that allergies can be a contributing cause. Hmmm.  I wonder….

— Go to primary care physician, get referral
— Go to specialist  OMG!  No wonder doctors drive Mercedes and BMW’s
— Get tested.  Learn that I am allergic to dust and dust mites.  Eeeeeewww!  We will not discuss the icky body fluids that allergies produce.
— OH CRAP!  I work in a friggin’ LIBRARY!  If there is *anyplace* that is perfect made for the production of dust, a library is that place.  On reflection, that is probably why I have this particular allergy.  It is acquired.  AND I live in the dustiest place I’ve ever lived in my life.  It is a very old apartment complex that went condo.  I dust the place and within 24 hours, there is a visible layer of dust back in place and within a week it is as if I’ve not dusted at all.
— Get free sample of Patanase and Alegra D.
— OMG!  Cue the angelic music and heavenly choirs.  Realize that I’ve not actually been BREATHING through my nose while I’ve slept in years!  No wonder I keep waking up all night long.  You mean THIS is what it means to be able to breathe; to sleep?  Who knew?
— Get Rx for these miracle drugs and head off to the pharmacy.  An-ti-ci-pation!!!!! Yay!  Good times are here! Woo Hoo!  Happy Dance!
— Get to the register and realize that these drugs ae on the highest tier of my drug plan which means that I’m basically paying full retail for them: $70 for one and $120 for the other.  Yikes!
— Rearrange budget to accommodate the new cost because, frankly it is worth it.
— Life is good for a few months until my truck almost dies, several times, over several months.  Can’t afford drugs.  *SIGH*
— Finally can afford drugs again.  Discover Rx is expired.  AAaaaarrrrgggggghhh.  Ok, ok, have old Rx.  I can use the free clinic from work that work provides even though I really don’t like the doctor there.  *sigh* better than paying $50 to my own primary care physician  (who I love–she’s wonderful) just to get a new script.

Yes, we’re still just on “allergies”.  Told you it was complicated.

  • Do what we can do to minimize my exposure to the dust and dust mite allergens.

— Can I move to a less dusty place?  Nope.  I’ll spare you the detailed analysis but no.  Not possible, not until I pay off my credit cards and student loans which is gonna take a while.
— Can I change careers?  Nope.  Not an option.  Not just to solve an allergy problem that I don’t really notice during the day.  It really only gets bad at night when I’m trying to sleep.There are some things though that  I can (and have done) to minimize the dust and dust mites where I sleep.
— Install air filter over A/C vent into my bedroom.
— Realize that the filter reduces the air flow and leaves me sweating because the cool air isn’t coming into the room any longer.
— Remove air filter.
— Buy Austin Healthmate Jr. air filter machine or my bedroom.  “It ‘s how much?” I ask.  *sigh* I’m in the wrong business.
— Buy allergen cover for mattress and pillows.  What are these things made of ?  Golden threads?  CRAP!
— Realize that the carpet is a HUGE source of the allergens.
— Buy allergen treatment spray for carpet.  OMG, they are proud of that stuff. 19.95 a bottle.  Sheesh!
— Realize that the spray only has minimal effect.
— Ok, put on the “future things to do” list, remove carpet and install hardwood floors in the bedroom.
— Realize that comforter and curtains are also dust collectors and allergen sources.  *sigh*  Ok, ok, put on ‘things to do list” to wash curtains once every other week and tumble dry comforter on high heat every other week to kill the mites.  Accept that these extra domestic chores will now be a fact of life from now on…
— NET RESULT — a noticeable improvement in sleep quality and a vastly more noticeable decrease in my checking account balance and an even more noticeable increase in the balances on my charge cards.

Still with me?  I did warn you it was going to be a long bumpy ride…

  • Read that having  good bed is vastly important.

— Ok,  Juggle budget, carefully consider options and buy new bed.  Well, having a maxed out credit card isn’t *that* bad.  SIGH
— Try to find charity to give old bed to… Fail.  They just laughed.
— Live with bed in hallway for days until (1) dumpster is completely empty and (2) I can sneak the bed into the dumpster with no one seeing me.  Against the complex rules to throw furniture into dumpster.

I want my drama award now!  A tiara!  Dammit, if I’m going to live the life of a drama queen I want a tiara!

  • Read that having good pillows are important.  Discover that no one makes a pillow that works for me.  Arrrrgggggghhhh!  I mean this literally.  I’ve looked.  And looked.  And looked.  The best that I’ve found are the ones that Sheraton uses in their hotels.  I did find a place in Australia that makes a “made to measure” pillow which got me all excited until I realized that they don’t ship to the United States.  Aaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh!
  • Discover that the pillows only “last” about a year so they have to be replaced routinely.

Crap!  I need a sugar daddy.  All this costs money!  And I’m a middle class public servant.  Sheeesh!  Just for the record, the The position of “Sugar Daddy” is currently open and applications are being accepted.

Wait a second… am I doing a check list or talking about my life?  Oh..yeh, right.  Both!

  • Read article on how inclined bed helps with a multitude of things incliudingsleep apnea .

— Decide to incline bed.
— Oh, wait, need bed risers to incline bed.
— Ok, find risers online, locate set in DFW area.
— Get risers, eventually, after having them on my “to do” list for a couple weeks until I can find time to run the errand to go and get them.
— Bed too heavy to lift.  Need help.  Or need to remove mattress and box springs to put in risers.  Arrrrgggghhhhh!
— Decide to do it later… Days pass.  Finally put the risers in last night.  Yay me!  It may have been psychological, but I do think that I slept better.

Got the point yet?  I thought you might.  🙂  We started out with a simple idea that in order to “get healthy and fit”  a good night’s rest is important. But, while we’re working on that whole “getting healthy” thing, we are also going about the complicated business that is life.

Which brings me back to where I started.  Loosing weight is complicated.  No wonder more people don’t succeed at doing it.

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About TxCowboyDancer

Eight time Country Dance World Champion. I love to dance. In the middle of a journey, transforming myself from "unemployed and out-of-shape" to "in-shape and full time dance instructor, writer and graphic artist."

Posted on Sat, Jul 30, 2011, in Misc and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

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