I swear adulting is why I have the world’s most incurable insomnia. It started in college and that was mostly because I was either up partying or working on a paper, I had failed to prepare to do earlier in the week (or month). Well, it also could have been that tv show or movie that I just had to watch also. At first, I didn’t know my “I can’t sleep” mood even had a name. I thought staying up later than usual, was just that. But as I discussed this with other girlfriends and classmates, they too said they experienced “Insomnia” occasionally. Was it just a student issue? Was this something new? I mean I wasn’t aware of anyone, talking about not being able to sleep before those conversations. After that, I tried everything. The sleep teas. Melatonin. Not eating too late. Then, eating later than usual. Forced sleeping (which turned into staring at the wall for hours. Hot Milk (my dad’s suggestion). Extremely Hot Showers at night. Exercising until I thought I was exhausted. Going for a car ride (anyone who knows me well…knows I fall asleep instantly if someone is driving me around). I mean everything. Nothing worked. Some nights, I could fall asleep with ease and others…it just wasn’t happening. 2am would roll around, then 3am, then 4am and by 6am – I was just getting sleepy.
I eventually went to a specialist, who was all too happy to prescribe something that would help me sleep. I originally was given Ambient and I absolutely loved it. The problem though with it, is that it doesn’t work after a while, if taken every day. It has the ability to get use to your system and them doesn’t act as a sleep aid but instead as just another pill your taking (something like a placebo). So it was back to the drawing board. I next tried Lunesta, then Trazadone, then Intermezzo and I mean crap…nothing worked. I eventually had to re-train my entire body to fall asleep on it’s own. So why am I talking to you about my sleep troubles…Well because I think baby Morgan will experience this too.
With Morgan’s vision impairment, I worry that she too will experience “Insomnia” on some level early. At two years old, I mean it’s tough to get her to sleep. We have a nightly routine at my home with my dad reading her stories with a bottle at bed time. Some nights, we do bath’s at night instead of in the morning assuming it’ll help. Sometimes we feed her heavier foods, thinking maybe she’ll get the “The Itis” and that doesn’t work either. It’s an imperfect system because some days, she’s out before the story ends. Others…well let’s just say 1am rolls around and we are no closer to sleep. We’ve discussed the issue with our amazing pediatrician and even her suggestions haven’t gotten us too far. Then I started researching (yes…I research everything) about circadian rhythm disorders and links between those who have and don’t have Cortical vision impairments and there it was. A lot of information linking the two together and possibly explaining her issues with sleep – as well as mine.
For those of us that aren’t sleep medicine doctors…our circadian rhythm is any biological process that our bodies go thru within a 24 hour period (to be clear…this is the non-medical definition). So basically, people (like myself and Morgan) with circadian rhythm sleep disorders are unable to go to sleep and awaken at the times commonly required for us to function during social times throughout the day. According to Wikipedia, we are generally able to get enough sleep if allowed to sleep and wake at the times dictated by their “body clocks” but no more and no less. The quality of our sleep can be abnormal unless we also have additional sleep disorders or other issues that affect our bodies. I mean this kind of explains A LOT. Now honestly, does it make any sense…not really but once I read it 3 times, I got it. So with more research and reading I found out that “Due to the circadian clock, sleepiness does not continuously increase throughout the day; a person’s desire and ability to fall asleep is influenced both by the length of time since the person woke from an adequate sleep and by internal circadian rhythms. Thus, a person’s body is ready for sleep and for wakefulness at relatively specific times of the day.”
Due to her diagnosis of Cortical Vision Impairment, it’s a strong possibility that my original theory of this being hereditary isn’t accurate. (Oh, did I not mention this…) I would have sworn that maybe my sleep issues where passed on to her in the womb or by genetics or something. I mean even while pregnant, some nights, I couldn’t sleep and No- not because my back hurt or I couldn’t get comfortable but because I was having a bout with insomnia again. I could feel her eventually settle down – less kicking and moving but then I still couldn’t sleep. Usually, most women describe a point in their pregnancy in which they could barely stay awake. I mean even in movies or shows, they always have the pregnant women falling asleep at odd times. So I assumed that at some point – I’d be overcome with this need and desire to sleep…but it rarely came.
Fast Forward – My mother has done a good amount of research on CVI and one of the possible issues as the child develops is sleep issues due to unclear vision – which makes it difficult to differentiate between night and day. This too is related to her…circadian rhythm. It’s hard to imagine her suffering from something that I can’t explain to her yet. I’ve sat in her room, wondering just what she thinks about when she can’t sleep. She often babbles loudly when she can’t sleep and I find that all too funny until she’s been doing it for an hour or two. I know that sleep is important and so that is why I started researching it in the first place. But we are going to see a sleep specialist at some point and I’ll keep everyone informed. I really do want to know more information related to her sleep issues. Will she have this issue her entire life? Will she need medication? Is something we give her daily, keeping her from sleeping? Does she need more activities during the day? She sleeps…but I worry. Thats kind of my job!
During one of my daily stops thru Pinterest…I found some really cool infographics (I didn’t create nor help create any of these) that I pulled that explain Insomnia and also have some tips on better sleep. I’ve linked those below:
Have you had sleep issues with your kid? Do they fall asleep with ease or with difficulty? How often do you yourself have sleep issues? Drop me a comment below…
L’Erin & Morgan