placebo sleep

Bear with me; I am obsessed with sleep.

I have always believed sleep was one of the things I had going for me, that sleep was something I was good at, not by skill but by good fortune.  If I was tired all the time it was because Mr Moth snored and kept me up, or because I hung up in dream sleep and never achieved the other stages of sleep where rest occurs.  But I have never had trouble falling asleep.  Shortly before the apnea dx, I posted on Facebook and had a discussion with my mother, about how strange it is to me that (I had read that) people make a conscious decision to close their eyes and wait to fall asleep.  I have never done that, ever.  I just put my book away and go to sleep.  And I have rarely had trouble staying asleep, unless I was ill, or the dogs were restless, or had a baby.  Even when I had to tinkle eleventy times a night, I had no trouble going back to sleep each time–although, come to think of it, each awakening did seem to require a disproportionate amount of extra sack-time.

I used to dream a lot, and vividly.  That’s apparently a sign of moderate apnea.  I haven’t dreamed in a long time.  Apparently that’s a symptom of severe apnea.  If I could remember when I stopped dreaming all night every night, it might give me a time frame for when this problem tipped over into severe.  It’s been since we lived here, but beyond that I don’t recall.  I suspect it happened when the Actos shoved me past some tipping point weight-wise, because everything really started snowballing when I went on that drug, but it happened slow-ish, and going back off it has not completely reversed the symptoms–because they are apnea symptoms.  I hope.

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to talk about today.  I wanted to talk about placebo sleep.

I surfed from Facebook to “14 Amazing Psychology Facts Everyone Needs To Know” because I am too brain dead to read anything real, and I was waiting for the plagiarism checker to process my final exam paper (because I am also too brain dead to trust myself not to accidentally steal someone else’s concepts or ideas simply because I can’t remember where anything came from.)  I was initially interested in the graphic that said, Don’t tell your goals to anyone, but I was quickly sidetracked to list item #10, that said:  Convincing yourself you slept well tricks your brain into thinking it did.

Did I mention I’m obsessed with sleep?

Here’s the source article for that, which in turn cits a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology conducted by Colorado College, which seems to indicate that being aware of how tired you are makes you more tired.

I’m not going to try to track down more links to back this study up. Instead I’ll just say that, if accurate, it explains a lot.  As soon as the sleep lab said, “You aren’t sleeping, you’re smothering, and we have computer readouts that prove it,” I nosedived, and hard.  Went from barely functional to practically crippled.  This study explains why that happened, if they took away my placebo sleep and that was really all I had going on, sleepwise.

And if that’s true, believing the xpap therapy will work, will make it work, at least to an extent.

I wish I were more convinced it will work.  I’ve been chasing this for so dang long.  I lost most of last summer to dizzy spells, and now this summer is here and even the bathroom seems too far away.

The Home Medical people finally called, and I’m supposed to go pick up the machine tomorrow morning.  Wish me good luck that this goes as smoothly as possible, because I am so tired.

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