Sleep and sleep study update

April 4, 2018 at 9:30 am | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 8 Comments

Well I’m at day 22 (I think) of the 30-day sleep study. It’s been interesting for me to monitor my sleep and I do hope I get to see a week’s worth of data from the fit-bit equivalent thingy I’m wearing, as the study coordinator mentioned this should be possible. At the moment I’m monitoring how I THINK I slept each night and also how I feel each morning and evening. What I’m intrigued to know is if I did sleep how I think I slept. For instance on some days I feel in my ‘sleep diary’ and say I woke up seven times in the night and was awake for around half an hour in total – but what does the fit-bit thing say? Does it agree? Did I fool it into thinking I was awake for hours by tossing and turning in my sleep, or did I fool it into thinking I was asleep and didn’t wake up at all because while trying to sleep I lay still? Or is it way too clever to be fooled by such things. I have no idea but I hope I get a chance to find out!

It’s also been interesting to realise that while ‘good sleep’ is considered by sleep experts to be 7 or more hours of UNBROKEN sleep, I NEVER EVER IN A MILLION YEARS am likely to have one night of that! A fantastic night’s sleep for me was two nights ago when I fell asleep about 10, only woke up a couple of times before 10:30 and then slept right through until 4:30 am. I think that’s probably a record for me! Normally I fall asleep about 10:15 and wake up something like 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, 5:30 and a few more odd times in between. During the whole night I might not be awake more than 10-15 minutes, but this is still disastrous, so sleep experts say, because I’m not getting the requisite number of sleep cycles and a suitable amount of REM sleep. I’m probably functioning well below par brain-wise, and I know I often have quite poor concentration and attention span compared to the days when I slept better …

Having said that, seems to me I must be getting plenty of REM sleep because that’s when you dream, and boy do I dream! Salvador Dali would have loved my dreams – completely bizarre and surreal. But then again, you only remember your dreams if you wake up during REM sleep and ideally you DON’T wake up during REM sleep, so the fact that I remember a lot of my completely wacko dreams does indicate that I am not getting good sleep.

Even so, my sleep is muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch better since we installed the Phillips Hue system where we can alter the colour temperature of the bulb and dim the light gradually over time. I blogged about that a while ago here. This certainly helps to make me sleepy and I fall asleep fast – within ten minutes instead of within an  hour or two!

Now I just need to find a way to STAY asleep! Not waking up in pain would be a good start. Answers on a post-card please …



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  1. So interesting. And your sleep habits are similar to mine. I get a couple hours at a time. I do confirm with my real fitbit thing and it can be enlightening and sometimes discouraging.

    Have a great day

  2. Hmm, I hadn’t thought about it being discouraging but yeah, I can see how it could be! We’d be superheros if we got enough sleep I reckon!

  3. It is interesting to compare my Fitbit record with how I felt I slept. It does think I’m asleep sometimes when I’m just in bed watching TV. But, like you, I don’t think I’ll ever get seven hours sleep straight through (without drugs). Please do report back when you get the results! Wishing you some really good zzzzzz’s.

  4. Thanks Carla …sending good zzzzzz wishes to you too. I will (try to remember to) report back if/when I get some sleep data.

  5. I love my CPAP machine. My doctor says hey you can let this go. I say no way, it helps me get to sleep and I feel so much better I never want to go back.

    I may have to start making up reasons to keep it now.

  6. Glad it’s helping so much! I don’t think I’ve got sleep apnea but I’ve always been a poor sleeper, even pre RA!

  7. Sleep affects my joints tremendously. I had to give up a job because of it. To actually know how good your sleep is would be valuable info. Keep us posted on your results!

  8. Sorry to hear that Cathy, but I agree, it has quite an effect on my joints too, and vice versa. Sometimes hard to know if bad joints stop me sleeping or bad sleep makes the joints bad!

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