Sleepwalking for beginners

Basset hound puppy sleeping with head and paws on arm of armchairI’ve never much liked sleeping. It’s boring, I’m not very good at it, and it cuts into my productive daytime hours. I wish I were one of those people who functioned well on 3 hours of sleep but, sadly, I am not. Far from it, especially since I caught the leukemia bug.

My need for sleep increases when I travel, as I did to see family this past weekend. Travelling is exhausting, and being away from home with people I don’t see often wipes me out. If I’m going to visit with people, I need to be “on” for longer days than my body is accustomed to. But I push myself–that is my nature, after all–until I am a shade away from sleepwalking.

Fatigue makes it hard for me to carry on a coherent conversation, to attend to others for extended periods, and ultimately to remain upright. There is a reason I don’t rent a car when I’m travelling solo–I would not be safe to drive. Driving is impaired by fatigue the way it is by alcohol, I’ve read. On my last night away, I outdid myself by making the ultimate scatterbrained mistake. I can’t even remember doing it, but I awoke to proof.

I went to bed that night well after my body told me to, and I was out within seconds. My sleep was far from restful, however. I kept waking up having to pee. When I’m so tired that I try to ignore what my body is saying, I don’t sleep very well. Maybe you would be a grown up and visit the loo at those times so you could return to sleeping soundly. If I’m exhausted enough, I do not. I was so wiped that I couldn’t fathom the short walk to the washroom.

If you think this story is going to end with my wetting the bed, you would be wrong. I may be childish, but I fully mastered potty training a few years ago. After sleeping poorly for hours, I finally got up to pee, headed back to bed, and went straight back to sleep, only to be rudely awakened by my pre-arranged wake-up call. (Thanks Mom. I would have missed my early flight without you.)

I dragged myself to a sitting position, grabbing my water glass and granny pill container from the bedside table, as I do every morning. Lo and behold, my Tuesday morning pills were missing. My pills are never missing. On Monday I take Monday’s pills, on Tuesday I take Tuesday’s pills…you get the idea.

The lightbulb slowly turned on. No wonder I couldn’t sleep! I have absolutely no recollection, but I must have taken my morning pills, including my diuretics, the night before. There is an obvious reason people take their diuretics in the morning, which I need not explain to you. No wonder my sleep was so rudely interrupted.

What is the moral of this story? It is simple really: when you are tired, go to sleep. If you have to pee in the night, get up and go. And if you’re on diuretics, don’t take them at bedtime. Your body will thank you.


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