Why is it whenever I think about circles I immediately jump to the 1985 song “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”?
Storytime: My first encounter with this song was actually a vacuum commercial that aired during I Love Lucy re-runs!
What has me thinking about circles? This endless loop of fatigue and insomnia. How are those related? If I am so exhausted shouldn’t I sleep more soundly at night? If only life was that easy! I tend to suffer more insomnia the more flared I am.
Whenever I switched medications I suffered from bouts of insomnia. I would flare up during the periods when the old biologic wore off and the new one had yet to kick in. I became less physically active and found it more difficult to fall asleep at night. I eliminated the more physical activities like climbing, or shopping in actual stores. Errand were spread out over days and I spent most of my time laying down and resting. I was just too flared (from pain or fatigue) to keep them in my daily routine.
When I was in a good place with my medications (especially while on the Orencia) I was more active, happier, “healthier” and as a result, slept better. I climbed, I shopped, I lived! As a result, my sleep hygiene was fantastic.
If you read my recent post detailing my “progress” on Actemra, this month, you will remember as the medication wore off, so did my energy levels. I was uncharacteristically tired, run down and list-less (like the I Love Lucy reference?)
All I wanted to do during the day was take naps. I wanted to lay down on my bed and stay there. By the evening, I was so exhausted I wanted to go to bed early and I fell asleep quickly. Until a few minutes later when I was just as awake as though it was morning. Cue the insomnia. If I was so exhausted shouldn’t I sleep better??
I spent a long time thinking about this (as seconds blinked by and minutes turned into hours) and I realized this made perfect sense.
When my medications work I have energy. I work, I climb, I go out with friends, I play with my dog, and I chase my cats. I am happier, healthier, and more active.
Research shows that the less the body “exercises”, both physically and mentally, the less likely it will obtain a good night’s rest. Activity stimulates the body and tires it. When your brain and body feel fatigued, it is easier for them to fall into the natural sleep cycle and stay there.
The lack of response to the new Actemra infusion means I am less physically active. Okay, so, work your brain, Monica! This makes me sound somewhat like a moron, doesn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, I read, I love reading; I do my Sudoku, I secretly love crosswords, I blog, I color, I paint my nails, I craft…but that only takes me so far. These activities do not tire my body.
You know when you’re so physically exhausted you lay down and pass out? You’re asleep the minute your head hits the pillow. Your body slows down the internal processes and you recharge.
I am not getting that. My body is at rest all day. I generally sit or recline while I do all of the above activities. As far as my body knows I am already recharging. When I get to bedtime my body does not think I need anymore rest so I toss and turn most of the night.
What a blasted cycle, huh?
And, because this music video is hilarious…I give you the 80’s hit:
Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.