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The Time the Dr Told Me To Sleep More

Posted by on June 22, 2012

Remember that time I had electrodes coming out of my head? About 2 months ago I had a sleep study done to try and figure out why I sit up in my sleep. It took 6 weeks for the results, 2 weeks for a blood test, and then yesterday, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

I got to the clinic right on time. And sat. And waited. Then I got called into a room and they measured my waist and my hips and asked if I’d ever had a heart attack.

Nurse: How many times a night do you get up to use the washroom?

Me: Half.

Nurse: (Smile. Awkward silence)

Me: Once in two nights.

Apparently, reducing fractions is not always helpful. Go figure. Anyway. I sat in the waiting room for 40 minutes. I’m beginning to think that Doctors offices abide by a different time zone, 30 minutes behind local time. Seriously, have you ever been seen with 29 minutes of your appointment? Except at the dentist. Where of course they see you the moment you walk in, because they know that if you sat down and had any time to hear the whirr of the drill or think about someone chipping away at your molars, you’d peace out in a heartbeat. But I wasn’t at the Dentist. I was at the sleep clinic. Where, judging by the wait times, they think we’re all a bunch of narcoleptics who will fall asleep  anywhere.

Anyway, after 30 minutes of ranting in my head came the moment of truth.

As I sat down, the Doctor asked me in an intriguing accent if Rana is my married name. (No one has ever asked this). After saying yes, my draw dropped as he correctly guessed my husband’s geographical, religious and social background within India. Here was a middle-aged, Jewish, South African man noting the subtlety of Indian surnames. Henceforth he referred to Varun as The Raja. (Varun was beyond tickled to hear this when I later relayed it to him.)

Okay, where is this story going? Seriously.

So he tells me I have parasomnias, which is basically any weird thing you do while sleeping. He then walked through the possible factors which might exacerbate my condition. Stress, caffeine, iron…

Dr: Your iron levels are disgusting.

Me: HA! Did you just say disgusting?

Dr: Yes. Sorry, but they are.

Me: Oh don’t be sorry. It’s hilarious.

Then he pulls out the big guns.

Dr: So, your sleep efficiency is 98%.

Me: [Grinning](If you recall, I was super worried about failing my sleep test. And I’m obsessed with getting high marks and being efficient. This score was like a dream come true.)

Dr: This is very bad. Normally, this would be an incredible score. But since you’re having parasomnias, this is the kind of result we see in people who are chronically sleep deprived. Basically, your body is trying desperately to get sleep before you wake up again.

As he explained the diagnosis and possible recommendations, he diagrammed sleep cycles, explained the brain and wrote it all down. I think this is the most help I’ve ever gotten from a Doctor. Apparently, the time in the waiting room was worth it.

After explaining to me that I have to take Iron and vitamin D and stop drinking caffeine (BAHAHA), he mentions, “Oh, and you use an alarm clock to wake up, right?” Um, yeah buddy. If you think I just hop out of bed at 6 am to work out without the blare of my tacky cell phone alarm, you’ve got another thought coming.

He then explains to me that using an alarm means I don’t get enough sleep. Read: My doctor prescribed not using an alarm, and sleeping more. I kid you not, people. If there’s one resource I have that I believe is completely expendable, it’s sleep. My mantra is, “OMG I’m so stressed I’m never going to get this all done it’s okay I’ll just sleep less who needs sleep”. And here this guy comes and tells me to sleep more. Which Varun just thinks is the best news ever because now he has a medical reason to make me sleep in (thereby allowing him to sleep in).

As I left, my brain was in hyper-drive wondering how I’m going to fit sleep into my life when he shook my hand and said, “When you come in for your check-up, I’d like you to see my associate. She’s a resident and needs to see the freaky cases. Sorry to say that, but your case is kind of freaky”.

Poor Varun. More sleep means more time to battle it out for bed space and blankets. Muhahaha….

10 Responses to The Time the Dr Told Me To Sleep More

  1. Andy Clutton

    hahaha love it. Fortunately the potential solution sounds quite simple and does have many perks.

  2. Justine

    I actually have been sleeping without an alarm clock for 14 years now… i was too lazy to get a new one when i moved once, and eventually kept getting a divine nudge of God-as-alarm clock each morning so that I eventually gave up on getting the clock. I think in 14 years I have overslept less than 5 times. I swear! I’m not trying to be spiritual about it – but seriously an alarm clock stresses my sleep out. LOVE the bed diagram… hilarious!

    • Amelia

      Wow. This is quite an endorsement for alarm clock free living. So here’s my big question: are you sleeping and waking times consistent every day?

  3. Kathryn Wallace

    Wow!!! I had no idea that an iron deficiency would lead to a poor sleep cycle! Amelia I love your sense of humor!! You probably made that doctor’s day!! I also love the picture of the bed with the descriptions…I feel like that is true for most people sharing a bed. My sister tends to take over the whole bed when we have sleep over! I have found small ways to keep her on her side some more successful then others. haha Happy Friday and I hope you sleep in tomorrow 🙂

    • Amelia

      Haha, well, the Dr def made my day! I can explain the iron deficiency thing when i see you in person. It’s basically because it’s crucial in carrying oxygen, and in producing dopamine.

  4. Amani Alfarra

    haahhahah you see Shannon was right to offer Decafeen Coffee. You know I think drinking tea doesnt allow your body to use or consume the iron in your food ..I know you love tea.. at least you know the reason now .. it is freaky 🙂 we learn new information by now

  5. John Rafferty

    Since I began studyinv for the bar exam, I’ve had essentially the same schedule for a month now, enforceable for the first three weeks (with some slight deviation) via alarm. About a week ago I decided that my alarm is far too obnoxious, even though it’s supposed to wake me between REM cycles. So for the past week, I’ve had conversations with my body/inner clock about the time I want to wake up. I have to say I’ve been pleased by the results!

  6. Kintoo

    My alarm clock is my cleaning lady… bang 6:30 and she’s there…!!

  7. Patrick

    Awesome storytelling, as usual! Excellent! Where do I get one of these hall passes for sleeping late and ignoring alarm clocks?

Thoughts? I love hearing from you!