Wednesday, June 3, 2009

restless mind

Undoubtedly, the subject of insomnia is bound to come up at some point while one is in nursing school. It may be covered in psych class. It may even come up when reading about the nervous system while studying anatomy and physiology. Classmates may just proclaim they're experiencing many nights where they find themselves unable to sleep, unable to relax even.

Insomnia by itself is not a medical condition. It is a symptom caused by a myriad of possible diseases or disorders. When an individual experiences inability to fall asleep or wakes up during the night and is unable to return to a restful slumber they are experiencing insomnia.

It only makes sense that insomnia will intrude upon a person's sleep pattern when that person is experiencing high levels of stress. Stress, as well as anxiety are major causes of insomnia. Any nursing student can attest to the fact that nursing school equates to exorbitant levels of stress and anxiety.

Other factors induce episodes of insomnia. Sleeping in the same room with an individual who suffers from sleep apnea can cause disruptions for the unaffected partner. Seasonal changes, such as those causing hay fever, may awaken one during the night rendering them uncomfortable enough to fall back asleep. Everyday concerns might make it hard to fall asleep, or to get back to sleep after awakening.

Most nursing students lead lives more complicated than the role of nursing student defines them as. Many are parents, many work, and some have both familial and work obligations on top of the need to study for endless hours for that fluids and elctrolytes exam. Whatever the obligations, it all piles up and can lead to many a restless night.

I do not work outside of the home; however, plentiful responsibilites within beckon my name. I am the nursing student who sleeps with Darth Vader, aka Big B, the man with sleep apnea. If you've ever heard a CPAP machine you understand where I'm coming from. I also occasionally awaken because of allergy symptoms. There are many nights I have trouble falling asleep because a million and one thoughts are racing through my mind.

Just last night I awakened in the wee hours of the morning and those very thoughts inhibited my return to dreamland. In fact, that episode of insomnia is the catalyst for this post.

My episodes of insomnia are mainly anxiety related, if you hadn't figured that out by now. Big B asked me the other day why I don't ask to be put on something like Ambien. It's a good question. I do take diphenhydramine periodically.

The other night I woke up hot, and sweaty. It occured to me that it might be night sweats. For a woman my age that right there is enough to cause anxiety. It very well could be I am perimenopausal. Just skimming through information on perimenopause I see that I am riddled with a lot of the classic signs and symptoms.

Just wonderful. If nothing else that will keep me up at night. I guess I have plenty to talk to the OBGYN I'm seeing on the 15th about.