Once again, I played the game of “Spence the Psychiatrist/Doctor,” and lost. One of these days I’ll get it right, and actually consult medical professionals when it comes to medicine and prescriptions. In this case, it has to do with my new Achilles heel, sleep.
Ever since resigning from the hotel last June, and tackling the venture of starting a new business, I haven’t slept soundly, maybe getting 5-6 hours of sleep per night. Perhaps it’s the stress of financial insecurity, or that my training has doubled since then, or maybe it’s the effects of returning to Prozac. One thing’s for sure: I’ve learned to understand that if I think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to prescriptions and medicine, I need to shut up and realize that I really don’t. Shut up Spence.
Back in December, after returning from the North Face 50 Miler, I had finally given up on the restless nights of sleep. I went back to my psychiatrist and tried to come up with an effective plan. The solution was to alternate nights of sleep between taking Trazodone and Lunesta, two prescription sleeping aids. Trazodone used to be known as an anti-depressant but it now more commonly used for insomnia. After about a month of this practice, when it didn’t really seem to work, I quit both meds cold turkey. I had heard a podcast around this time that dealt with the effects of sleep and some natural things I could practice to help me sleep more soundly. I quickly adopted meditation before bedtime, magnesium, and some super-herbal sleeping remedy that I picked up at the Co-op. In one week I had gone from taking some pretty stout prescriptions to going all natural. Tip: Don’t do this. It didn’t help anything, in fact it made it worse.
Once the all natural practice didn’t work I quickly reverted back to taking Lunesta and Trazodone sporadically, along with massive doses of melatonin and Advil PM. After about a month of switching around the four different methods I gave up again. I started to actually do some research on what might be the cause of this. I reached out to several friends, that I trust, in the endurance world, and beyond, to get their takes. After numerous conversations and research it hit me…why don’t I try one thing for a while rather than creating all of these asinine concoctions that I had no clue about. With the guidance of my doctor, and friends that I had consulted, I landed on the solution to perhaps increase the dose of Trazodone and just keep it simple. Novel idea huh? Spence the medical expert strikes again.
Last night was the first night that I took an elevated dose of Trazodone (for me 100mgs). And wouldn’t you know, it worked. I slept a full 9 hours, the first time in over 9 months. Unfortunately one of the side effects of the elevated dose was a hangover effect this morning. While riding this morning I felt groggy and tired, maybe my body had just been craving a full nights sleep. I’m sure it’ll take a couple of weeks to adjust. Unexpectedly it did remind me of what a hangover feels like, which brought up some gratitude knowing I don’t have to deal with that shit any longer, if I maintain my sobriety.
Sleeping for me is extremely important on so many levels. For one, I’m more creative and productive with work. Two, I’m more at ease during the day, less agitated by people, places, and things. And three, I recovery from training more efficiently. I just hope I’m able to keep the sleep going.
Yet again, I’ve learned my lesson the hard way. Most importantly I truly am understanding that I’m not a doctor…nor will I ever be. I’ll leave that up to my smart friends.