Saturday, August 18, 2012

Someone Has Sleep Issues (And It Isn't The Baby)

It's 3:17am, which is not really an unusual time for the mother of a two and half month old baby to be awake. The unusual part is that OZL is currently sleeping soundly - and has been since about 8:00pm (seven hours!!) APL is asleep next to me while I type this blog post on my phone. I'm the only idiot who is awake.

I woke up around 1:30am because (TMI alert) my boobs were full to bursting and I needed to pump. We had fed OZL some defrosted milk before he went to bed so that mommy could have a few Friday beers, so by then it had been quite a while since my boobs had last been emptied.  So I woke up and pumped. And then I lay back down to try to go back to sleep. But I couldn't. So I sat up and read my favorite mommyblog for a while to see if that would help me get sleepy. It didn't. I closed my eyes again anyway and tried to get comfortable without waking APL up. But it was no use. And here I am 2 hours of wasted baby-is-actually-asleep time later. Awake.

I know that part of the problem is that I expect OZL to wake up at any moment and expect to be fed. Seven hours may actually be one of the longest stretches he has ever slept - usually we get about five or six in a row when we first put him down at night (for which we are very grateful!) So partly I think my body/brain is protesting sleep because I don't want to have just fallen asleep when he finally does wake up - because that's no fun.

But, unfortunately, I think it's more than that. This isn't the first time I've had trouble falling back to sleep after a middle-of-the-night feeding. It happened last night too and has been happening more and more frequently. And I think I know what might be to blame: prednisone.

One of the delightful side-effects of prednisone is insomnia. I've actually experienced this particular side-effect before. And while I've been taking my dose of prednisone in the morning to try to avoid this issue, I'm having a hard time coming up with another explanation for why I've been having so much trouble falling back to sleep in the middle of the night. Because it's not like I'm not tired - I'm totally exhausted and I know I really need the sleep. I just...can't.

And it sucks. Especially because it makes my quest to continue breastfeeding that much harder. If I want to keep breastfeeding, I don't think stopping - or even reducing - the prednisone is an option. I'm fairly certain it's the only thing keeping my joints moderately functional, and even with the prednisone I can still feel the pain slowly getting worse. And while in the past I used a sleep aid to deal with this particular side effect, that isn't really an option right now - both because I am breastfeeding and because I need to be able to actually wake up when OZL needs me. Don't operate vehicles or take care of infants as an ambien-induced zombie.

So I'm not sure what to do other than keep trying to sleep I guess. It's now 3:48am and OZL and APL are still asleep. Hopefully I'll be lucky enough to join them soon.


Megan said...

Have you tried taking the prednisone at night? My rheumy prefers I take it in the morning, but I find when I do that I get some sort of rebound effect (maybe my natural cortisol kicking in?) right about the time I want to go to bed, and then I'm wide awake for several more hours. So now I take it right before I get into bed. I wake up after 7-8 hours and it seems to help with morning stiffness. Just a thought. Glad to hear the little one is a champion sleeper!

Anonymous said...

I think this is part motherhood and part medication. Every time I go to bed at night I never guarantee myself a full night of sleep. The other thing I do is to never have any time instruments in my room, so when I wake up I have no concept of time. This won't work for the moment because you are pumping, but once this passes, it is good to never know the time. PS Do you live in Hong Kong?! So do I! Shan xox

J said...

Nerd alert: How's your sleep hygiene? No reading in bed, no "screen time" before bed (electronic light messes with your internal clock). I also find that if I'm still awake after 20 minutes of lying there, I should get up and do something and then come back to bed when I do feel sleepy. Prednisone definitely messes with all of this though...
Setting up sleep patterns will help you get to bed - most adults don't realize this. Also, getting started with these with OZL will help him develop sleep habits that will keep him down through the night as he gets older. If you know that a few things always happen before bed your body will respond to it. It's hard to unplug, but it can help!

Anonymous said...

For decades I had sleep issues, compounded by pain and stress.

Since I've learned and practise stress techniques I sleep so much better - right through the night, even.

The effects of stress are cumulative. The chemical cascade doesn't just stop at the moment you feel stress. Living with a chronic disease is stressful, so I've found that my sleep and health have improved by learning to tame the stress monster.

I wish you good sleep. Are you on a large dose of Prednisone?

I wish to congratulate you on the honour of this award, Mariah:!