One of the things Im struggling with at the moment is tiredness. They tell you before and after your operation that you may need to empty your bag several times a day and a couple of times through the night, but at those times you have bigger fish to fry. Now on the whole I am well, Im used to dealing with my ileostomy bag and life is slowly get back to normal. Having to wake two to three times a night is really getting to me. Im so tired.
I wake at least once a night, but usually two or three times a night to empty my bag, this disrupted sleep pattern is touch to deal with. I never wake in the morning feeling rested and ready for the day. My husband has been great and he is getting up with the kids and doing the school run, but I feel guilty about that.
Im trying to resolve this as much as I can by not eating after 6pm and getting early nights. The problem is that I have so much going on at the minute that my head is buzzing with all the things I need to do that no matter how early I go to bed, I just can’t drop off. I run photography company The Picture Foundry and as anyone who runs their own business knows, there is ALWAYS work to be done, Im also planning our wedding renewal which is happening in September and as a little sneaky whisper… we are moving house this year too! Shhhhh!!!! All this along with having three kids, a dog, two cats and two chickens, running my family, caring for my own health and planning my next surgery means my life is a little hectic right now!!
The months of broken sleep are creeping up on me now, I haven’t had a full nights sleep since probably June last year when I started on the steroids… Man, now I have worked that out, it is NO WONDER Im exhausted!!!! Im actually shocked at that. To be honest it was probably before June as my flare up was bad before they steroid treatment began.
I can’t do anything about the reason Im waking through the night, I don’t have a large bowel and so my body can’t store waste, I have to wake to empty my bag and this is never going to change. So after some extensive googling, I have come up with a few things that Im going to try to get a better nights sleep.
TURN OFF THE TV, COMPUTER AND PHONE
I have a terrible habit of bringing the laptop to bed, where I will either surf the internet, watch netflix or get work done. This is such a bad thing to do, it means I have no winding down time and all that staring at a screen is bad for sleep, the artificial light apparently suppresses melatonin which is the hormone that regulates sleep patterns.
I have also started putting my phone on aeroplane mode and putting it in my bedside table so the buzzing doesnt disturb me and Im not tempted to pick it up!
MAKE THE BEDROOM DARK
I read this in a book recently and so we have been covering any little blinky lights in our bedroom as well as covering the alarm clock and making sure the curtains are shut tight and there is as little external light as possible. I have an eye mask that Timm and the kids got my whilst I was in hospital and so this is going to make a comeback!
AVOID BIG MEALS LATE AT NIGHT
This is a biggie for me as the reason I wake is because my ileostomy bag is filling with waste overnight. You are apparently meant to limit drinks in the evening too but due to me being susceptible to dehydration I don’t do this.
Regular exercise really helps with sleep, so Im aiming to exercise at least three times a week, whether it is swimming, the gym, a class or just a long dog walk.
MAKE YOUR ROOM A NICE PLACE TO SLEEP
Im trying to make my bedroom a bit of a sanctuary, a peaceful and restful place. This is not easy with three kids. Im forever finding lego in my bed and Monster High dolls under my pillow. There is usually a stack of paperwork on my bedside table along with business books and a stack of laundry to be put away in the corner. My room is usually a bit of a mess as its the last thing on my list of priorities. I need to make it a priority.
I read something that said ‘Make your bed a place for ONLY sex or sleep’ – this makes a lot of sense!!!
As soon as I lay in bed, I start thinking of all the things I need to do, and it sometimes feels endless. I worry about money, work, kids, my health, my family… Basically everything!!
I need to accept that I have a lot on right now and so Im writing lists. If its on my mind, it goes on a list and hopefully this will help my inability to drop off once Im in bed.
If anyone has any other tips on sleep and tiredness, I would love to hear them!