Wednesday, February 17, 2016

my pillows seem to have turned against me

As Rosanne Rosannadanna's daddy used to say, "it's always something!"

Good sleep is something the paleo world accentuates, and for good reason.  Most importantly for many of us, it is central in what we experience as stress, and stress cascades into swamps of malaise -- fat-gain, pain, depression, disease....  Those of us using paleo principles to improve our health and well-being consider sleep one of our highest priorities.

Many different kinds of people suffer from poor sleep, and i belong to several of those groups:  older than dirt, female, etc.  I've done a lot of things that i've found helpful, and my husband too seems to appreciate the black-out window shades i put in the bedroom, as well as other improvements.  We both benefit from separate blankets, for example, because we don't pull the covers off each other anymore.  He even reminds me sometimes to put on my amber goggles, which is also a prompt to stop reading stimulating material in the evening and go for something a little more restful.  :-)  I don't know about you, but when you're dying to know what happens next, either in a mystery OR a well-written book of nonfiction, 2am comes around VERY quickly.

Be those hacks as effective as they are, it IS frequently easier to get a good night's rest when i have the bed to myself.  J tries to move quietly when he needs to get up to pee in the night, but our bed creaks horribly.  He also tosses a bit from time to time, for which he can't be blamed.  But when he was working out of town and i was using the same bedding i am now, THAT never interfered with my rest.  Maybe.

When my stress was really bad last year, i started waking up about a half-hour after dozing off, feeling a peculiar and very unpleasant sense of dread.  Of all the sleep-hacks i tried AND KEPT, valerian as a stress-hormone inhibitor helped me not wake in the early mornings with an over-wired feeling, but didn't seem to do anything about these early-NIGHT awakenings.  And sometimes the weird feelings didn't wait till i was asleep -- sometimes they started just as soon as i turned off the Kindle and snuggled down into the bedclothes.  It was a version of racing-brain with worry ... but it wasn't REAL worry.

For the record, i'm a side-sleeper, so my face is often against both pillow and blankets.  I began to suspect my pillows.  They were getting pretty limp --  not FLAT, but inclining me to believe that the blobs of filling were breaking down.  They still fluffed up, but compressed way too easily.  At midnight a couple of days ago i padded through the darkness into the guest-room and grabbed what are some of the newest pillows in the house, swapped the cases, and tried it again.  I slept much better.  I even woke up better.

I slept better last night, too, and woke up less sniffly.  I'll be keeping an eye on the situation, but i'm already disposed to believe  some of my sleep woes had to do with the breakdown products of run-of-the-mill pillow fillers.  Since i customarily remove the fiber-content tags on my linens i don't know what to actively avoid in future, but i'll definitely aim for hypoallergenic materials.  (I LOVE feather pillows, but they definitely deteriorate too quicly for me.)

Life is full of those "always something" situations -- we have to remain observant, figure out what actually CAUSES our discomforts, and make changes as time goes by.  Who says you don't have as many challenges in life as a retiree?!  ;-)


  1. You can't beat a good nights sleep.
    You can't beat a comfortable bed.
    You can't beat the correct pillows.

    Yes, it is annoying if at times sleep evades us ...
    I thought the older you got the less sleep you need?
    With me a good eight hours is bliss!

    All the best Jan

    1. I wonder if they say "older people need less sleep" simply because they have a hard time staying asleep, and assumption takes over? Believe that reduced secretion of melatonin, magnesium deficiency, a glucose-dependent metabolism and a liver inadequate in gluconeogenesis, AND an inflexible bladder all go to make for insufficient sleep in seniors.

      I thrive on that eight solid hours, too -- nine, if i can get 'em! :-)

  2. I have to make sure my head is ON the pillow--sometimes it rolls off and I get a neck ache the next morning.

    I also sleep hugging a stuffed animal so I don't collapse into a fetal position.

    1. :-) i have to place my pillow just so, too! I also have a second one handy, to place over my other ear in case of snores or dog-barks.

  3. I think in many cases problems with sleep results from age-related hormonal changes,especially progesterone in females. However, correcting it is not that easy.

    1. No kidding! A single night of insomnia can be due to any one of a dozen different causes, and when we're in the middle of them it's not easy to figure out the right answer!

    2. Nobody ever had a good idea at 3AM.

    3. Lol -- in my younger days, when i indulged my inner night-owl, i did my best creative work in the wee-sma' hours. Now, though, i'm more self-protective....