Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sleep Hygiene Tips

September 16, 2018

I found this tidbit to introduce this post:

"The key to sufficient sleep is understanding what your body needs and setting up a routine that provides it...I found that five-and-half to six hours of sleep at night it enough for me. I don't set an alarm. Without and alarm, my body naturally wakes up when it's ready."  Manny Meidina CEO Outreach


An introduction to sleep discorders is here at

"According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 40 million people in the United States suffer from chronic long-term disorders each year and an additional 20 million people experience occasional sleep problems"!

A February 2016 study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis?!!

I was not aware of this statistic: older (50 years-of-age and older) Americans need as much sleep as young adults.

I was aware that older Americans sleep differently than young people

"Falling asleep and waking up are controlled by a number of chemical changes in the brain and the blood. Foods and medicines that alter the balance of these chemicals also can affect how well we sleep."

"For example, caffiene, which is found in coffee, tea,colas and chocolate can cause insomania (lack of sleep) and antidepressants, alchohol, and smoking can casuse a loss of REM (rapid eye movment) sleep. Smoking and alcohol also can result in a loss of deep sleep. Both REM and deep sleep are essential parts of the normal sleep cycle."

Sleep Hygience Tips

Elisha Lymas, Program Director for Jenny Craig defines Sleep Hygiene: It refers to the habits you need to have to get a good night's sleep.

She offers some tips for sleep hygiene that may help you get the downtime your body and mind have been craving.

In an article in 'Jenny Craig' on May 23 she lists "10 Sleep Hygience Tips to get more Z's Tonight."

I have taken liberty of listing a few of my downfalls:

> Cut out the caffaine before bed. Yes, look at the soda you are drinking too!

> Get in a routine. Do the same thing every day. Let your mind know that you are preparing to sleep.

> Set a schedule. Let your body's clock become accustomed to your routine. Keep it ticking at the same time every day.

> DON'T GET FRUSTRATED. If you've been laying in bed for 20 minutes get up and do something else for awhile, read, listen to music until the Sleep Farie comes again. 

>Balance Hydration. Don't drink too much so that you have to make a nightime trip but you don't want to wake up thirsty either.

>A Biggee. Be careful with naps. A nap late in the day, no matter how good it will feel will interfere with your sleep. 
You choose.

> Keep a Kool Tool! Set room temperature at 60 to 67 degrees. Get a sound machine that plays white noice (blocks out the sound outside your room). You can get sound machines from Amazon for $17 and up. 

Dark room, earplugs or soothing sounds, cool temperatures!


I mentioned that I suffered greatly from Restless Leg Syndrome. 

This affiction has been known since the 16th century was only studied since 1940.

It is now known as Willes-Ekbom Disease.

A similar condition known as Periodic Limb Disorder also affects the quantity and quality of sleep.

Understandly pregnancy exacerbates RLS as does some surgeries.

A more detailed medical review appears at the link I just provided.

ANXIETY can lead to sleeplessness

Anxiety about the events of the day or about getting to sleep will lead to more sleeplessness.

Tunes will help reduce anxiety and improve sleep.

Neuroscientists in the UK have detailed which tunes will give you the best solutions to calm your anxiety.

According to Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of The Mindlab International which conducted research to determine which song produced the greatest state of relaxation.

More than any other song, "Weightless" resulted in a 65% reduction in anxiety, AND 35% reduction in the test subjects USUAL physiological resting rates!

The video is also amazing.

Melanie Curtin introduced me to this song on her blog in
Ms. Curtin writes for millenials in "The Mindful Millenial" at

She also has 13 jobs listed on her LinkedIn profile!

She lists in her "Elephant Journal" that she helps men win women (

Here is a link to the 10 loop of 'Weightless' by Macroni Union. Since it is on YouTube you can also watch the video.

Melanie made a public playlist on the "Most Relaxing Songs Ever".

A quick Google Search for Sleep and Anxiety    

yields millions of results on Sleep Disorders, Anxiety and Sleep.

In 'The Atlantic' February 2015 edition, Gilliam B. White reported that health problems associated wiith job-anxiety account for more death each year than Alzheimer's or diabetes!

"Lack of health insurance' is listed as another stressor that is a grim comentary on our society.

Thanks for stopping.


Mostly about me then let's get to it

did not publish

September 14, 2018

These posts had so many lives I decided to make it a full fledged blog.

First in Blogger (MN Noreaster), the WordPress (dabblerduckbutts) and finally, now, a home.

If you have followed me this far, I really, really appreciate it.

As you have gathered, I have trouble sleeping. Ever since I can remember.

There was a time, when I was taking roperinole (generic Requip) for my Restless Legs that I fell asleep as soon as I laid down.

I don't think I can count those years though. That medication made me completely groggy during the day.

For awhile I even took it during the day because my legs were so jumpy.

Eventually I found that I was a death waiting to happen, to myself or another driver that I quit taking them.

The doctor prescribed Carbodpa-levodopa (Sinemet) for morning and afternoon so calm the aggrarvation.

Now, I take pramipexole (Mirapex). That seems to last 24 hours most of the time.

I my arms or legs start hopping around I take a muscle antispasm cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril).

If You Have Made It This Far

I can get on with writing this post.

I plan to find out what makes those of us in the world today tick or not tick. I am not sure which it is.

I say "in the world today" because I grew up in an earlier time. Without computers, smartphones and tablets.

TV was origanally an evening past time but early on I could fall asleep while watching that.

I worked a job for more than twenty years that required a night/day schedule. I started at 3PM on a Friday afternoon and worked until midnight or later and started again on Saturday morning at 6AM.

I worked the night/day schedule thru the week and when I got off at 4PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday were ostensibly mine.

Enough About Me

There may be times again but from here forward we are going to explore SOLUTIONS.

Solutions to help sleep come better, faster, more thoroughly.

Solutions to stop what causes sleep not to come. 

Introducting Sleep Soundly My Friend part 2

September 13, 2018

4 min 30 sec
901 words

Have you ever had trouble falling asleep?

Have you ever gone days or even weeks without a refreshing, recharging sleep?

That was the beginning of Part One.

I regaled you with the tale of how I stripped the paint from the inside of our porch.

Oh that's right.

I ended up in the hospital needing a quadruple bypass!

So Here the real story begins.

This is where this blog begins: Sleep Soundly My Friend

We will look at what is causing us to lose sleep.

What the lack of sleep means to our lives our health.

They told me I woke up frequently during the night. What?

The nurses that cared for me after the surgeons ripped my chest apart. 

They were kind enough to hook it back up with some surgical wire. It shows up nice and bright in X-Rays.

They were concerned enough that they scheduled me for a sleep study for a time after my convalescence.

But while in the hospital they diagnosed my legs with a condition called Restless Leg Syndrome.

Is this going to end? Every day another defect was discussed. 

In 1997 there wasn't much known regarding this condition and worse, there wasn't much really effective medications to help in managing it.

The Test

The Sleep Study Test was not painful. A bit aggravating yes.

I think it was around 10PM in an evening I drove to the hospital.

I checked in at the Nurse's Station for the Sleep Study section of the hospital.

I was really glad that there was nothing I had to prepare for or study to take the test.

Shortly they had me sitting in a chair hooking up wire to me. These wires seemed almost as many as I had in Heart Surgery.

They assigned me a room and told me to go to sleep.

Yeah right!

A strange bed, a strange room, but not a strange pillow. I learned from my hospital stay, bring the pillow that is familiar to you.

And a jumble of wires sticking out of my head and on my chest.

Did I mention that I have a am blessed with a large quantiy of chest hair?

Good luck with the sticky pads attached everywhere! Looking forward for them to remove them...

I dozed off because they woke me and hooked me up with a mask over my nose and mouth.

There was a machine that pumped air into the mask. Very strange sensation.

Later I was awakened again. This time it was morning!

The nurse asked me if I was refreshed.

That stopped me like a thunderbolt.


I had not felt so good after spending a night laying in forever

And it was only four hours of great sleep!

During the sleep study, they discovered I  stopped breathing 90 times an hour!

Sleep apnea specifically obstructive sleep apneas was my curse.

They asked if I wanted a machine and a mask similar to the won they attached to my face.

Absolutely! How fast can I get it?

I learned it was a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine.

I ran to the Medical Equipment store with the prescription the doctor had written. 

I begged to get one RIGHT NOW!

They had one in stock and the respiratory therapist showed me how to use it.

The Struggle

The first night was a struggle to figure out the contraption and how to fit the mask to my face.

Then I had to decide if I wanted the air to come out full blast or 'ramp it up'.

I set it at full blast and never looked back.

Finding a way to put my head on the pillow with the mask on. That took some getting used to.

The next morning I woke up.

I felt like I had just drunk the nectar of the gods (I was hung up on Greek Mythology at the time)

Boy I felt like a new person. I don't think I had ever slept that well.

So I was now on a CPAP machine (my wife had to start wearing ear plugs to block out the hum of the machine) and I had been given medicine to control my legs kicking around all night.

There were only a few medications at the time to control that flailing around. They weren't too pleasant but they worked.

My doctor and I settled on clonazepam (Klonipin). It worked the best but I came with its own issues. I had to switch to another drug several times a year to let the clonazepam get out of my system. 

The body got used to it and was ineffective. The fill in medicines were not very effective but I had no choice.

At a point in my life I qualified for healthcare from the VA (Veterans Administration).

At an appointment at the VA Hospital in Minneapolis the doctor prescribed 'Ropinerole' - generic 'Requip'. That worked wonders to help get to sleep and stay asleep.

I found out it too had issues of its own.

My Report

If you are having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, help is available.

Check with your doctor. Ask to take a Sleep Study.

If possible please use it. You deserve to have a much more comfortable life.

Don't worry about the cost of the CPAP machine. Insurance will cover the cost. I don't know the current cost but in 1997 it was about $1,500.

Even when I didn't have insurance, I found a supplier on the internet that supplied me the supplies (filters and masks primarily) for a very reasonable cost per month (less than $10 a month).

The Climax

By whatever means possible get the Sleep Study.

You will then have a diagonsis on why you can't sleep and tired all day long.

You have started on the road to enjoy life as intended. 

I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.

I have heard that some people, usually men, don't use a CPAP machine because they don't like it. 

I have rarely heard such a cockamamie line. 

To not sleep when there is a cure baffles me.

Some people say it takes time to get used to the machine blowing air down your throat.

I can understand that.

There are many times my dry mouth is really irrated. There is now a mouthwash that can be used to manage that also.

The dry mouth also has a nasty effect on your teeth.

That is the one thing I would like a do-over. 

A dry mouth leads to rapidly growing bacteria.

I didn't have an issue once the Restless Legs were under control.

I have linked to an article from the Mayo Clinic on tips for avoiding the 10 most common problems you may encounter using a CPAP machine.

The issues range from the noise that might irrate your sleeping partner.

The new machines are much quieter but my wife still wears ear plugs.

Some issues are due to the mask itself. 

It may not be the correct size or it may have a leak along the edges.

You will overcome these with practice and patience.

Then there a pyschological issues. Such as feelings of claustrophobia.

You might notice difficulty tolerating the forced air. 

The article above encourages you: "Time and Patience are the Keys. CPAP can positively affect the quality of your life and health".

I hope you join me in using the blog to explore the issues of sleep/no sleep. 

How it negatively affects your health and so much more.

Thanks for stopping.


Introducing Sleep Soundly My Friends part one

September 11, 2018
4 min 30 sec
901 words

How has your sleep been?

Have trouble falling asleep?

Have you gone days or even WEEKS without a refreshing, recharging sleep?

You know then wherefore of I speak.

I've had trouble sleeping long as I can remember.

Part of it has been because I came of age working nights, weekends, days. Whatever was called for in the restaurant business.

But this blog is going to be about sleep and solutions to the issues we face.

This portion of my story starts in 1997 as I recall. 

You may wonder what this part of my tale has to do with sleep but please be patient and if you want, imagine yourself in these straits.

In 1997 I was working on the inside of the porch on our house.

I had painted it once or twice as our children grew up. 

They were now out on their own with families.

So it was time I spruced it up again.

I thought it would look good with a coat of crisp white paint with the trim a light varnished pine. 

I would have to strip paint to arrive at the pine but that was OK. It would be worth the effort.


I looked more closely at the ceiling. It was the biggest expanse of pine and it was narrow beadboard with grooved detail in between in strip of wood. There may be a better name for the material but it escapes me at the moment.

I used a gel stripper I purchased from Benjamin Moore. Great stuff. Better than any other stripper I had used. I used it many times again on projects.

I 'painted' the stripper on, let it bubble up the paint, scrap the combined goo off.


After using the gel stripper to remove the paint from the flat surface.

I still had to dig the paint out of the grooves.

I purchased a Dremel tool for the purpose. It worked surprisingly well. 

At least until I burned it up. Back to the builder's supply where they graciously replaced it.

The work was tedious and since I was working overhead, it was taxing on the my neck and shoulders.

Eventually I finished the ceiling portion. That had taken forever.

Next, I started on the floor. 

I thought I would find a project where I could sit down on the job.

I started on the floor.


At least eight coats of oil base paint and then some black stuff that was atrociously gooey.

The floor was soon a skating rink. Sliding all around on the gooey mess. I found out the floor was slanted away from the house. Interesting.

Soon my knees become embroiled in the project. So much for my idea of sitting down on the job.

It was quickly time to switch tasks again to give my knees a much needed break.

The door!

A big beautiful varnished oak door. 

A lot of flat surface area, with eight panes of glass. The glass panes were framed in with very detailed edging. 

Well, I thought I would just lightly sand the flat surfaces and skip the frames.

Great idea and it looked pretty good too. A new gleaming coat of polyurethane was a great improvement over the sun-checked old-fashioned varnish. The new style polyurethane went on a lot easier too.

I still had all the frame around the door to do but I delayed it until I did the framing around the windows.

A real 'This Old House'. Built in 1927 it was seventy years young at the time. Fourteen windows. And Frames. Cedar shake for the interior wall and the area under the windows until it reached the floor.

Two door frames. 

I was beginning to question why I started this projects. But can't stop in the middle of it. At least I didn't think my bride would let me.

I decided it would be the better part of valor to just paint the actual frames for the windows and strip the paint from the header above and below the windows. 

That header was only about 2 inches wide and I should be able to zip thru it pretty quickly.

That done I thought I would now tackle the door frames. The frame for the front door was pretty easy.

Now to the frame around the oak door. This was the entry door to the house.

I started at the top and painted the gel stripper on. 

I worked my way down the frame.


The floor was on fire!!

All of the stripper that had been scrapped off and let fall to the floor was engulfed in flames.

I stomped like crazy. 

I finally called my bride to help. I couldn't get it under control myself!

The whole house going up in flame was a picture seared into my brain.

Finally. We got the flames out.

I couldn't catch my breath.

I went out the front door and sat on the steps. I still couldn't catch my breath.

The evening air was cool with a slight touch of fall in the air.

That helped but it was a long time until I felt a little caught up in my breathing. I was gasping as much.

That was enough work for that particular night.

Showered the smoke of my skin and from up my nostrils.

Crashed into bed.

The Aftermath

The next day was Monday so it was back to work.

I went into the breakroom to rest a minute before starting. 

I still couldn't catch my breath.

I called my doctor and he told me to get to the hospital. On the double!

It was only a ten minute drive across the bridge and to the emergency room.

Did I mention I smoked?

Well I stood outside the emergency room and sucked down a smoke. I figured it would be a few days until I would be ready for the next one.

I walked up to the admissions desk and answered the question on why I was there.


An orderly swung my butt into a wheelchair and off to a room. 

I got into one of those really ugly, really embarrising, but really utilitarian gowns with only a tie at the back of the neck. 

There was no point in even trying to keep the waist tied since it kept coming undone.

I waited for the nurse and then for the doctor.

The  verdict was that I was I was going for heart catheterization.

The cardiologist would insert a wire with a light and camera on the end into an artery in my groin and snake it up the arteries into my heart and snap some pictures on the way.

The verdict?

I had four blockages. Four!

No going home for me. I was in for the duration until they could cut some grafts out of my leg and attach them to my heart.

In order to do that they would have to stop my heart. I understood it was pretty much of a challenge to stitch arteries to a beating heart.

My hospital bed awaited. 

I woke up with tubes down my throat. 

Gagging I demanded they take them out.


That demand required a doctor's OK so it took awhile to get it done.

Finally!  I'm glad I wasn't awake when they put that it.

It hurt with room to spare pulling it out!

Four arterial grafts. Amazing.

But that qualified me for a dubious honor. I was a member of the 4 banger club.

Discussing the advantages of this club brought giggles to grown men in Cardiac Rehab.

Giggles?  You bet. It hurt too much too laugh.

So giggles bring us to the end of the first post to this new blog. 

This was the cause of what brought me to my hospital bed.

It also brought me to the place and time where my sleep issues were addressed and solutions put forward.

Who knew I had issues that could be identified by a name to begin with.



Thanks for stopping.