Lack Of Sleep Is Wearing Me Down
After another night of badly disrupted sleep I’m starting to feel very worn down, I feel like I’m living in a kind of grey reality where everything is more complicated and difficult than it should be. It’s hard to find things to enjoy, to concentrate, to find the energy. I’ve just had to put my head down and push through it, forcing myself to keep exercising, to eat well and to do the essential chores but it’s taking all of my determination. Each day I’m learning a bit more about Restless Leg and potential treatments, of course there are the drug treatments that I know work, because I’ve used them for many years, but I don’t want to take them, hence the ‘agony’ I’m putting myself though. It’s becoming clear though in my research that Restless Leg rarely goes away, so it’s unlikely that it will in my case and as I think back over the years I’ve almost always had one or more medication that I used for something else that happened to also control it for me.
So now I don’t have any of those medications to fall back on I’m going to have to look into the approaches that only work for perhaps 5% of people rather than the ones I’ve rejected that work for 50%. These 5% approaches includes things that help me sleep like Valerian Root; substances that increase the production of dopamine like Ginkgo Biloba and Acetyl Tyrosine; changes to my environment like elevating my feet, hot baths, cooling gel, wearing tight socks; and foods that might also help like bananas and apples.
I also need to start preparing for the fact that there’s only so many more days I can risk poor sleep, if I’m not sleeping my Friday I think I will need to consider weaning myself back onto a medication that works, trying to find the minimum effective dose. What worries me though is that the doses of Lycria and codeine that people seem to need to be effective are higher than those that I was taking, that either means that I’m suffering very mildly or that over time I will need to keep upping the dose over time, which is very likely.
Anyway after two hours wide awake last night and waking up half a dozen additional times I finally dragged myself out of bed at around 8am and headed off to Caffe Nero, naturally my window seat was taken but after 5 minutes it was vacated and I grabbed it. I settled into some work, but a migraine slowly developed and as I can’t take cocodamol I had to take naproxen, which meant I had to also eat something. I chose a lemon cheese cake, but it was pretty horrible, much to sweet. I left just after ten and popped into Sainsbury’s and then walked north to the sand yacht club and back to M&S along the beach, finally remembering to buy myself some apples.
Back home I did the chores, washing up, cat litter, clothes, sweeping etc and then started watching Horizon, about the multiverse hypothesis. It’s really quite sad to see the extent to which Horizon has been dumbed down, there’s perhaps 5 minutes of actual content in each show, with the rest of the time given over to endless head-shots of scientists, scenic vistas and gimmicks. I then ‘jumped’ on my exercise bike to watch another ludicrous episode of Agent X, which would be impossible to watch if I wasn’t mostly focused on riding. After the bike I went in the bath and read for an hour, gradually working my way through a huge Instapaper queue.
I finished listening to The Blue Zones book as well, which was mostly the same content that had been in the Blue Zones Solution that I had already read (so I got a refund). The basic lessons from these long lived populations are pretty simple:
- Live simply, and be content, in fact actively appreciate what little you have
- Eat simply, mostly stapes like beans, rice, corn, wheat, potato with lots of veg, some fruit/nuts each day and dairy and meat a few days a week
- Have plenty of social connection
- Be aware of your purpose, even if that purpose is simple, like caring for family
- Drink in moderation
- Be part of a religious community
As the people that were interviewed were all 100+ years old, it’s quite a misleading list. As anyone that old is very likely to live and eat simply because that’s how everyone lived for at least half their lives. It’s also likely that they will have plenty of social connections because they are old enough to have a big family and lonely people would have died off. Simillarly a hundred years ago almost everyone would have belonged to a religious community and drinking in moderation is no surprise either as almost everyone that old would have drunk as a youngster and developed the habit and those that drank a lot would have died off. So perhaps the only modestly interesting finding is that they all new their purpose and were content with what they had. Of course there was plenty of subtle details that were interesting and the stories were quite engaging.
I’d summarise the findings as follows – people alive today who have lived to be a 100, still live in a similar way to the way they lived for their first 50 years of life. Most of the other findings are just as likely to be association, not causation, except having a purpose and contentment. These people effectively retired before the modern world really got started and most had too little money or motivation (they were content) to embrace modernity. As the rate of change in the world accelerates I doubt there will be many in the generations that follow these oldies who will be able to continue the way they lived in their youth into their old age.