Celiac Disease and Sleeping – The frustrating journey of falling and staying asleep.

Sleep. It’s not supposed to be this hard right?

Meet our Boston Terrier Maggie. She sleeps about 20 hours/day. On the couch, in her crate or in her bed – she can be found snoozing all over our house.

Yet for me, it’s another sleepless night, awake on Pinterest and about to go downstairs to read on the couch. Ever since I can remember I struggled with falling asleep. As a kid I would read with a flashlight under my blankets, leaving me exhausted in the morning. As a teenager, I would read until all hours of the night or sneak downstairs and watch tv, leaving me exhausted in the morning. As an adult, working a 9-5 job left me again exhausted in the mornings.

Right now I’m in a really great routine. Falling asleep around 2am and getting up about 10am. That’s giving me 8 hours of sleep. Right now I have the amazing ability to set my own schedule since I own my own business. I can assure you everyone that knows me avoids calling me before 10 am if they want me to answer nicely.

When I struggled around July of this year, the doctor gave me a very low dose of Ambien to sleep through the night. That stuff is amazing. I know why people get addicted. Being able to fall asleep on command and wake up feeling refreshed and re-energized was a novel concept. I knew what was about to happen though, I’ve tried this before with Lunesta a few years ago when my Uncle died. My body becomes very dependent easily and requires more drugs to make me actually fall asleep. It took me 2 days of zero sleep to actually start sleeping on my own again after 8 weeks of using the pills.

But why the struggle? Is it because I’m always thinking of new business opportunities, ideas or worries? Is it because my body just has its own schedule that I need to work around? Is it because I’m terrified someone is going to murder me in my sleep?

I’ve tried everything. Reading before bed with no tv or phone lights, hot baths, warm milk, tea, melatonin, Valerian root, yoga, meditation, deep breathing, getting on a schedule, working out, etc. I will tell you the best thing I tried was Acupuncture – it really seemed to help me sleep. I just can’t afford to go regularly right now because our insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the visit. Next year I will put more money into our flexible spending account to go to the Acupuncturist more often. I will write an entirely different blog post on the acupuncture!

In the past I’ve read articles about people who suffer from IBS and other stomach like symptoms don’t usually sleep well because their gut is always in distress and can’t adequately rest while you sleep, thus causing the sleeplessness and insomnia. If your body can’t rest, you will never feel rested when you wake up. I’ve been gluten-free for almost a year now and I’m just starting to think that my body is programmed differently than other people and I just need to accept it and move on. Stop worrying about something I can’t control.

I run into problems when I have obligations that are before 10 am! Obviously, it is very difficult to wake up early if you go to bed very late. On a positive note, I probably get more done between midnight and 2am than I do in an entire day! No one is awake, no tempting social media, no one texting/calling/emailing me – total alone time to focus on my million projects!

Some people are night owls and others are early birds. To me, the early bird can have the worm because they are gross anyway!

What are you… A night owl or an early worm?


2 responses

  1. Fantastic post. I’ve struggled with insomnia since I was a teenager. Coincidentally, I’ve also been diagnosed with celiac since I was 16. I never thought about the possibility that the two could be linked.

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