Metatalktail Hour: Just Curious 💤 😢 November 19, 2022 2:03 AM   Subscribe

Hello metafriends, hello Saturday, hello to everyone's cats and dogs and other babies. My question today is, does anyone remember what sleep is like? It's been so long. I have vague recollections ... but I just can't seem to get a handle on it.

It was nice, wasn't it? Didn't we wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day or something? Maybe ... optimistic? It's gonna be a bright bright sunshiny day? Or am I imagining things? Perplexed. Please tell me what you know of this "sleep."

Or, just tell us about what's happening with you, what's on your mind, what's on your plate. (But no begins-with-P-ends-in-S, pleeeze!)
posted by taz (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 2:03 AM (37 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

My week has been spent in limbo between "too anxious about deadlines to sleep" and "too sleep-derived to tackle said deadlines cogently."

It reminded me of old Sims games where the Sleep meter would run dangerously low, plunging you into a horrible spiral of trying to get to bed and failing because you faint before reaching the bed--but even a Sim manages to get some sleep, albeit with face stuck in cereal as the meter hits zero at the dining table...
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 2:40 AM on November 19, 2022 [4 favorites]

Ever since the time change two weeks ago, I find myself awake at 6 AM every morning. I've just been staying in bed until 7, but the specter of becoming my father and getting up at 5 AM every day to watch CNN Headline News for 3 hours straight while drinking coffee is starting to haunt me.
posted by COD at 6:24 AM on November 19, 2022 [5 favorites]

Sleep is sporadic, filled with anxiety dreams and frequently interrupted by pain. Apparently I get enough of it to keep functioning but I don't know how. I crave it - I keep saying I just want to sleep for five years - but when my actual experience of it isn't very nice, I'm not sure why. Maybe because the alternative is worse? I've been addicted to The Big Moon's latest album and one of their songs, High and Low, though not my favourite on the album, includes the line "I wonder if you can die from sleep deprivation", with which I sing along enthusiastically every time. (You can, but it would be pretty hard to do so unaided.)
posted by Athanassiel at 6:52 AM on November 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

“But no begins-with-P-ends-in-S, pleeeze!”

At first I thought this was a pun on 'sleep' but I couldn't figure out how or why. Then I thought it must be no penis? Ok, no probs!

Took me ages to remember no -olitic-.

I'm just so tired.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:01 AM on November 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

I spent a lull time at work yesterday looking up videos on sleep posture, because apparently I am not very good at sleeping and need some practice; every morning I wake up sore after ten or twenty little pre-wake-ups where I have to move my arms around to get the feeling back in them. So last night I prepared by mashing up some pillows into physical-therapist youtube-approved, spine-soothing shapes...only to kick them all off the bed sometime in the middle of the night, so I could resume my tensed-up exhausting contortions.
posted by mittens at 7:14 AM on November 19, 2022 [4 favorites]

I have a sleep hypnosis audio track that I've been using to help me fall asleep/get back to sleep for more than 10 years now. It's about 30 minutes long, starting off with 10 minutes of progressive relaxation followed by the hypnosis countdown and then another 20 minutes of affirmations or some such. My brain is so trained to it that I can't tell you the last time I've registered hearing the last half of the track.

After a couple rounds of deep breathing, one of the first things it guides you through before getting into the progressive relaxation is to "remember a time when you felt completely relaxed." When I first started using this audio, the first thing that came to me was remembering spending nights at my college boyfriend's place. His parents were British and they'd initiated him into the ways of down comforters and feather beds, and I just remembered how heavenly it felt to be cozied up in that nest of down on a cold night. Perhaps ironically, even though I've long wanted to get my own down comforter and feather bed, I don't trust my dogs not to turn that into a murdered-goose-nightmare scenario some day when my back is turned, so I have to make due with almost homeopathic "memories of down" from 35 years ago.
posted by drlith at 7:38 AM on November 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

The last, and maybe only, time I remember waking up feeling refreshed and ready for the day was after a particularly nasty bout of strep throat that hit over a holiday weekend in a remote area where I had to wait 2-3 days to see a doctor. The morning after the antibiotics kicked in, I woke up feeling absolutely magical. It was amazing. Usually, no matter how much I sleep, I wake up feeling sluggish and foggy and have no desire to get out of bed. If I slept well that passes in an hour or so, if I didn't, well, that's just the day.

Lately, my body seems to think 4-5 hours after going to bed is a *great* time to wake up and maybe not let me get back to sleep. I would like to return it for inspection and repair.
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:44 AM on November 19, 2022 [5 favorites]

Ugh, apparently I have jinxed myself writing about my trouble sleeping. It's quarter to four AM and I am so desperately tired but I can't sleep. My right arm has been incredibly painful for weeks now and as soon as I turn off the light it's like the throbbing ache goes up several notches. Send me lots of healing sleep thoughts please, I need them!
posted by Athanassiel at 8:48 AM on November 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

lol, iamkimiam! 🤣 I made it as a hover title, but that may not work on a phone.

I remember back in the early days of metachat when people would just randomly post things like "Penis. Discuss." It was just organic penis all the time. We didn't really talk about penises, though. I think we just talked about talking about penises. Much like sleep itself, reports of penis may have been fallacious.
posted by taz (staff) at 9:08 AM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

I find it hard to comment on fallacious penis reports.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:14 AM on November 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

Fallacious penis reports embiggen us all.
posted by taz (staff) at 9:20 AM on November 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

I am ear-reading a book about aging gracefully by a well-respected local geriatrician . . . because silverback. I've gotten quite exercised by the framing of the chapter on sleep and how it has consequences on long life and good health. Seems that binary-binning the world into owls and larks is soooo yesterday. It's all "chronotypes" now:
  • Dolphins N=10% are wired and tired light sleepers; also highly intelligent, cautious, perfectionist and often anxious.
  • Wolves N=17% used to be owls: at their best in the evening and creative, impulsive, and emotionally intense.
  • Bears N=55% are median: deep sleepers while easygoing and social, fun-loving team players during the day.
  • Lions N=18% are early risers after a good night's sleep and are conscientious, stable, practical and optimistic with a tendency to over-achieve.
Smells like hokum to me. But you are welcome to join me in chronotype aardvark: characterized for falling into a drooling sleep while attending lunchtime seminars; as well as being intense, intelligent, impulsive and insincere.
posted by BobTheScientist at 9:38 AM on November 19, 2022 [4 favorites]

I used to be a lion. Now I'm a weredolphin.
posted by taz (staff) at 9:40 AM on November 19, 2022

BobTheScientist , at least you have powerful claws and a long, extensile, slimy tongue. Some of us don't even have that.
posted by taz (staff) at 9:48 AM on November 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

Content warning- sad dog story below:

I said goodbye to Figlet, my canine companion of over 16 years (and the reason my previous handle here was Fig) on Thursday. It was hard, but it was his time. I had a sudden realization of how much work, energy, and mental energy I was putting in to caring for him when he was gone. The morning chores take about 5 min now, instead of 45, for example. I don't regret any of it, but it is shocking how gradually normal evolves and then very suddenly snaps back.

One of the areas where "normal" had really changed was sleep. He slept in my bed (sideways, so taking up a lot of room), and was often restless, waking up in the middle of the night multiple times to pee, drink water, stretch his legs, etc. He'd also get very spicy the later it got, so we'd both be mad at each other. I recently discovered that relaxing dog playlists on YouTube were very effective, so that would be played at all hours. I also got a toddler bed guard, to make sure that he didn't fall out - that happened a few times, and he was always ok despite scaring the crap out of me, haha. He was a resilient old little dude.

Now, my bed is all mine again, and I can have uninterrupted sleep at home. I still have other pets, but they all come and go throughout the night, nobody's claimed a permanent spot yet. It's pretty great. My grief is showing up as exhaustion, and I slept for 12 hours last night. I got up, and have lazed around all morning. I should get to some housework, but as my fiance reminded me, Figlet would approve of a no-bones weekend in his memory.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 10:50 AM on November 19, 2022 [32 favorites]

I'm so sorry, Sparky Buttons. We lost our dog, too, in this horrid sea of sorrows that has been the last few years. She got to old to jump up on the bed, was too old to learn to walk up the steps or ramp I made her, was too crotchety / old to stay on there when I lifted her up, because THAT'S NOT HOW ITS DONE, and I was afraid she'd break a leg jumping back off. So I lost her snoozy little body next to mine before we lost her entirely. Same same with the restless nights. Miss her.

Hugs <3
posted by taz (staff) at 10:57 AM on November 19, 2022 [8 favorites]

Really sorry to hear that, Sparky Buttons. But glad you are catching up on sleep.

Odd week here as I have had COVID for the first time. Was honestly thinking I must be immune. I was supposed to be in Scotland at this moment listening to my mother give a memorial lecture about my step-grandmother, which I am sorry to miss. I did manage to put my oar into the writing of the lecture and make sure that the presentation included a picture of one of her cats, though.
posted by paduasoy at 11:17 AM on November 19, 2022 [4 favorites]

Sleep has always been a refuge for me even from purely physical pain.

When I was fifteen and just messing around in my bedroom taking something apart, I suddenly had an extreme, top ten in a lifetime of misadventure pain in my left ear, and it was all I could do to stumble to the bed and throw the covers back before I fell deeply asleep. I woke up fully dressed with my shoes on the next morning, with a palm sized patch of mostly dried blood (and stuff) on my pillow, and an ear full of what felt like dried out beach sand, the scratching out of which was a truly exquisite pleasure. I felt fine, got up and started my day.
posted by jamjam at 2:53 PM on November 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

So sorry for your loss, Sparky Buttons. What a lovely companion for so many years.

Sleep's been a struggle for me for years. I can fall asleep without problem in about 10 minutes but I just wake up in the middle of the night...every time and then stay up for an hour or so. Too tired to do anything productive but too awake to fall back asleep.

I've been trying this technique for a bit and it seems to be helping. Telling myself I wouldn't know full election results the day after also helped get into a different frame of mind.
posted by Twicketface at 2:56 PM on November 19, 2022 [5 favorites]

I'm also struggling to get enough sleep, down to 5 hours of poor quality and my eyes are drying up. Weird thing is, I'm not stressed about anything. I've not get too much on my mind, don't wake up in the middle of the night and immediately start worrying and come awake. Instead I feel tired, just like I normally would, lights out, lie there, any time now, whenever you're ready, doo de doo de doo...then not getting to sleep till 3, and then it's fitful. I assume it's pharmaceutical and hope to talk to a clinician this week but I fear there are limited options for switching from a bunch of necessary meds.
posted by biffa at 4:03 PM on November 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

iamkimiam I thought it was just a backwards play on the word “sleep”, so you are not alone in being mildly confused.

I wrenched my right arm something fierce doing yoga several weeks ago. The orthopedic has assured me that it will heal (essentially the bursa sac in the shoulder AND the wrist is inflamed), but existing has been pretty uncomfortable and I’m not sleeping well as the aching is waking me up at night. I’m not a great sleeper to begin with and not being able to do the the type and intensity of exercise that helps me with sleep (and mental health) has been taking a toll. I’m left with walking and I hate walking. I need the type of exercise that takes me out of my head completely and walking does the complete opposite, I end up ruminating on perceived slights and imaginary humiliations of decades past and feeling mentally bad afterwards.

Sparky Buttons I am so sorry for the loss of your Figlet.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 4:18 PM on November 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

SparkyButtons - I am so sorry about Figlet. In a weird coincidence, we lost our 16(?) year old pug, Pooka, on Thursday as well. She was the kindest and most patient dog I have ever known. We’d been carrying her up and down stairs for more than a year, and her list of medications was growing longer. She would sleep at my feet at night, and I am having trouble sleeping without her. I think it’s a combination of new medicine and stress, but I am waking up every morning about 2:30, and while I used to be able to go back to sleep, I just can’t, really.

On the plus(?) side, if I keep waking up and not being able to go back to sleep, I am just going to start getting up for a while, and maybe I’ll get some things accomplished!
posted by needlegrrl at 6:09 PM on November 19, 2022 [7 favorites]

Sparky Buttons, I'm so sorry to hear about Figlet.

My wake-up time follows the sun pretty well; I get up quite early in the summer (we don't do daylight saving here, so summer sunrises can be around 5:00) and merely early-ish the rest of the year. If I modified my bedtimes to track this I'm sure I'd benefit. Oops.

In a special exception to my normal patterns, I rode 100 miles in our local Large Bicycle Event today, so I am going to sleep soundly and long tonight.
posted by egregious theorem at 6:23 PM on November 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

I don't take any drugs, prescribed or illegal, no herbs, gummies nada. But, I take a calcium pill and vitamin D 1500 meq in the evening. I noticed when I started taking the vitamin D, I started dreaming again. Or, it helped with my memory, and I remembered my dreams better.

Ha ha ha. I get at least 8 hours of good sleep per night, I start early, because my elderly cat wakes me up between 4:30AM and 5:30AM. I am committed to getting the rest, I love my bed, I love having winter covers on. I do not trouble my self with any thought after I lie down. As far as I can tell, I am out like a light. It is rare that I differ from this. Some times I stay up later but early morning is the same. Yeah sleep! My neighborhood is full of fireworks afficianados so, at times it is a bombardment, I have no attitude about this, I just note it and go back out.
posted by Oyéah at 6:37 PM on November 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

So sorry to hear about Figlet and Pooka. Rest easy, pups.

One of my favorite new things from 2022 is the Sleep Baseball podcast, previously on the blue. I occasionally get one of those nights when my brain will not shut up about dumb things I can't control, and a soothing fake baseball game turns out to be exactly the thing to distract it and let me drift off.
posted by the primroses were over at 8:11 PM on November 19, 2022 [4 favorites]

Sparky Buttons and needlegrrl, I’m so sorry for your losses. I’m sure you were the best human friends in the world to your dogs.

I’ve had sleep-maintenance insomnia intermittently for some time, any time anything stressful is happening in my life. Good thing the last few years have been so normal! Ha ha! Sometimes I take a book downstairs and read in my favorite armchair until I get sleepy again, and most of the time, within a few minutes Cat the Elder will saunter over and settle in on my chest, purring. It’s like he knows.

I can tell you, though, that waking up from good sleep is like walking into my home after the cleaners have been there: a clear head and everything seems possible. My normal state of mind now is so damn scattered. It’s frustrating, like trying to braid with pie crust.
posted by eirias at 8:37 PM on November 19, 2022 [4 favorites]

Hoo boy, sleep is a huge challenge, what with apnea, depression, meds, and recently diagnosed ADHD (with its own meds). I made up a mental trick to help on the nights that the noise machine doesn't put me under.

Shuffle your thoughts to sleep by imagining groups of three random people you like. Focus on one person at a time, say their name (aloud or silently), and say which three people they might invite here. Then when the first group is done, imagine who the next groups would invite, and repeat these steps as many times as you can or until sleep comes.

It's a short variation on the Cognitive Shuffle created by the makers of a sleep app.

This thought shuffling has some science behind it. Serial Diverse Imagining (SDI) is a technique designed by Dr. Luc P. Beaudoin to help people get to sleep. It scrambles your thoughts. This helps you keep your mind off issues that prevent you from sleeping.

You can also do this thought-shuffling trick with groups of animals.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:38 PM on November 19, 2022 [6 favorites]

I have a 3 year old daughter and now 2 month old twins, I’ll let you just speculate on what my sleep is like right now. On the plus side my insomnia is cured, as due to being physical & emotionally wrung out I can usually zonk out within 10 mins of getting a chance to crawl into bed, so…
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:00 PM on November 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

Since forever, when I close my eyes in the dark, I get these impressions of light that brighten and fade, spread in waves and fade after themselves. I used to follow those as an aid to getting to sleep.

After seeing spontaneous network activity in cultured neurons by calcium imaging, I reckoned that what I was seeing was echo's from my visual cortex's spontaneous network activity in the absence of input.

Oddly enough, after equilibrating on course of duloxetine, the dance of the pressures of lights don't happen anymore; it's pretty uniform and constant. Just thought that was weird.
posted by porpoise at 12:10 AM on November 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

I'm so sorry for your losses, Sparky Buttons and needlegrrl.

Content warning for depressing stuff, but I've not been sleeping well either. Because 2022 can just F itself, I'm waiting on the results of my parent's biopsy. Been waking up every morning at 4am in terror of bad news. I know the 'waiting for medical test results' thing is a well-nigh universal, and universally shitty experience (and my family are lucky we have access to healthcare!), but... this year has been full to the brim of that stuff and I am so, so tired, and scared, and sad. Having said all that, I love sleep, and I am grateful for the sleep I can get.
posted by unicorn chaser at 1:49 PM on November 20, 2022 [5 favorites]

I don't even remember the last time I had better than a meh night of sleep, but I think it was before I started getting pain in my shoulder that started being just sore when I over-stretched a bit and has gradually wormed its way to the forefront of my life, with almost constant pain and the need to think about what I'm doing if I move my left arm to avoid pain. I tend to sleep lying on my left side, so get woken up by pain, turn over to the other side then get woken up again 40-60 minutes later, having turned back over in my sleep.

Plus, my brain has decided that it will exit sleep mode at exactly 4:07 am each morning without fail. Combined with the 2-3 am getting up to empty my old bladder most nights, I guess I sleep OK (I go to sleep very quickly without effort) but never great.

Our cat Soxie deteriorated a lot over the last week and got to where she'd lost 50% of her weight and we couldn't stand to see her pain and confusion any more, so we took her to the vet and sent her home. We miss her a lot, but she's at peace and not in pain any more.
posted by dg at 2:27 PM on November 20, 2022 [4 favorites]

For context I'm a 6' somewhat overweight male side sleeper. As I've gotten older I've had more issues with sleep. In my 40s or so I began consistently waking up with a sore back and/or hips. The first effective change was getting a new mattress (heaven only knows how old my previous one was). A few years later, the next effective change was switching to a 100% medium-hard memory foam mattress with a soft 3" memory foam topper (and a taller more supportive memory foam pillow), which has enough give that my shoulders and hips aren't stressed and my spine and neck stay straight while I sleep. That made a HUGE difference; I slept better and woke up rested and pain-free.

In recent years a different problem arose: I'd still go to sleep quickly and deeply...but then many nights, usually around 3-4am, I'd wake up again. Sometimes that meant I'd go in and out of dozing for 2-3 hours before eventually returning to deeper sleep for an hour or two (or three on weekends when I don't have an enforced wake-up time); I comforted myself with the idea that even just lying in the dark with my eyes closed and my brain freewheeling undirected would still be somewhat restful, and that helped me relax and deal with it better. But other nights I'd suddenly be full awake for a couple hours, brain churning with thoughts, tossing and turning and trying to get comfortable. On those nights committing to being fully awake - turning a light on, making herbal tea, and reading a book - let me feel less helpless and frustrated, after which I could fall back asleep. But that still meant I'd be getting less than 8 hours of rest and I'd feel it the next day.

Then I started exercising consistently (an hour of non-intense brisk walking or stationary cycling every 2-3 days), and that was the third big effective change - exercising enough that I feel "a good tired", but not exhausted or achy, when I go to bed results in a full night's solid sleep, even on days when I don't exercise. I still get the occasional less-restful night like before, but far less often. I'm generally a sedentary person and exercising is in no way "fun" for me, I honestly detest it, but it does make me feel better in general. Darned if the medical experts aren't right after all... Stoopid exercise.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:42 PM on November 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

I'm so sorry to hear of your losses, Sparky Buttons and needlegrrl. <3
Leave plenty of time and space over losing a family member.

I just want to state for the record, where MetaTalk will be my personal place of record, that despite gaining weight this calendar year of 2022, I am mysteriously not down on myself because of it. Sure, losing weight soon will be a good thing for me overall, if only so I can more easily do physical things i enjoy like Zumba or yoga, but the lack of self-hate due to weight gain is utterly new to me.

That, my friends, is a major win.

So perhaps I can channel this newly earned self-compassion into a steady and successful muscle gain in the new year.
posted by honey badger at 7:45 PM on November 20, 2022 [5 favorites]

I just spent four nights in the hospital with my dad after he had surgery. He's fine, but they just needed to keep him for observation. I had to sleep in a chair that leaned back into a bed, with crappy pillows and some sheets for blanket, and was woken up every few hours for them to take vitals. Oddly enough, I feel like I was able to fall asleep quicker and actually rested okay. I'm normally such a bad sleeper and wake up frequently through out the night. i think sleeping in a smaller space "cradles" me in a way, and feels more cozy than a big empty bed. I always manage to fall asleep on the couch, but couch sleep never converts to bed sleep :(
posted by monologish at 7:48 PM on November 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

I am also sorry to hear about your losses Sparky Buttons and needlegrrl. I know the drill all too well. My heart goes out to you.

As for sleep, I will get back to everyone on that.
posted by y2karl at 1:38 PM on November 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Sending sympathy to everyone for their pet losses.

I have one looming on the horizon myself as 14 year old Perdita becomes increasingly blind, deaf and arthritic, poor darling. Oddly enough my 16 month old granddaughter, who moved in with me on Saturday (with her parents, we're a multigenerational household now) has completely bonded with her. She sits and very gently pets Perdita and says "Dita, Dita, good." I was not expecting this! I laid in some extra baby gates and got ready to make sure the baby couldn't bother the senior dog and vice versa but no, they are pals. Pals who still get separated when Dita gets tired or baby gets bouncy, but still, big relief. Harvey, the energetic younger dog, also likes the baby - and has discovered that sitting right next to her highchair pays out in delicious dividends. She likes Harvey and even giggles when his wild waving tail hits her in the face, bless her, but she prefers Dita, go figure.

Sleep! Ahh ha ha ha ha yeah I vaguely remember that. I fall asleep immediately and I wake up a few hours later and it's usually game over, or, worse, I get back to sleep an hour before the alarm goes off at 6:30. Actually last week I started taking melatonin and it worked really well. Last night I forgot and got to stress the hell out from 3:30 to almost 5. I have been trying to write down what I'm obsessing about (I read about this somewhere in some clickbaity cure your insomnia!1!! article) and that actually does kind of help. Plus I suspect that rereading it eventually will be entertaining.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:14 AM on November 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

I suspect that rereading it eventually will be entertaining.

Yeah, in my case at least I've found that Wee Small Hours Brain is a liar and a right bastard.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:35 AM on November 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

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