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Insomnia Issues; Ugh!

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Dec 18, 2013

The last couple of weeks have been a nightmare. I’m not sleeping much, and that’s not good long term. The last great night of sleep I got was when I went to bed on Saturday the 7th at 1:30AM and woke around 11AM. And it felt good. Since then I’ve slept little, including this past Saturday when I stayed in bed 9 hours but probably slept 5, and Monday night when I stayed in bed 9 hours and once again might have gotten 5 hours, and that was after not sleeping for more than 36 hours, which isn’t close to a record, but at my age is something I can’t afford to do as often as when I was younger.

I’m not angry; I was just
trying to keep my eyes open
for the picture lol

What could the issue be? I have absolutely no idea. When I started using the CPAP again (I actually have a BiPAP but it’s so much easier typing CPAP lol) I thought it would mean that I’d be getting better sleep than in the past.

Well, in actuality that’s partially happened. It seems that I’m kind of a violent sleeper, but the CPAP helps me start breathing sooner than before I got it. However, during the night it measures my breathing, pushing air harder when I stop and it doesn’t seem to go back down once it’s ramped up. At least it’s never down when I eventually wake up, which is usually when I still have time to sleep because I have to figure out how to adjust my breathing. If I turn it off & start over I can’t breathe because I’m breathing harder than the machine is ready for so I have to catch up to the machine and hope I don’t wake myself up before I get there.

So I do wake up feeling better physically, but not necessarily mentally all the time because I’m still not sleeping enough. A CPAP will affect the quality, not the quantity of sleep. And that’s the major issue here, as I had that CPAP on the entire time I tried to sleep when I didn’t fall asleep, which means at least I was breathing well, and I actually felt pretty good at work because of that.

But this post isn’t about CPAP or BiPAP issues; it’s about sleep, the act of trying to get to sleep and staying asleep and what works or doesn’t work well. I can’t say that anything has ever put me to sleep but some things have helped me sleep longer here and there, but I’ve rarely awakened feeling all that good. That’s what I’m sharing in this post. Maybe you’ve tried some of these and maybe you have something to offer instead, but this is one of those “diversion” posts from blogging or social media; after all, this blog is called I’m Just Sharing after all. 🙂

Let’s start with Zzzquil, the alcohol-free brother of Nyquil. Nyquil is good to help you get to sleep when you’re sick but it’s not the thing you should take when you’re not sick, and hasn’t worked on me when I tried it anyway. Zzzquil is supposed to put you to sleep but that’s it. Well, it doesn’t work; at least on me. Turns out its main ingredient is diphenhydramine. Ever heard of Benadryl? What is it; diphenhydramine! Basically, it’s a cold medicine with a side effect for some people of drowsiness. If you’re someone who seems to be prone to side effects then this will probably work for you; not me however.

Next, melatonin. It’s not really supposed to put you to sleep, but you may possibly feel drowsy after taking it. This is problematic if you don’t have a lot of hours to sleep because, it turns out, the safest recommended dosage is 1mg and most of the bottles you find come in 5mg doses, and the warning is that it might make you feel groggy after waking up. That part is true; unless I have 9 hours to kill trying to sleep, which is rare, I can’t take this stuff, which doesn’t put me to sleep anyway.

Next, someone recommended magnesium. I could easily rule that one out because I’ve taken that in combination with potassium for years. Since I still have sleeping issues, that’s a non-starter.

Next, hot tea. Most people recommend chamomile, green tea, or other “clear teas” that have no taste; yeah, I said that! What’s the main thing about them? That don’t have any caffeine in them, that’s what. The idea of hot tea is that it’s supposed to be calming having that warm feeling running through your body and relaxing you. Some say the same thing about warm milk, although I see fewer people recommending that these days. I’ve given that a try but I’m the type where, if I don’t like the taste, I’m not really going to do it more than once if it doesn’t work; and it didn’t. I even tried something my wife recommended called Sleepytime; nope, nada.

Me_Shaniece01
This baby would sleep only as
long as I held her; I’m not asleep

Some have recommended getting a boring book to read because it’ll dull your mind and bore you enough to sleep. You know, once I left school that trick never worked on me, and I realized books were boring because teachers were boring and you were trying hard to remember stuff you couldn’t learn from your teachers. There are books I’ve tried to read that I didn’t like because they were confusing (Tale Of Two Cities; I wish I could slap Dickens for that one) but boring? I’ve read books on ethics, history, religion, multiple sciences, leadership, making money, personal growth, Harry Potter… and loved them all!

Some people can fall asleep to music; I can’t. There have been times where I’ve had to use music to calm me down some because, for whatever reason, often when I go to bed my heart starts beating hard and my mind starts thinking of all sorts of things and I hear this weird beat in my head that doesn’t match up to any songs I’ve ever heard in my life; weird!

When it gets too bad I pop on some music, classical, and I select the “calm” movements of my favorite pieces like the 2nd movements of many piano concertos, or the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 5th symphony. Words… anything with words and my mind either sings along with them or tries to figure them out. Did you ever know the song was called Judy in Disguise instead of Judy in the Sky, and that the guy who wrote it was inspired by the Beatles Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, another song that makes no sense? lol

I sound like a mess don’t I? But I know I’m not the only one with these issues. What’s left? Some people suggest turning off any stimulus an hour before you go to bed. What are you supposed to do for an hour before going to bed if you do that? Some people say meditation. I tried that but instead of peace I start thinking about people I wish I could get back for some imagined or real indiscretions against me in the past, get riled up, and sleep isn’t happening at that point.

You know, those times when you wish you’d said that magnificent thing as a retort to something someone else said and now you’ve figured out what the proper response should have been, and you start wondering if you could find that person and say it now, only to realize that even if you could find them and say it they’d stare at you because it probably means nothing to them now?

Or those people who wronged you that you wish you could find, take them out in the woods, tie them to a tree, then shoot them in each of their arms and legs with a crossbow until they fully understand that they shouldn’t have messed with you and lied about you and tried to damage your life, even if you’ve accomplished some pretty nice things that you could throw in their faces but the crossbow would feel so good? You’ve never had that feeling? Never mind! lol Anyway, meditation is supposed to bring you peace; I know I’m doing it wrong.

I have found only one thing that really works, and it’s something I can’t really do on the road. That one thing is… stay up as late as I possibly can, exhausting myself until I can’t think anymore, and then going to bed. That’s it! When I’m working from home I often stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning, and I’m on social media or writing and people see me and are amazed that it’s actually me talking to them live. Works well talking to people on the West Coast or in other countries. But when I’m on a work project… nope, just can’t do that when you have to be somewhere at a certain time and put in a full day’s work. I do that when I have meetings when I’m at home because I know I can come back home and go back to bed if necessary, but I can’t do it now.

So, I’ll be back home at midnight on Friday, and I don’t have to be at the bank until 11:30AM to pay mortgage, which means I can stay up until 4AM if need be, since I’ll probably only sleep 6 or 7 hours, and even though I won’t be perfect it’ll probably be the best I’ve felt in 3 weeks. It’s not something I recommend for everyone unless you can do it, though my friend Mitchell Allen is living my dream of sleeping when he wants to for a few hours, working, then sleeping again; sigh…


Creative Commons License Carlos Huerta via Compfight

I’m not saying my way is best for anyone; it might not be best for me. But all those other things I mentioned… well, other than the CPAP (or BiPAP) to help you sleep better if you have apnea, I’m not the one to recommend any medication to help you sleep. I will add this though; sometimes I will take either an ibuprofen PM or acetaminophen PM to try to overcome some leg pain I might be having, and I think that might help me sleep better because it dulls the pain, but that’s it.

Whew, this was long, but I hope it wasn’t rambling and I hope it was somewhat entertaining. If I haven’t mentioned it here, what types of things do you find helps you to sleep? By the way, I don’t drink alcohol, never have, so if that’s your recommendation it’s one I won’t be trying. Go on, share! 🙂
 

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Heat And Your Feet

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 5, 2012

A few of you are saying “is he talking about feet again”? Hey, I’ve only talked about feet once before, when I wrote this post in June talking about 5 Things You Should Know About Your Feet after visiting a podiatrist. This time around it’s a real life story; heck, who am I kidding, they’re always real life stories. So instead it’s a tale of caution; stay close.


Last Sunday I got an early morning text from my friend Scott about going to a hockey game, my first in more than 30 years. I’m not a major hockey fan, though I don’t mind watching the games, but the reason I stopped going was because my feet would always get really cold pretty quickly, no matter what I did, and then I couldn’t enjoy myself. He told me I shouldn’t have to worry about it since technology has changed and they had renovated the place where the game was being held from so many years ago.

I didn’t want to take any chances however. Two weeks earlier I had gone to one of those stores that has lots of hunting stuff and bought two things. One package was warmers for toes, the other package foot warmers. I had tried the toe warmers and they didn’t work out quite to well. They did keep my feet warm, but I did a test where I put the warmer on top of my left foot and on the bottom of my right foot, with socks on both. My left foot ended up getting burned slightly while my right foot handled things much better, but burning my left foot should have been a warning call of sorts.

This time I put on two pairs of socks, then slipped the warmers in them, thinking I had enough protection from both the cold and potential heat of the warmers. They picked me up, and we went to the game.

All seemed fine early on as we watched the warmup. We had to be there early because Scott was acting as official photographer for the game. Then the game got started and it was actually kind of cool to watch. However, midway through the first period both of my feet started to feel… uncomfortable. They didn’t feel like they were burning necessarily, but discomfort is never a good sign. I decided to err on the side of caution and remove both foot warmers. Turns out I really didn’t need them to keep my feet warm, although I have to admit that I used them every once in awhile to warm my legs, especially around both knees, and Scott’s wife used one of them to warm her hands at one point.

Here’s the thing. Ever since I got home last Sunday, the bottom of my feet have been tender. This is 8 days later, and it might be hard to see in the picture I’ve got above because, trust me, it’s hard taking a picture of the bottom of your feet, but my toes are still red. I didn’t blister or anything, thank goodness, but my feet are irritated even now.

The questions are thus: did I have problems because my feet are sensitive; did I have problems because I’m diabetic; did I have problems because of the extra pair of socks, which might have pushed the cushion down too far and thus generated more heat than normal; or do more people than what shows up during an online search have problems with this type of thing that I know about?

I don’t know, but I know this; I had problems. I found the brand online that I bought & tried to see if anyone had written any warnings about it but they haven’t so I’m not going to mention the company name. All I’m going to say is that you might need to consider how tender your feet are if you decide to test these or any of those number of homemade foot warmers that you put in to microwave, since I did find warnings about those. It seems that the best way to warm your feet safely is in warm water by soaking them, but of course that limits you to being at home. Sigh…
 

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The Importance Of Health In Going For Your Dreams

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 16, 2012

Two weeks ago I put out my post on the dream I’m going to complete by next September 1st. I wrote out 10 things to consider while going for one’s dream, but I want to concentrate on this one for the moment:


don’t eat this

4. Define when I’ll work and rest. This one’s important because I don’t take enough time out to rest or workout or even eat, and if I don’t take care of me, I won’t be able to take care of anything.

I put this one in because there are a lot of motivational business books on the market that say if you want to be successful in business you have to be willing to put in more hours than anyone else. Some books actually advocate working 16-hour days even on weekends. Foolishness!

Sure, you have to work hard, and you have to be willing to commit to putting in more time if your goals are really that important. But if you work yourself sick then you’ll have to shut down, and at that point there’s nothing you can do to move forward.

There has to be points where you rest your mind and take care of your body. It’s also especially important to know yourself and be honest with yourself about your patterns.

Here’s my tale.

Many of you know that I’m diabetic. This means that when I’m not in good control of my glucose, I can have bad days and sometimes I can go into a depression if it stays high for a long period of time.

What this means is that I need to try to make sure I eat when I should, watch what I eat, and watch what I eat at certain times. This one is strange to some people so let me explain.

I’m not a morning person. This means that I don’t do my best work most mornings. I’m also not one of those people who can eat when I first wake up; often I’ll wait 4 or 5 hours before eating my first meal of the day, or anything for that matter. That includes even drinking anything; not good.

I also can’t eat certain foods early in the day, and that includes either breakfast time or lunch time. And I can’t overeat either, which is a misnomer because I don’t always eat until I’m full. If I do any of these things, I tire quickly and need a nap, otherwise my head is fuzzy. And sometimes, if I eat the wrong stuff without thinking about it, I’ll nap for hours and wake up feeling horrible, if I can move at all; that’s not good either.

But I can eat anything after 5PM or so, including late into the night, and it doesn’t make me tired at all, unless I stuff myself. Also, my best time of working if I need to produce things is between 9PM and 11PM: go figure.

Add to that this leg problem I have, called sciatica, which is supposedly related to my back. This means I have to do at least stretching exercises to help my leg feel a little better, and when it gets cooler again I’ll go to the gym & do strengthening exercises as well.

I gave you all of that to show that you have to know yourself well so you can plan your time to fit everything in, including the time to take care of yourself. On September 4th I started scheduling my work days, which includes evening hours. I start my mornings with the back exercises because I know that if I don’t do it then I probably won’t do it later.

I give myself the first 45 minutes in the day to get that done, get online to check email & social media, and then it’s time to get into the work day, no matter what I’ve planned. Then I break at noon to see what’s going on in the news and, once again, to tell myself to eat. I do this because I know I probably haven’t eaten earlier, but now it’s around 2 or 3 hours, depending on when I’ve told myself to get up, and at least I’ll be feeling the stirrings of hunger. The thing is I can’t take any medication until I eat, so that’s important.


this is much healthier

I plan breaks during the day. I diversify the projects I work on during the day. If I finish something and have time left over before the alarm goes off, it’s fun time!

Yes, I do have evening hours as well. But I work for myself, so since I’m home, that’s fine. The past 2 weeks have been amazing for me because of the scheduling. I know some people say they can’t work that way, but for me it’s perfect.

And because I feel better, my mind works better and helps me stay on the path towards my dream. Of course, my little vision board doesn’t hurt either, and maybe one day I’ll show you that.

Make your health as much of a priority as you make everything else. You don’t have to overdo it; just be cognizant of it and don’t hurt yourself. Be honest with yourself; you deserve it.
 

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The Cleanse

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 4, 2012

One of the strangest things about getting older is that you suddenly start talking about some things that as a younger person you’d never talk about because they’re uncomfortable. I hear that women talk about a lot of stuff that men would never entertain broaching, but even this topic is beyond many of them.

Organic Total Body Cleanse 14 Day Cleanse

Some quick history. I’ve had a problem with my left leg for almost 2 years. My thigh is numb almost all the time to some degree. Actually, not the entire thigh, but the left outside area, near my knee. Sometimes it’s fairly mild, not even an inconvenience; sometimes it’s much worse and spread over a larger area of my thigh.

In the last 6 to 9 months I’ve started having some other issues with my leg. Sometimes it hurts a lot, and sometimes it adds burning into the mix. Every once in awhile I have this nerve, called an IT Band, that pops out and goes down my leg and on the outside of my knee, and that’s when the most pain comes.

Mitchell doesn’t let pain stop him from doing anything, but I’m not a total male idiot either, so I finally decided to go to a doctor to take a look at it. He had me get a back x-ray (the first ever after having back and related trouble for more than 20 years), which I didn’t quite understand, but when the results came back it showed that I had some degeneration in my lower back on the left side, the result from back injuries in the 90’s, and he recommended I go to physical therapy.

I was about 3 weeks into physical therapy when the therapist asked me to go into one of the treatment rooms for a private conversation. Once in there, he asked me if the doctor had ever told me anything about the x-ray. I told him just that the doc said I had arthritis of the back, which is why I was there. He said that the x-ray also produced a second result saying that there was excessive stool in my colon. Supposedly, it’s not something radiologists will ever point out unless it’s serious, as it could have something to do with back pain.

I didn’t have any back pain before physical therapy, but now I was having some. However, I’d had that colonoscopy back in November, and the docs ended up saying my colon was slightly twisted, and that could be messing things up (yeah, I see the pun lol).

I came home to talk to my wife about it and I knew what was coming. If there’s anyone who’s always talked about colon health, it’s her. She’s done all sorts of things to keep herself regular and cleaned out, stuff I’d never consider doing. However, her suggestion to me was to go on a 14-day colon cleanse of some sort. She said it would get things going and that I might even lose some weight behind it (look another pun).

I decided to give it a shot, so I bought the product you see in the image above (click on it & it’ll take you to the page I bought the product from ) Organic Total Body 14 Day Cleanse, which is what my wife recommended I try. It’s an all natural thing that comes with 3 different bottles of pills, each one numbered.

Each day I started out taking 2 pills from the 1st bottle first thing in the morning. You have to take them either 30 minutes before you eat anything or 2 hours after eating; I took all of them before eating anything. Thirty minutes later you take 3 pills from bottle #2, then go about your day. At some point early evening you take 3 more pills from bottle #2 and 2 pills from bottle #3. Then you’re done for the night. The package also comes with 3 small packages of a natural laxative, in case you need a boost at some point.

I needed a boost on day one because I felt like I was already locked up. For years I’ve taken Metamucil to help me “go”, but I wasn’t going to take any of it while on this stuff. So I took the laxative the evening of day one.

On day two, things started happening, and I was mentally prepared for it but not physically prepared. I went to the bathroom 5 times that first day. Thing is, 3 of those times weren’t what I’d term “normal”. Okay, since I’m disclosing stuff, and you need to know it, the 3 non-normal times everything came out in liquid form. That’s kind of how it was when I had to clean my system out for the colonoscopy, but it just felt different this time around.

I’m not going to go into an every day thing, even though I kept a journal, just to see what would happen. Every day after the second day, except 3 days, I went 4 times. One day I went 6 times, one day 3 times, and the last day only once; that was weird. The day after the last pills I went 4 times, and I’m back on a regular schedule now.

How did I feel? Truthfully, at the end I didn’t feel any different, but based on how often I went I had to have been much cleaner than when I started. Every day when I went 4 times half of those times it came out as liquid; on the day I went 6 times it came out as liquid 4 of those times. I didn’t have any “cheap” bowel movements during this period either.

And I lost 2 1/2 pounds, which, along with previous weight loss, brought me to my lowest weight since 1997; wow! I’ve since put on a couple of pounds but that’s about it, and I think, since it just ended this week, that after the weekend I’ll get back on the stick and see if I can lose those couple of pounds and even more weight.

That’s my experience with a cleanse. My wife believes I should think about doing it every 3 months to protect myself. It seems that, if you do some reading, going regular is important to remove poisons from the body, and some of the stuff you learn if you don’t have good colon health is scary.

As for my leg… well, physical therapy has ended after 10 sessions, and I’ve learned some stretching exercises that help a lot. I have fewer episodes of pain when I’m not exercising and the pain I do have is less extreme. When I exercise, I know how to alleviate some of the pain every once in awhile and when I can’t, ibuprofen in my friend. I might end up having a nerve conduction study to see if more can be done about it, but one therapist said I might have to deal with the numbness the rest of my life; sigh… well, if it’s not painful, I can handle it.

Yes, this was one of those “I’m Just Sharing” posts that I’ve shared that you might not want to know about, but it’s important that you know, especially as you get older. Now I have to go find some cookies! 😉
 

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5 Things You Should Know About Your Feet

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 9, 2012

Yes, I truly do just share about almost anything on this blog. 🙂 In today’s lesson, I want to talk about feet, your feet specifically but using my feet as an example. If you remember, a month ago I did both a post and video on lying about your health. Well, one of those things we tend to lie about is our feet.

We need our feet if we hope to continue getting around. Sure, sometimes it’s our legs bothering us, but sometimes leg problems are caused by your feet; I’ll get into that one a bit more. So, let’s get started.

1. Always buy shoes at least 1/2 in bigger than what your foot is. For 35 years I’ve bought 11 1/2 because that’s my foot size. Turns out that it’s recommended to always go at least 1/2 foot size bigger to give your toes room to move. Usually it’s the outer toe where, if you’re going to start developing any issues, you’ll feel it. Even your big toe in some shoe sizes won’t be happy unless you give it more space.

2. As you age, you need more support in your arch area in your shoes. Regular shoes seem to be fine, but when it comes to sneakers many of today’s designs are built with more cushioning in them than support for the arch area, which can lead to issues, especially if you have flat feet or problems with your gait. Turns out I have both, as I’d forgotten I had flat feet and my right leg is 1/2 inch longer than my left. The picture of the sneaker you see above is a Brooks Adrenaline and it’s what he recommended, though I have to admit I’d never heard of Brooks before then. But the brand name isn’t as important as making sure your arch is supported.

3. Most cushioning you buy aside from what comes in the shoes isn’t helping you at all. Podiatrists seem to get most animated when they see you’ve popped down $20 bucks for shoe cushions. They say it’s a false crutch of comfort we’ve been conditioned to enjoy that doesn’t work for 99% of the people that buy them. I’ve always purchased extra cushion, even trying that “jelling” insole once, because I thought my feet needed it. What he recommended is that unless it’s a cheap shoe, which he said never to buy, use what comes in the shoe because it was specifically tested to offer both the maximum comfort and protection for your feet. It’s that thing about having your shoes be a little looser so blood flow can occur.

4. Treat your heels well. Adding to #3, it seems that we all concentrate more on the front of our feet when we should be treating our heels better. When we start noticing that our heels might be getting more crusty and such, that’s when we have to worry about neuropathy, which is when you stop having feeling in certain parts of your body. Actually, it turns out it’s way more than that; you could be causing damage without numbness, and it can start affecting other parts of your body such as your legs, your back, even your neck.

They did an interesting test on my feet, a sensitivity test. It started out with one prong on different locations of both feet. I did very well on that one. Then you had to feel two prongs on different areas of the feet; that one I had a lot of trouble with. I was diagnosed as having minor neuropathy, especially in my heels, but luckily he said it wasn’t diabetes related based on the first part of the test and said it’s probably because of insufficient footwear over the years. So we’ll be monitoring it over the next few years, but at least now I know.

5. It’s imperative that you cut your toenails. I have a wife that’s always on me about cutting my nails and now she’s got physician support on it. Based on our footwear, longer nails can cause us discomfort, if not pain, and thus we inadvertently start curling our toes, which then alters how we walk. Once we artificially start changing how we normally walk, that’s when problems start to occur.

I’m adding one last thing, but not changing the number above because I’m superstitious on some things and I’m not crazy about some even numbers; something else new that you now know about me. lol Anyway, the last thing is to look at your feet at least once a month to see if anything looks odd. Most of the time you won’t notice anything different, but we did notice I have this “thing” near the right big toe that he’s not worried about, but it’s there, and that I injured my right big toe back in November, which I knew because I’d seen the blood blister, but have no idea how I did it. It’s slowly going away, but if there had been something like that elsewhere it could have meant something bad. Also, as a kid I used to sometimes develop holes in my feet, which turned out to be blisters that grew inward; freaky, but after finally noticing and bringing it to a doctor’s attention we made some changes that stopped that from happening.

There you are; nothing about social media or the internet today, but something I think is equally as important. Enjoy your Saturday!