Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Solving a Mystery

First of all, thank you to every single person who commented with loving support on my last post.  You guys are the best!  I read every comment and found I just couldn't respond because I felt I would say the same thing over and over again about being frustrated.  All I truly want is an answer to why my body doesn't seem to participate in the healthy living I try to do!

Just as I am a big advocate for my own nutrition, I am one for my own health.  After my doctor appointment, I started doing some research on two of the meds she wanted me to take and decided against them, for now. I want to revisit the meds with her when I go back in a couple weeks.  Part of that decision was also made because she completely changed my blood pressure meds and upped my thyroid med.  I want my body to have a chance to see how it's going to handle those basic things before I add in anything else.  The other part is that I'm not quite convinced that I need additional meds.

I honestly feel that there is something underlying that no one has been able to pick up on and if I could get whatever that issue is fixed, other areas may respond.

Last week, just before our Good Friday break, a coworker came into my office and held out a FitBit. Her husband had bought her the newest model and she had this extra lying around. She told me she wanted me to take it and try it - not for the calorie or water or step counting, but to wear as a sleep tracker.  She said she'd been thinking long and hard about some of the things I'd shared and she remembered how for a long while, I've been complaining about my sleep.

She just may be onto something. Here are four days worth of charts which you can read as follows: pink means awake, turquoise means restless and not sleeping well, blue means sleeping.  I knew it was bad, but had no idea just how bad it is!!

Thursday-Friday - the night after I'd been on a trip to New York City with my boss and had gotten home at 2 am and had worked all day.  I should have slept like a LOG.


 Friday-Saturday

Saturday-Sunday
 


 Sunday-Monday


Based on the first couple of charts, I decided to buy myself the FitBit Charge HR which also shows heart rate, and instead of having to set the sleep, it automatically senses your sleep when your heartrate drops. So the Sunday-Monday chart is the first using the Charge.  Still no better though.

The bottom line is, this is just terrible.  Now we're all trying to figure out how I even manage to function on 4-5 hours of sleep, none of which is steady sleep.  Who on earth spends 240 minutes restless during the night?  Ridiculous. I'd bet if I could get 6 hours of mostly straight sleep, I'd feel like Superwoman!  Mr. Helen was so distressed by my Saturday-Sunday chart he told me to go back to bed. (Couldn't had too much to do.)  And how sad to say this is my sleep with melatonin in my system.

With the Charge heart rate readings, I immediately discovered that my resting heart rate is so high that the FitBit thinks I'm in "fat burning" mode all day long. Here's the chart showing my heart rate effort on Sunday. I swapped over to the Charge around noonish, which was after my exercise.  Most of this time I was at my mother's house sitting around eating Easter dinner and then came home and finalized the crockpot meal I'd made us for Monday's dinner.  After that I was mostly sitting, messing around on my computer, watching TV and looking at a new Runner's World..  No exertion and certainly not 9 hours of fat burning effort. Maybe this high heart rate is also why I tend to feel warmer than most people most of the time?



 My co-worker (who is also a certified trainer) said she thinks a lot of this is why the usual formulas are just not working for me. I don't know what is right and what is wrong, but I do feel like I'm onto something. Now if I can just find someone who knows what to do with this information, maybe I'll get the body and fitness I deserve.

15 comments:

  1. I suspect I'd have similar results if I wore a sleep monitor, and yes, I do wonder how much more productive/better I'd feel if I actually, you know, SLEPT. So what's next - how can you fix your sleep issue (and you'd better share if you manage to do so!)?

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    1. My nurse brothers seem to think the doctor may order a sleep study to see if there is anything causing the restlessness, for example, sleep apnea. I'd be very surprised if that was the case but I suppose you never know! If I come up with a magic solution, I'll definitely share it with you!!

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  2. OK, so I hate to bring this up because I have found that people tend to have really strong opinions about it, but have you ever looked into hormone replacement? I ask because I know you are a woman of perimenopausal/menopausal age -- as a fellow woman in your age bracket, I have been struggling with similar issues for years now and have been to a ton of docs and done a ton of research. It is my firm opinion that all your hormones work together and that if the sex hormones are off (as they will be for most woman older than mid-40s), nothing in your body works right. This means you can take all the thyroid meds you want but you'll still feel off because other hormones are imbalanced.

    I know from personal experience that when my estrogen is low, I sleep like total crap. I also have a lot of pain (muscle, especially), lack of energy, belly weight gain, sugar cravings, and other weird symptoms that aren't typical "menopause" symptoms. Over the past several years I have been on and off hormone replacement and I see a definite improvement in those symptoms when I am on it. It is interesting that in your post you say "I feel like there is some underlying thing that the docs are missing" -- that is how many women (myself included) feel who end up going on hormones and then realize that was the underlying thing all along.

    That said, I would NOT go on premarin or any of the conventional treatments your docs might try to give you - I would recommend bioidentical hormones only. I strongly recommend reading one of the books by Elizabeth Vliet. IMO, she gives the best overview and reasoning for why a lack of hormones in women during/after menopause can destroy her health and metabolism. Dr. Vliet has one called "It's My Ovaries, Stupid!" that is a lighter read or "Screaming to be Heard" which is a more in depth book (very long, cites a lot of scientific studies). She also has one about women, hormones, and weight gain but I haven't read it.

    Even if you think you sailed through menopause and have no hormonal issues, even if you are against estrogen replacement because of the things you've read or fear/family history of cancer -- if you are looking for that "missing link" that explains all your issues, I think you should take the time to read one of her books. The worst thing that happens is you spend a couple hours reading and decide it's not for you. But if you are like me, you will turn every page wondering how Elizabeth Vliet managed to follow you around for the past 5 years writing down every detail of your life without you noticing her, LOL!

    Good luck - I hope you find the magic answer!

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    1. I actually did bioidentical hormone therapy for several years but had to come off of it because it was causing other issues. I would agree that during the worst of perimenopause, it felt magical. Once I was fully menopausal, not so much and that's when the issues started. So none of that for me. I don't judge. Each woman has to find their own path in this area.

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  3. My sleep graph look a lot like yours. Do you feel tire? Some people doesn't need 6 hours of sleep per night, I'm just fine with 5 hours. It would be interesting to see if you lend your fitbit to your husband, will he get as much turquoise zone as you get. I think that we all get in some deep sleep over the night mixed with light sleep. Just curious. My wife sleep is worse than me and much worse than yours. but she doesn't seems to be sleep deficient!

    Glad for you not to not give up and keep searching for your solution.

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    1. Yes, I feel quite fatigued most of the time. My husband wore the fitbit and he had solid blue - not one turquoise or pink line! Very unfair I say. My usual pattern is several nights of bad sleep then I'll just sort of crash and get good sleep. That happened for me last night 6 hours with only a few tiny turquoise lines (don't even remember waking up). I feel fantastic today.

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  4. Have you ever tried accupuncture? It has helped me tremendously in the past with weight loss (curbing my appetite) as well as seasonal allergies. My bf's dad has also had great luck treating back pain with accupuncture. I hope you find a solution soon; I know I am a bear when I have not had a good night's sleep!

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    1. I have not tried acupuncture, mostly because of the cost and the fact that my insurance won't cover it. It's a shame really as I know many people who have benefited from alternative medicines.

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  5. It's interesting that you weren't aware of this sleep pattern. I have insomnia, and I am very aware of being awake when it happens, mostly because I keep thinking about how much I want to be asleep.

    Melatonin helps me, as does magnesium, but they aren't magic bullets. I refuse to take anything stronger like a prescription med because even a Tylenol PM will make me so groggy that I can't function.

    I am sure you have tried some things like the room darkening curtains, white noise machine and covering all your digital stuff (including the clock).

    Another thought, though, is about your adrenals. I wonder if you might have adrenal fatigue on top of all this. Have you had that tested?

    It's annoying to have to take things into your own hands when the experts can't seem to help, but no one will do a better job than you of figuring out your body.

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    1. Oh, I was most definitely aware of it. I've been complaining about it for a couple years which is why my coworker loaned me her FitBit to see if what I was feeling was true. I take the melatonin because I do feel it helps some and I'm so with you on the PM type medications. Plus my RN brothers say that even with drugs, you really are not getting restful sleep like you need. Not sure about the adrenals - I'll add that to the list of questions for my doc!

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  6. This is very interesting, you are restless a lot at night. You might definitely be on to something here. Worth to look further in to it. I can totally understand you feel fatigued most of the time with this sleep pattern.

    Although you are on to something, I wouldn't have a clue what you should do next, I'm no expert in this and anything I would say wouldn't help you at all.

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    1. I'm so restless I sort of feel bad for Mr. Helen. It's a wonder he sleeps the way I must be moving around!

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  7. If I had one of those things, I think my sleep pattern would look a lot like yours on some nights, and on other nights it might be solid blue for about 5 hours. Those are usually the melatonin nights :)

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    1. I had a 4 1/2 hour stretch last night with no movement. I feel like a million bucks today lol!

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  8. My daughter's fiance has that fitbit, and his looks just like yours and thought it was wrong. So he gave it to Hannah - seriously 98% all blue! He didn't think that was right, so he gave it to me to wear and I had 99% all blue - the only blip was when I had to pee at night, went right back to bed and then when the alarm went off. I average about 7.5-8 hours of sleep a night - Tony was always amazed at my gift of sleep. I do think you are onto something though!

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