Sleep? Who has time to sleep? Sure we all sleep, but truthfully no one gets enough, and if we are honest with ourselves, how much sleep is ever enough? It would seem the more we sleep, the sleeper we get, but hey, what do I know?
I know this: I was diagnosed at age 50 with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), Celiac, and IBD! My first thought was, "great; now I have a starting point so I can work on getting better." I was wrong! There is no "better" with AS, and not eating any gluten ever is virtually impossible when combined with all of the restrictions from an autoimmune/arthritis protocol diet. Then you factor in all of the food sensitivities that trigger my IBD! I've spent three years juggling my new life of medications, diet, and restful sleep. The medicines seem to be working, but they are not a cure-all, and the pain is always present. I cannot take any pain meds because of the damage they inflict on my gut, so when I say meds, I only mean Humira injections, sulfasalazine, and Medrol.
My go-to for sleeping has always been a drink (or three) before bedtime. I fully realize that alcohol exacerbates inflammation, but you will try anything when you are exhausted from no sleep.
When I say exhausted, this is what I mean: I go to bed at about 8 pm, I fall asleep about 10-11 pm, and by midnight I need to roll over. The act of rolling over in bed should never wake a person up. You roll over, get comfortable and never wake up. However, when you have AS, this is never the case! Every time I roll over, I wake up, usually about ten times per night. I wake up because I have to put both hands under my hips and physically lift them so I can turn my lower torso and legs over. I have been confident for years that if I could only sleep well, I could tackle anything the next day. I never sleep well, and I am always playing "catch up" with the work I couldn't finish the day before because of exhaustion.
I spent four years contemplating disability and even filed for it a few years ago. I was given total disability in less than a month, but I received no money because I had too many assets. At this point, I realized a life in bed was not for me! I still have children to support and a career that is my purpose for living. I could take care of neither of these from my bed, making less than one thousand a month.
A miracle occurred last year in Arizona! Because of this miracle, I sleep, NO I sleep the perfect sleep every night! What was this "miracle," you ask? Arizona legalized marijuana, a simple solution to a horrific sleep issue! I was able to get a medical card before the legislation passed. I got the card because of the taxes I would save when presenting the card and any weird questions that may arise when people find out I get stoned every night before bed. You can laugh, but when I tell people I have AS they have no clue what it is, and many think I have something wrong with my ankles!
Now four years later, I am working full time and living an active life! I still go to bed at 8 pm on a work night, but I go to bed stoned and don't wake up until the alarm goes off at 5:15 am the following day. I don't have to worry that I will give in and take pain meds that could turn me into an addict one day. I have witnessed people that I know and love taking more and more prescription pain pills until one day they forget, take one too many and don't wake up. The Fentanyl/opioid crisis has reached astronomical proportions, and I have to wonder what life would be like for addicts if they had chosen a natural alternative like marijuana first?