Pandemic Sleep

Sleep, What’s That?

It’s been nearly 10 years since I started using a CPAP machine. It has helped me sleep, possibly kept me alive, and sometimes made my life a living hell. But hey, check out this clip of me snoring from 2006. Things have improved!

I think I’ve had insomnia all of my adult life. And I’ve suffered from insomnia many of those years. When I was younger I though “Ah! Insomnia? Awesome! I can get more done if I don’t sleep!” I even knew a guy who named his company “Insomnia Development” in reference to staying up late, working on software projects rather than sleeping. Yeah, it’s just unhealthy.

2020 was… rough. Not just because of the pandemic, though that didn’t help. It was the most stressful year for me in so many ways. I started to suffer from anxiety and depression in 2019 and it rolled into 2020 full steam ahead. Things have improved since then, but for the past few months my sleep has not been great. (I mean, it’s never been great.)

I pulled the data from my CPAP to take a look at the last year (as in, 365 days, give or take a few.) I tend to say “I only get about 4 hours of sleep” and I wanted to check on that. I was a bit off, but it’s good to remember that the number on the CPAP shows usage time, not sleep time. So if I lie away from 5:30am to 6:30am before turning off the machine, that hour still counts. Anyway, here are the numbers:

I slept for 8 hours just 4 nights. (Well, it’s actually 3, but one was 7 hours and 59 minutes, so I’m going to count it.)

Between 7 and 8 hours? 78 nights.

Between 6 and 7 hours? 131 nights.

Between 5 and 6 hours? 92 nights.

Between 4 and 5 hours? 32 nights.

Less than 4 hours? 23 nights.

And, supposedly… one night I slept 9 hours and 13 minutes. I don’t know how this is possible. (Wait, the night before I only slept 1 hour and 16 minutes!)

Looking at the numbers, I tend to get more than 5 hours most nights, and sometimes over 7 hours. Maybe it just feels like only four hours. (Again, some of these times may be slower due to being awake with the machine on.)

I do tend to fall asleep very quickly. But I often awake at 4am or 5am. I can’t really explore biphasic sleep because I have a job and a spouse who is a very light sleeper. I once used the toaster oven at 5am and she asked me about it at 8am. I basically just leave the bed and go to another bed and rest for a few hours in the morning if I wake up before 7am.

The thing about insomnia, for me anyway, is that you’re just exhausted. Tired, worn out, run down. Low energy. And it sucks, and it’s hard. On the days I can get 7 hours, it’s pretty good! I can’t imagine what it’s like to regularly get at least 8 hours of good sleep every night.

Oh, I used OSCAR to get the CPAP data from an SD card. A friend of mine has a WiFi enabled CPAP that sends data to the cloud and his doctor. I do not have that.