Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Using The Scientific Method
In Daily Life

Once upon a time, I slept like a baby. Would wake up to go to the bathroom, and fall back asleep so fast that I never remembered my head hitting the pillow. And then, well then -- I didn't. One thing and another: apnea, stuffed sinuses that made it impossible to sleep and wear my CPAP machine, restless legs, the odd cramp or two or seventy, and insomnia. One by one, I dealt with each of these things. Sinus surgery, using sleeping pills for a short time to train myself to sleep again, taking the medicine they give to children who wet the bed so I don't have to get up as often, taking coral calcium and 1/4 of a percocet at bedtime for my legs, -- one by one, I picked these problems off. (Even tried doing either coral calcium or percocet and discovered the calcium wasn't what was doing it.) And yet, and yet.

Every week there would be nights when I had trouble getting to sleep. Not insomnia. Eventually I would sleep, and soundly, but just not early enough and therefore not long enough. So, having been raised on the idea that experiment and observation were the solutions to everything, and since I couldn't figure out what to experiment with now, I started keeping a new chart. (The first had followed my various attempts at symptom control.) Discovered I had trouble getting to sleep on time on Saturday, Sunday, and some Tuesday nights.

What could cause that pattern? At first I thought it might be because I have half a 20 ounce Pepsi on Saturday and half on Sunday, in the afternoon, but that didn't explain it because I don't on Tuesday. So, puzzled, I continued with my little chart, figuring eventually I'd see the pattern. And then, last week, on Tuesday it happened again and the light went on. I checked my calendar, and what do you know. On some Tuesdays (supposedly alternating, but sometimes they get canceled) we have a staff meeting at 10:30. Every other work day, I have a large mug of coffee first thing in the morning and drink ice water the rest of the day. On staff-meeting Tuesday, I have a mug when I get in, and another at the meeting. Just enough to wire me.

So, this weekend I drank 7-Up instead of Pepsi, and what do you know. Problem solved. And for staff meetings, I can wait for my morning coffee or I can drink water at the staff meeting or I can have a small cup at 9 and another at 10:30. Maybe I'll be really scientific and try all three and compare the results.

This also allowed me to make an observation on another matter that had peeked my curiosity. If you notice the picture of the plastic bottle of Pepsi, you can see it has a blue cap. Pippin loves these. Almost as soon as I've got the bottle open, he steals the cap and chases it all over the house. The other night he dragged out about eight of them from where ever it is he stashes them. However, when I offer him the caps from V-8 Juice bottles, he ignores them. Is this a matter of color (one is blue, the other orange) or size (the V-8 cap is larger) or something to do with the bottles? Well, the 7-Up bottle didn't have a blue lid, and he snatched that as soon as he could. So, it isn't color. It could still be size or the size and shape of the bottle. I will have to figure out how to test that.

And people wonder when they are going to use the things they learn in school!

In A Nutshell follows.


Anvilcloud said...

I can seem to drink caffeine until mid-afternoon without it affecting my sleep too much. Cuppa sometimes drinks it in the evening to stay awake, and it never affects her sleep.

Maya's Granny said...

ac, I used to drink coffee at all hours -- at least a pot a day. If I couldn't sleep, I'd have a cup of coffee and drop right off. How things chnage.

kenju said...

Necessity is the mother of......
I am extremely sensitive to caffeine, so I drink decaf coffee and caffeine-free sodas. Remember that chocolate has caffeine in it too.

Bitty said...

About the lids: could texture be the difference? I'm trying to remember if a Pepsi cap has vertical grooves in it. Somebody's cap does.

If I gave up caffeine, life wouldn't be worth living.

Linda Atkins said...

Well, great! I'm glad you figured out what was delaying your sleep.