I really do dread the night time. OK, I was never a good sleeper, every little noise would wake me, everything had to be just right, and I needed my routine. But now, I never know how bad my nights are going to be…I only know my sleep will be interrupted. It’s just a question of how long and how uncomfortable the interruptions will be.If I am sleeping, ad I stir, my intestines start getting active and go off on their own. Sometimes I can fall back to sleep, sometimes not for hours, if ever. Many times I am up the entire night with some form of discomfort and huge amounts of intestinal gas. I call these nights “having an attack”. Sometimes these “attacks nights” last for a week or more. During those weeks when I have little sleep, I stagger around during the day like a zombie, and my day time symptoms are usually worse also. Sleep should bring peace and escape, but the intestinal motility dysfunction that my IBS has evolved into over all these 25 years has developed it’s own peculiar rule over my body, waking or sleeping. My body rhythms are very off.
When my sleep isn’t too bad, I feel like I dodged a bullet. But I never know what the next night will bring, and I can’t seem to figure out what sets off these “attacks”. I went through a long period of time where I ate next to nothing, convinced that eating dinner set it off. But I still suffered. And no matter how early I eat dinner (and it’s getting earlier and earlier), I still suffer. I have virtually given up a social life because of the fear of cause and effect. If I do get to enjoy a lovely dinner of good food (and who knows about that ability to enjoy as I so often feel lousy and uncomfortable), I am sure to pay the piper with an “attack night”.
I have tried many sleep remedies (although there are not that many options for me out there). Ambien doesn’t work well because the discomfort in my stomach wakes me up even though I have taken the sleeping pill. Then, I am left with an Ambien hangover and still no sleep. Xanax works sometimes, but is powerless against an “attack”. Sometimes I use a combination of an over-the-counter sleep aid (which is an antihistamine) and a Xanax. Sometimes I combine a Xanax with Bentyl (an anti-spasmodic). Valium is supposed to relax muscles, but somehow the Xanax seems more effective for me. One time I was given a prescription to take two Librax before sleep. I thought this was the greatest, as I really did sleep. But it slowed my intestines down so much that I eventually became even more constipated. So, unfortunately, that didn’t work out. No rest for the wicked, I suppose.