Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How Dodie Got Her Groove Back

By: Kiki Lowenstein, "star" of Joanna Campbell Slan's Kiki Lowenstein Mysteries
Pub. Date: Make, Take, Murder - Midnight Ink - May 2011

"A sleep study? You are kidding me. Someone gets paid to watch people snore?"

I've been working on curbing my tongue, trying not to blurt out whatever wanders through my pea-sized brain, but Dodie's claim that she was going for a sleep study boggled my mind.

"Yes, Sunshine, I've been falling asleep at my desk. Every morning, I wake up more exhausted than when I went to bed. Horace says I'm too tired to be any fun. So my doctor wrote a prescription for me to go to a sleep clinic. The study starts at eight in the evening and I'm done at seven the next day."  She smiled at me, a tired and wobbly grin, that failed to crinkle her eyes.

Ever since her chemo and radiation treatments for lung cancer, she's been a shadow of her former self. Who could have guessed that she'd sail through the treatments so easily only to struggle after being pronounced "cured"? I knew that her husband Horace worried over her. We all did. She was dragging along, looking more and more wasted every day. Worst of all, she seemed to have lost all her mojo. The Dodie of Old was a fearsome, wild and woolly character, a woman of giant tastes, passions and energy.

"What exactly do they do in a sleep study?"

"Wire me with monitors. Watch me sleep. Record my brain waves. Then a specialist reads the measurements. They can tell when I fall asleep, when I go into REM--the really restful sleep--and what might be keeping me from getting a good night's rest."

"How on earth do they expect you to sleep when you're all wired up?"

"Beats me," said Dodie with a shrug. "Maybe that's the point."

Two days later, Dodie greeted me at the back door of the store. "Hey, there, Sunshine!"

"Boy, aren't we perky?" I am NOT a morning person. I struggle along, aided by copious cups of coffee, and raw willpower. If I had my druthers, the day wouldn't begin until noon. Seeing my boss all yippy-skippy cheery should have made me happy. Instead it simply tired me out.

"Got the best sleep of my life. Eight hours of uninterrupted bliss." Her eyes sparkled and I noted a decided skip in her step.

"But didn't they put wires on you? Weren't you being tested for sleep apnea?" I encouraged Gracie, my harlequin Great Dane rescue pup, to quit sniffing the trash and come get into her doggy play pen. When it came to snoring, Gracie was a champ. She sounded like a train chugging its way through the kitchen where I kept her doggy bed.

"Yes, indeed, they did. They also turned the temperature down low. See, Horace likes it hot in the bedroom. I wake up several times a night all sweaty. But when the temp is down around 69, I sleep like a baby. Even with monitors all over my body!"

Here's what Dodie learned about good sleep hygiene:

1. Temperature in the bedroom should be around 69 degrees Farenheit.
2. The room should be as dark as possible. You should cover up the lit dial of a digital clock and anything else that glows. If at all possible, do not use a nightlight. Keep a flashlight by the bed instead. 
3. Turn off the television. The volume jumps with commercials, and that change is enough to wake people up. If you must have a TV on, tune it to the weather channel.
4. If there's outside noise, such as traffic or others in the house, consider using ear plugs. If silicone ear plugs irritate your ears, try wax plugs.
5. Avoid using the computer right before bed. The light from the screen activates your wakefulness.
6. Wear loose fitting clothes and a pair of socks.
7. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night. Establish a habit.
8. Don't sleep with pets in the bed. They rustle around too much. Instead, get them a pet bed for your bedroom.
9. Take a hot bath or shower before bed. The drop in your body temperature will help you go to sleep.

Horace stepped out from Dodie's office. It was a bit unusual for him to accompany her to work. But today he watched her bustle around in the backroom with an eager puppy expression on his face. He, too, had a bounce in his gait. "I was happy to bundle up and let her dial down the thermostat. Anything for my darling wife. When she is happy, I am happy, too."

"I feel great!" said Dodie. "Funny. You don't realize the way a lack of sleep saps all your energy. I woke up raring to go this morning. Best mood I've been in for months! I think I can finally tackle all that paperwork on my desk."

Horace patted her fondly on the backside as she moved past him through the doorway and toward her big office chair. She paused mid-route, and they exchanged a look of affection, a quiet moment of tenderness and connection. As she took her seat, I noticed a crimson glow stain her cheeks.

Hmmm. What was it that Shakespeare called sleep? The chief nourisher in life's feast.

Yeah. I think he got that right.

**

For more information on getting a great night's sleep go to Sleep Compass.

**

To read more about Kiki and her friends, order your copy of Make, Take, Murder.

**

BREAKING NEWS--
Today marks the release of the second Kiki Lowenstein Short Story for Kindle--"Kiki Lowenstein and the White Elephant." It's only 99 cents! That's less than a bottle of Diet Dr Pepper!

7 comments:

  1. So, Kiki, when are you going for a sleep study?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sixty-nine degrees? It's usually at 62 at my house in the winter and I still wake up hot. But kudos to Dodie for doing the study. I doubt I could sleep with all those gadgets attached to me, plus knowing I was being watched.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hate when I can't sleep. Ugh. But I'm with Barb. I can't imagine doing an actual sleep study with strange beds and machines and people, oh my! Good luck :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. If someone was watching me sleep I'd never sleep. Good luck to Dodie.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Glad to hear Dodie got through chemo/rad well and now has conquered sleep problems.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Actually, I've had a sleep study done. You THINK you won't be able to sleep with all the wires, but you do. Sixty-nine is considered the "optimal" temp for sleeping.

    If you can't get a good night's sleep, a sleep study is very worthwhile. We learned that I am extremely sensitive to sound! Extremely! And up until that time my husband just thought I was kind of being silly. So, a test can affirm a simple environmental problem that, once addressed, can make a huge difference in your sleep.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Almost forgot! Today's the release of the second Kiki Lowenstein Short Story--"Kiki Lowenstein and the White Elephant."
    http://www.amazon.com/Kiki-Lowenstein-Elephant-Mystery-ebook/dp/B006Z0HSHW/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326932519&sr=8-1-fkmr0

    ReplyDelete