Sleep

7 weeks post now.....

Curious when most of you starting sleeping through the night again. Haven't gotten the hang of the bed again yet, so on the couch and on my back. (Don't have a recliner, may have to break down though....) I don't know what it is about the bed.... perhaps not such a flat surface on the couch, the closeness of the back of the couch... something. I still wake up about every 2 hours and due to being on my back, not so easy to fall back to sleep.

I have always been pretty much a stomach (somewhat on side) sleeper with an arm under the pillow, one leg hiked - any thoughts on when those wonderful days may return? Sort of a double whammy as stomach (chest) is uncomfortable and arm up, over my head basically, not good for sternum healing. [oh, in case of nausea, try to picture a young(er) Hollywood starlet or star in this sleep pose, not some post opcab old guy.....]

When did any of you bypassers get back to 'normal' sleep?

(edited by adding 7 weeks post)

Thanks much.

Edited February 1, 2011 at 5:40 am

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15 replies. Join the discussion

I sleep exactly the same way. It took me about 4 months to get back to my usual position but I also started taking a small Xanax before bed every night and that helped a lot.

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I think that there are other causes of initial sleep problems in addition to chest discomfort. Firstly there is the medication that your body is getting used to and also I think that the process of the body healing itself overnight produces strange side effects.
For the first month my sleep pattern included 3 distinct phases:
1) Firstly, 2 or 3 hours of 'normal' sleep
2) Then, 2 or 3 hours of weird, fitful sleep with strange nightmares - I think this was when the body was getting rid of some toxins from the healing process
3) Finally a couple of hours staring at the ceiling, wide awake before I got bored and got up.
All of this was in a half-seated position, propped up by pillows.
I have a note that at 4 weeks I slept in one block of 6 hours, the longest up until that time. It gradually got better after that and by two months my sleeping was OK.
For the first month or so I took a mild painkiller (paracetamol) before going to bed just to take the edge off the pain.
I'm now at three months. I still sleep with two pillows, slightly propped up. While I often fall asleep on my back, I move around pretty freely during the night, spending most of the time on my side. When I wake up in the morning my sternum hurts, presumably from lying on my side and the general movement of my rib cage during the night - but it's not a big deal in the overall scheme of things and the other challenges we have to face in the interesting little adventure of bypass surgery.
I'm sure you'll get back to something like normal soon.

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I have rested fairly well through the whole thing with only a few exceptions. I take one tylenol pm about 45 minutes to an hour before going to bed, and it gets me relaxed enough to drift off.

I am not sleeping like I was though. I sleep propped up on several pillows in bed. I can't do laying down flat yet, it's hard to get up from that position and a little hard to breathe. Plus, I know I'd be tempted to roll over on my side which is how I like to sleep, and that would play havoc with my sternum.

I, too, wake every 2 or 3 hours, sit up and
shift in the bed. I was doing it naturally,
but I find it's good to change my position so I don't get a "crick" in my neck, arm or
shoulder from leaning on them. I usually
drift right back off to sleep though.

Wondering how long I'll have to wait to
sleep on my side again though, and fully
down in the bed. I can't wait for that!

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I was a stomach sleeper, as well. 18 months ago I had surgery that prevented me from sleeping on my stomach. That time I took a half an ambien to sleep.

Since the bypass, I was able to sleep in the bed after about a week, and was able to sleep on my back with no problem. Just last night I woke up laying on my side, the first time. I feel like it will be a while before I would contemplate rolling over on my stomach, but it's good to at least roll to one side.

Sounds like we all have a lot of variablity.

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It has been 5 weeks and last night I spent approx. 4 hours in bed, but after tossing and turning more I returned to my recliner, figuring sleep is more important than trying to be a hero. Certainly was nice being next to my wife again in bed. Will try again tonight and each night following until it finally happens. Good luck to you. Stay as positive as you can, as I have found this to be the best way that I was able to survive lung and prostate cancer and now trying to survive my second bypass. The first was nearly 20 years ago and seemed much easier. Of course, I was not an old relic at that time. Am so gratful to have the support of the best wife in the world, great chrildren and so many friends, along with this support group. Improve each day. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you.

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I feel so bad for everyone- I guess I went back to the bed at maybe two weeks sleeping on my back. I am eight weeks and I sleep however now. I do have a problem getting up from a flat position (on back - like a sit up) because of my sternum but I can sleep on either side and More on my stomach/side- with one arm over head. I don't ever have a problem sleeping- :) I will roll over and go back to sleep until I get a good 10 or 12 hours in then make myself get up. I take all my meds at bed time. But one of the first thing my nurse told me is change med schedule if I have trouble sleeping or not sleeping. I found that I have more day energy if they are all taken at night I hope everyone gets it figured out. I can tell you that when I sleep on my left side is when I become hyper aware of my heart beat feels like it is going crazy then I check and my pulse is normal.

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Tim,

It took me two months to get back into the groove of semi-comfy sleep.
At three months I was waking up on my chest. At four, no problems at all.

~Gear

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Nice to get the different input. 2 votes for 4 months, so perhaps almost half way there.

Max, what we do to be with the one we love..... You must be a real 'trooper' by the sounds of it. I try about every 3rd night to get back into bed.... You are blessed to have such a loving family and thank you for your kindness.

Lady, I would imagine your youth has played a big part in your recovery (lucky you....) - I am still 'wierded out' by the cracking open of the chest - seems like (I know not the case...) it will never grow together properly.....

I had some 'strange' dreams too early on.

Not complaining as feeling/getting better daily and sleeping in shifts is not so bad, just longing for those nights where 6 hours straight is the norm. I too, at times, took Tynenol PM but they don't sell the stuff over here.....

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I'm only a week out from the surgery. I finally have put about 2 hrs in back to back, and I seem to do that twice a night. My darling wife bought me a recliner before the surgery so we'd be ready. I always have slept so well, and so comfortably, I hope some day I can once again. I think Tyl 3 is probably part of the problem.

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Yes, Tylenol 3 has caffeine in it, I believe. Is that what they gave you for pain? Best of luck to you in
your recovery! Keep us posted!

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Thanks. I'm seeing my MD today, and I'm going to ask for something different, hopefully there is a good alternative.

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Jaydub, one week, whew!!.. it may take another week to feel like you are feeling better. I am sure you will find Inspire a wonderful place to come to - just to read, get involved or not, whatever..... I am sorry you had to go through what you have been through, but I am sure you will make friends here.Take care of yourself and read on........ lot's of 'good thoughts' here.

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UAE-
the active ingrediant in tylenol Pm that helps you sleep is diphenhydramine. This is also the main ingrediant in Benadryl. So if you can not by the pms see if you can find Benadryl or some other allergy med or over the counter sleep aid. An herbal remedy for sleep is Melatonin. You can find it in the vitamin section of your local store. I really hope this helps some people.

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I'm 4 months post op....sleeping on my stomach, leg cocked and arm under pillow now, however still wake up between 2:30 and 3:00 am each night.

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6 weeks post and still on a recliner, but I do try to get an hour or two in the bed. Miss my wife. It seems to get a little better each day. Good luck to you. This will all be a dream or perhaps a nightmare, but keep positive thoughts and it will get better.

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