December 27, 2010
My Parkinson's Week -- Meditation mediates 4 a.m. battle between 5-HTP-generated ideas and need for more sleep
This week pulled together several of the topics mentioned in prior posts. (See baseline posting on December 12 and Week 1 postings on December 19.)
4 a.m. Meditation
Thanks to the incontinence training program, I got up only once during the night every day last week contrasted with the 3 or 4 times each night previously.experienced. Last week's break always came sometime between 4 and 5 a.m. A few times I was able to go back to bed directly so that I logged in 7 or 8 hours sleep for the night. Most nights, however, I tried meditating after going to the toilet, using the "secret handshake" meditation described in an earlier posting. I've found that I enjoy this early morning meditation and I've kept it going longer that my usual meditaions without worrying about the loss of sleep time since I figure the meditation is doing me as much good as sleep would.
The standard advice on dealing with middle-of-the-night awakenings when you can't get back to sleep is to get up and do something else for 15 minutes or more and then return to bed. Meditation strikes me as a particularly good choice for this.
Conflict with 5-HTP-generated ideas
But I've also noted before that 5-HTP often has a bizarre impact on me when I awake by flooding me with ideas for solving problems or for new undertakings. This conflicts with the meditation effort to clear my mind and concentrate on my breathing. The first two times I resorted to meditation last week I was able to gently push away the new idea intrusions and focus on the meditation. But this morning, the new idea flood was at high tide and made my meditation efforts more fragmented. But I kept at it, noting the ideas but then returning to observing my breathing. I was surprised when I stopped to find that I'd spent almost 90 minutes on this back and forth. I tried returning to the bed and to sleep, but gave up. I wasn't upset by this and instead found myself laughing at the battle midway through the process.
I was exceptionally mellow during this Christmas season. Some might say "why wouldn't you be mellow when your daughter takes care of all the cooking and you basically just open the door for the guests and take their coats." But inevitably things happen during the holiday or the build up to it that spark irritation if not anger, Not this year.
In this era of .peripatetic families, I am unusually blessed by having my son and daughter, my three grandchildren, and my great-granddaughter all living in the area. And, even better, we all like each other and get along without tensions. So it was a Merry Christmas
And it also was a good week.