I’ve been having trouble sleeping these past few months, mostly as a side effect to a hormone blocker I have to take as a part of my ongoing cancer treatment. Trust me, I’m not complaining — it’s much better to be alive and have to fight with nature a little bit than to die of cancer.
But it has been quite a feat. It’s actually harder than chemotherapy was. Chemo is a physical thing happening in your body, but this hormone blocker affects my sleep and my mood. Emotional stuff. That’s extremely hard to manage. Even practicing good sleep hygiene isn’t really cutting it.
It’s been hard mostly because what is physically happening and what is happening in my mind are so opposite. When it’s time for bed, my mind is done. I’ve meditated, I’ve refrained from any caffeine, food, TV, and phone or laptop use, and even taken my sleepy-time tea. Plus, I keep a journal by my bed, and each night, I write down everything that I can think of that I am grateful for that day. There is basically nothing left for my mind to do but shut down.
But then I toss and turn until it’s time to get ready for work. My Sleep Cycle app, which tracks sleep patterns throughout the night, often looks like a heart attack EKG.
Of course, my doctors are happy to prescribe me actual medicine to help me sleep, but I really don’t want to take too many pharmaceuticals unless absolutely necessary. The few sleep aids I’ve tried made me groggy and cranky in the morning. When you’re already dealing with mood swings from blocking your hormones, that’s the last thing you want. Luckily, there are apps to help facilitate what nature intended. This past week, I’ve started using an app recommended by one of my doctors: White Noise.
It’s available for free for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac, with certain in-app purchases. It’s been among the top-rated health and wellness apps since launching in 2008 and for good reason: It has close to 40 relaxing sounds playable for free. While some people may find the sound of a vacuum cleaner (?!?) does the trick, there are even more that appeal to a wide variety of insomniacs, including multiple styles of rain falling, a dryer, a jungle, a campfire or a stream running. If you’re trying to soothe unruly pets or children, they even have cat purring, a train ride and the sound of a heartbeat.
With White Noise, the multiple frequencies of the repetitive sounds are able to block out most other noise. I’ve found that it allows me to not think about anything as I’m drifting off. It’s basically a lullaby.
It’s been three nights since I’ve downloaded the app, and both my new cat and I are managing to sleep through most of the night. If it’s true that these hormone meds I’m on are creating all these biochemical side effects, then you can imagine how happy I am to know there is an app for that!
CHRISTA WITTMIER IS “SUPERCW” ON ALL SOCIAL MEDIA. FIND HER ON SNAPCHAT, SOUNDCLOUD, TWITTER, VINE AND INSTAGRAM. BY NIGHT, SHE IS KNOWN AS DJ SUPERCW. BY DAY, SHE IS KNOWN AS SENIOR MARKETING DIRECTOR FOR YOUNG’S MARKET COMPANY OF HAWAII. HER NIGHTLIFE BLOG SUPERCITY RUNS EVERY WEDNESDAY ON HONOLULUPULSE.COM