sleep_300px-Little_Nemo_1906-02-11_last_panelI have been sleeping up on two pillows for the better part of a year and half. Every time I tried to go down to one, my vertigo got worse, so I’ve stayed up–but my goal has been to get back down to one. I decided I would make my move after the Splash and Dash I participated in this summer. (I didn’t want to screw things up right before I was to swim in the ocean!)

I had hints that it might work out. First, last January I had an MRI and had absolutely no vertigo even though I was lying flat on the table. I was so surprised! And second, the vertigo and nystagmus that I have experienced nearly every night for the past 500 nights when I lie back in bed has gradually diminished. It was a curious process, as the nystagmus got very disorganized and weaker, symptoms came and went, very inconsistent. But lately I can lie back and feel nothing. Nothing at all. Novel!

I’ve been getting acupuncture to help manage my stress levels and occasionally to help with the nausea of vertigo. My acupuncturist has been very willing to work with me, for example, when I suggested doing habituation exercises (which are nausea-inducing) immediately before treatment. Likewise, she was game for me to experiment with one pillow during treatment. I lay on a table with only one…and it was fine. That night I went down to one pillow in bed. That was…weird. It felt very unfamiliar and as if my head was at a negative tilt, even though it was level. I was unsteady for a few days, but now I am sleeping on one pillow with no ill effects. It’s been such an easy transition that I am wondering if staying up for as long as I did was a mistake! Then again, the nightly vertigo was so nauseating and strong that I think I can forgive myself. Even my vestibular physical therapist thought I might never sleep on one pillow again. So we’ll see how it goes. Maybe I can put my extra pillow back in storage!

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