Monday, September 22, 2014


HAPPY FIRST DAY OF AUTUMN.  Fall gave us a 50 degree welcome this morning. Ahhhh.

This is an FYI (for your information) post

I have periodically mentioned in my posts that sleeping is not one of my talents. I have two nighttime woes though was only aware of one.

 One: A good portion my life I have scooted by more or less successfully on 4 hours sleep a night. I go to sleep quite easily, I just don't stay asleep. You could almost set the clock by my middle of the  night wake up time. Almost exactly 4 hours later.

Two: I've had this weak, raspy voice for about a year but figured it was just age.  I also have dealt with a disgusting case of the "morning throat" clearing attempts during this time. Those attempts would shock even Felix Unger famous for his morning "honks." I had no idea these two were connected.

When I was younger, the short hours of asleep were not missed. It has only been since  I retired when I lost my "bounce back" and with the discovery of  the "nap", I have learned my body wanted more.

So I got serious trying to solve the long time problem but had little success. Warm baths, hot baths, exercise, no exercise, stay up late, go to bed early, dark room, cool room, no food before, warm milk before, softer bed, harder bed, restricting water before bed time, even trying  "Ommmmm" when waking up. Nothing worked, I was just alert and  ready to go, but with nowhere to go, in those wee hours.

Sometimes when I had an occasion scheduled for the next day, I would take a sleep aid to insure a full night and yes, they do work but I hated putting those chemicals in my body plus there was always a bit of a groggy hangover.  I tried herbals but nothing was a solution, only a band aid.

The raging case of disgusting morning throat clearing with a perpetually weak, raspy voice  was making it harder to be heard and understood. Talking was an effort. Here I was simply thinking "age"  which isn't curable. One thing it did do was make me a better listener.

I tried to console myself on the sleep issue with Thomas Edison's statement that he only slept 4 hours a night.  The difference is that he accomplished a bunch during the remaining 20  awake hours. I was pretty much hanging out, reading a lot and not getting a bunch done with my 4 hour gift. In addition the nap was no longer optional but necessary. I hated burning daylight.

Exactly how I came across this discovery I am not sure.  I'm thinking it was Joan River's procedure for her raspy voice that went horribly wrong.

After Joan's tragedy, I went Google surfing for information which I often do since we a had similar problem. Some of the choices  for raspy voice were :

Benign vocal cord nodules--not a fun choice

Non benign nodules---a worse choice.

Gastroesophageal GERD--I have no classic symptoms

Or Allergies--this one made the most sense but proved fruitless

Since I had tried allergy remedies at night time with little success, I thought perhaps there a faint chance it is GERD or the silent version, LPRD.

I had no other symptoms of this condition but one solution was so  simple I tried it knowing I had nothing to lose.  I raised my head and chest level for sleeping by using two pillows.

Good grief, I slept a full 7 hours and awoke without massive throat clearing and a super raspy voice. Could it be this simple??  Both conditions cured so easily?? It has been over two weeks now and I am amazed each morning when I awake after a solid 7 hours.  Even if I awake for a late night bathroom run, I go right back to sleep. Ahhhh.

Was it LPRD, sleep apnea, allergies or maybe something all together different ? I have no real idea nor do I care. It is vastly improved and that is the important part. What I do know is that an elevated head has me sleeping marvelously these days.

 My voice is almost returning to normal.  While my voice is not perfect yet, it is much better and I am actually considering singing again. That alone is scary. I was a pretty awful singer non-raspy and raspy was just plain comical. I cracked myself up.

If this continues it confirms my long held belief that most problems have simple solutions. What did we do before Google?? Oh yeah, we paid doctors.  Right now I am waiting for a sleeping wedge to arrive as the two pillows are functional but not quite optimal. They sometimes slide apart or I naturally seek the lower lever.  If the wedge doesn't work like I want, I'll just raise the head of the bed and hope I don't slide off.

Hopefully this post helps you or someone you know who has a similar nagging problem. If it works, marvelous,but if not, then possibly a  Joan River's procedure would be called for to eliminate a more serious condition. I say, try the simple first.


  1. That's weird because I've just started sleeping with 2 pillows too, for various reasons, more to do with sinus headaches etc. and I'm now feeling better in the morning and sleeping well. I often only sleep 4 hours a night too, but I'm now getting 6 which is wonderful. Glad it's working for you too!

  2. This is amazing! Such an easy fix for a problem you've had for so long. I've seen those sleeping wedges at Bed Bath & Beyond and wondered who uses them. Now I know. This is great news, Patti. I never have any problem sleeping but if I do, I'll try your trick. :-)

  3. After my last bout of pneumonia and having to sleep sitting up, I too have elevated my head and chest......must be trending for us smart well aged woman to sleep longer and more comfortably. Aren't we the smartees???? Congrats on the common sense solution and may I add, happy dreams. Oma Linda

  4. I have tried that, but it doesn't make any difference for me. I know that my cardiologist suspected I had GERD or the silent one, because he asked me if sleeping on 2 pillows made any difference in my symptoms.

    My older daughter has GERD, and her doc recommended raising the head of her bed up on cinderblocks. That might help too, if the wedge is not the ticket. Good for you for finding an easy solution to a problem!!

  5. Who would have thought!? If you had gone to a doctor you would have had endless tests and no simple solution. Sometimes life is definitely too complicated!

  6. Excellent sleuthing! I hope that the two-pillow and raised bed keeps working. My twin brother has very similar issues, so I'm going to have him try this.

  7. We use the raised head system in our home. Post nasal drip was the reason. Since we now all take MSM supplements we are all more comfortable and even snore more gently. Our cat is the loudest one.
    So happy for you because a good sleep is so refreshing.

  8. Good for you! And this is good information to share. It might help many more.

  9. My husband had morning raspy voice and had surgery twice to remove benign vocal cord polyps. Then the information about reflux was published. He started on Prevacid and hasn't had a problem since.

  10. I have a sleep pattern that is unusual. I don't call it a problem because it doesn't feel like 'a problem'. And some time ago---maybe 6 years---I began using more than one pillow....Thus, elevating my upper body---which I find very comfortable. It hasn't help this sleep pattern but it has helped with my illness---Lung Disease....Needing to cough up crap does not happen to me so I wake up.....THAT has been a good improvement!
    I think it is fabulous that you found this solution to both of these problems without having to go through a battery of tests that would have probably not given you this wonderful simple answer! BRAVA, my dear!

  11. It's a shame it took so long to find a solution, but better late than never.

    Great that you solved it with Dr. GOogle.

  12. I am so happy you found a simple solution to your "Sleepless in Arkansas" syndrome. Bet you feel like a new woman!!!

  13. Wow! What an interesting solution. I would never have guessed that one.

  14. Sometimes solutions to problems just land in our lap. Penicillin was discovered from moldy bread. I'm so glad you're finally getting the sleep you need. Take care.

  15. Who knew? I certainly would not have thought to add a pillow, though I'll tuck this away if I ever need it.

    I tend to get less sleep during the week and try to catch up on the weekend. Not a good pattern and one I hope to break.

  16. My similar symptoms were diagnosed as sleep apnea and I have a bi-pap machine (type of cpap). Since I wear the mask I call the machine Tonto, my faithful companion. I don't even take a nap without Tonto. Could I have cured it all with pillows??? Don't tell Tonto.

  17. Joey,
    Isn't it great when we try to fix one thing and find out we have fixed two?

    Hope you never need it but glad you are filing it away. You never know when some one you know may need it.

    Linda W.
    Looks like we both stumbled on a good thing. Thanks, dreams always were good, now there is just more of them.

    You are so right. All those tests would probably have landed me on a lifetime of medication. Feeling quite fortunate.

    I did try the raising of the bed on blocks last night and it worked even better. Thanks.

    Oh, I do hope it gives your brother some relief. It certainly can't hurt.

    Oh is it going to help with PND too? Wonderful. Glad you have all ready found this solution. And yes, restful sleep is a wonderful pastime.

    Linda R.
    Thanks,I hope someone will be able to use it and not have to wait as long as I did to find it.

    Such a shame he had to have the surgery but we do have to wait for medicine to catch up don't we? Glad he now has it under control now.

    I am so glad you also found a simple solution to a debilitating problem. I am sure had I gone through the battery of tests, I'd have ended up on lifetime medication. This is so much better. May it continue to work for the both of us.

    Dr. Google has been pretty spot on for me a lot. I also love his price. Just wish he had been around years ago.

    Love the "Sleepless in Arkansas" title and yes I am feeling sooo much better in every aspect.

    I know I would never have stumbled on this with out Google. Seems too simple to be effective but it does work.

    It is with such gratitude when these things happen out of left field. Thanks.

    You are too young yet but it wouldn't hurt to file this away. Maybe for someone you know who develops a similar problem down the line.

  18. So glad you found a way to help you sleep better sweet Patti. I have slept with two pillows for years because of allergies and sinus drainage. Enjoy those nice hours of sleep and I hope the wedge works, if not I know you will figure out another solution, you are good at that. Hugs!!!

  19. As a life-long insomnia sufferer, I must try to elevate my head like this! Thank you for this post Patti :)

  20. That's a neat solution to a problem a lot of us have. I've tried the two pillow deal, but I always seek the lower level, even completely sliding off the pillows.

  21. My husband can't sleep either, particularly since he first retired, then became ill. And his voice is very raspy too. I sleep with three pillows, not soft and fluffy ones, but three. And I don't have any problems.

    Thank you so much for this. I will see if I can get hubby to add a pillow. It would be wonderful if it were to help. Poor Joan Rivers, what if this could have helped her as well.

  22. Wonderful that you have found such a simple solution to a problem that has been with you so long. Long term sleep deprivation is a real curse... and is something I also struggle with. I wonder if the two pillow thing would work for people in the southern hemisphere, or if we will need to lower our heads and raise our feet to compensate for being "down under" and upside down in the first place.... I will have to try...!

  23. Oh my gosh! You have my husband's problem! I even wrote a post about it:
    He sleeps with a wedge to elevate his head too along with the pillow I made him. He's always trying to find the best combination. The nurse suggested he put a pillow under his legs to help prevent him from sliding off the pillow at his head. He also takes his naps on the Stressless reclining chair so his head again is elevated. Good for you! So glad you found the cure!

  24. Grannie Annie,
    I'd hang on to Tonto but maybe if you have a long power outage like you talked about, this might be a temporary procedure.

    Ah, another member of the two pillow club. Glad you all ready found out the benefits, I was late to the table.

    I do hope it helps you. If it does, consider a wedge or raising the head of your bed. That works better.

    Linda M.
    Thank you. It has made my day.

    Me too so I raised the head of my bed. Now I only have to worry about sliding off the bed:))

    I think since they did a biopsy that she had other issues. Hope you can get him to try. Maybe raise the head of the bed on blocks? The would help you both.

    Now that is just too funny. Seriously though, give it a try, is sure can't hurt.

    Thanks for the link. At the time you posted that I didn't realize I had a similar problem. Maybe you ought to produce that pillow.

  25. Hurray for you for finding your own simple solution. And now you can sing in the choir again and you'll be well rested to participate. Ha.
    I guess you know I never do drugs but if you really can't sleep, try white willow bark. It comes in caps or the bulk and you make your own tea. It also works well for pain.... better than the pharmacy stuff.

  26. Hi There, We are home from Texas --and I'm trying to catch up a bit. That is amazing --what you wrote. As many little nagging problems as I have and had, I don't have a sleeping problem nor a vocal problem. BUT--I am thrilled that something as simple as adding a pillow can help so much. Thank Goodness for the internet. I have gotten so much help from the internet when searching for problems I have had (like my gallbladder problem)... SO glad you are sleeping better and that your throat is better. AWESOME.. Thanks for sharing.


  27. Good luck. Anything is better than the chemical-in-the-body stuff. FYI I tried the raised mattress, and yep...I slid off. Well, not off. Just down.

  28. Yes I too. Well not exactly but putting a two by four under the head of our bed helped a lot with some Gerd problems and waking up a 3 a.m.

  29. Dear Arkansas Patti, I'm so happy for you. This is wonderful news and I bet you are feeling so much better. More rested. More ready not just for singing but for doing a few things you've let go because the spirit was willing but the body just couldn't respond. This is truly good news!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing it. Peace.

  30. Manzi,
    Thanks, sometimes I just get lucky.
    However I am hugely allergic to aspirin so I have to stay away from willow bark which is where aspirin comes from.

    Know you had a fabulous trip and will look forward to hearing about it.
    I love the Internet.

    I am so glad you too have discovered the easy solution and that it is working. Four inch blocks so far are working for me.

    Thank you and it is amazing how much better a rested body reacts to everyday stresses.

    Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. Had to laugh and could relate to the sliding off part. I am dealing with that now but the 4 inches I have raised the head seems to be working OK and I have yet to hit the floor:))

  31. I always go for the simple, too. A DR would no doubt prescribe a bunch of pharmaceuticals which would have their own side effects. I'm just the opposite with pillows - I usually don't use one. They make me too hot!