DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I work the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. night shift and when I go to sleep I am usually awakened by a noise or the need to use the bathroom. I find it more difficult to fall asleep again in the daytime than at night. I just lie there. Is resting just as good as sleeping? - C.H.
ANSWER: Rest is not the same as sleep. In sleep, you go through many stages, none of which occurs when you are awake, resting or not. You need those cycles to have refreshing restorative sleep. Without them, you feel groggy the next day.I don't know what to tell you, except the obvious: darken your bedroom and soundproof it to the max. Keep the room well ventilated and at a comfortably cool temperature.
Have some boring literature on hand to read. If wakefulness persists longer than 20 minutes, get up and walk around.
Eventually, sleep demands catch up with restlessness and most of us adjust to upside-down schedules.
Recent studies have found that some people who work in a bright environment at night can trick their bodies into thinking night is day and day night. For other aspects of sleep-related problems, see the sleep report. Write to Dr. Donohue/No.30, Box 19660, Irvine, CA 92713-0660, enclosing a long, stamped, self-addressed envelope and $2.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Two years ago my husband had a sperm test and the results were zero. We were told there was an absence of sperm-producing cells and that we should give up. Aren't there drugs or surgery to correct a sperm count? - D.J.W.
ANSWER: If all sperm-producing cells are truly gone, then conception is out of the question. No drug or surgery can restore sperm cells. You should look into other options. But read on.
There are drugs that restore the sperm-producing potential of any remaining cells. The difficulty lies in determining whether all sperm cells are, indeed, gone. Sometimes a testicle biopsy can tell that. You will want to find this out for certain before proceeding. Also, hormonal derangement can cause a failure of sperm-producing cells, and sometimes such conditions can be helped.
I think a second opinion is worthwhile. If you don't know where to turn, contact Resolve, a national organization with local chapters dispensing information and other assistance. The address is 5 Water St., Arlington, Mass. 02174 (or call 617-643-2424). The American Fertility Society, Suite 200, 2140 11th Ave. South, Birmingham, AL 35205, also can help.