Posts tagged ‘sleep’

April 3, 2019

#568 – Live Better with RA – Tip #4


Image courtesy of  Gail  Rau.

Tip #4 – Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

Relentless flares, disease-related anxieties, family issues, bills, noise, frustrations — just a sampling of the things that can keep you up at night. A lack of sleep can create a snowball of increasing sleeplessness, wreaking havoc on your RA. With a few important but relatively small changes, you can learn to cultivate good sleep habits, which may lead to a better night’s sleep.

Yeah, but How Do You Do That, Exactly?

  1. Transform your stress on a regular basis.
  2. Experiment to discover the time by which you should stop eating and using your electronic devices. Too close to bedtime and you might be too wired to sleep.
  3. Limit alcohol.
  4. Make your bedroom an electronics nogozone.
  5. Find the right bedding. For example, I prefer feather pillows, a down duvet and definitely not a soft comfort (Yeah, right!) mattress.
  6. Your bedroom ambience. For me: a cool, dark room is a must.
  7. Don’t count sheep, but instead, list all the things for which you are grateful.
  8. Practice cognitive shuffling: Choose a 5/6 letter word, such as “dream.” Now list as many words that you can think of for d, then r, and so on.
  9. Do a room inventory, once you’ve turned off the light. Slowly list everything that is in your bedroom. You might find you’re asleep before you are half-way around the room.
  10. Perhaps you have sleep apnea? Get tested.
  11. Support your jaw.
  12. Do you have painsomnia? Onboard strategies to help you manage your pain. See #1.
  13. Reset your sleep clock. Sometimes you’re simply going to bed too early. Stay up later and find your ideal bedtime.
  14. Medication can interfere with sleep. Talk with your doctor and pharmacist to discover solutions and options.
  15. A hormone deficiency may impact your sleep. Talk to your doctor about getting tested.
  16. Melatonin, 5-HTP and other over-the-counter products may induce sleep. Check with your doctor to see if these products are a good option for you.
  17. Your sleep hygiene routine may include a nap on the couch.
  18. Exercise – but at the right time for you. For example, I know if I exercise in the evening, I’m too wired to sleep.
  19. Laugh. Several hours before bed, I watched several YouTube videos of one of my favourite comedians, Michael McIntyre. No, he didn’t put me to sleep with his routine; he is laugh-out-loud funny with his observational humour. All that laughter changes your chemistry – for the better.
  20. Your turn: Please share what helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Related Posts:

More in This Series:

March 31, 2019

#567 – Snoring and Jaw Support

AntiSnoreChinStrapI’ll let you in on a little secret. I snore, whenever I roll on my back to sleep. That’s when my mouth breathing bothers me. I end up with a very dry mouth.

I found a solution! The Anti-Snore Chin Strap. It’s not elegant, nor is it sexy, but it helps prevent my dry mouth. You’ll see a number of different variations on the same thing, here. My only complaint is that it does get hot; sometimes I end up taking it off in the early morning.

In addition to dry mouth, mouth breathing during sleep can lead to:

  • Dental problems.
  • Halitosis.
  • Sore throat.
  • Brain fog.
  • Irritability.
  • Insomnia.

How It Works

The chin strap helps to keep your mouth closed during sleep, which causes you to breathe through your nose. Air is prevented from travelling to and from your throat and over the soft palate, which reduces the flapping/snoring sound.

If your snoring is caused by sleep apnea, or nasal congestion, a chin strap will not help. If you suspect you have either condition, consult your doctor.

More Information

January 17, 2019

#562 – An Exercise Tip for Lazy Bones


sept2018 220

I make sure I get some form of exercise on a daily basis. I sleep better, but the big pay-off is that I feel better.

Having Holly helps, as dogs need to be walked in rain, hail, sleet or sun. However, there are days when I feel like a lazy bones. Marianna’s Law as Applied to Exercise usually gets me to the pool. As incentive, I agree to do half my swim. Invariably, I end up doing the full workout, since I’m already in the water.

If I’m feeling lazy I recall all the times in the past when everything hurt to move. When I was in excruciating pain before my hip replacements. How my feet felt before forefoot reconstructive surgery (Warning! Graphic image on that page!) When I even needed help pulling the blankets up at night. Yes, I think about that. Then, I reflect upon how grateful I am that I can go for a Holly dog walk, or enjoy a refreshing swim.

Listening to my body means that unless I am in agony or are in dire need of rest, I give my lazy bones a wake-up shake and make sure I do something physical, even if it’s only to get up and dance around the living room. Dancing just isn’t Holly’s thing.  Her predecessor, Murphy, would often join me whenever I said, “Murphy, dance!”

Mobility – please don’t take it for granted! The best way I know to honour my mobility, is to move. Plus, it’s a great way to build in the practice of gratitude, which has enormous health benefits.

This also goes for all you able-bodied people who prefer the couch. If you can move easily, do so! Do it for those who cannot.

Move it, don’t lose it! If you’ve got it back, be grateful and move it again!

November 5, 2013

#489 – Sleep Secrets from a High Maintenance Sleeper

My sleep quality has improved, thanks to the consistent practise of the stress techniques and tools I use, both in my work with clients and in my own daily habits.

Stress is a sleep thief. When you consider that you may have forgotten about the stressful event that occurred earlier in the day, your body has not. It takes time to process those chemicals. Cortisol, which has been known to interrupt sleep, can stay in the body for up to thirteen hours, if you don’t know how to neutralize its effects. That’s assuming you don’t continue to stress. Remember that when you are soaking in negative thoughts and emotions, you are potentially adding to that stock-pile of cortisol. Something those of us with chronic conditions do not need. (Ask your doctor if stress exacerbates your condition. It did mine – that’s why I became Auntie Stress.)

Chronic pain can set up a keep-you-awake cycle that lasts long after the pain has gone.

Developing a sleep hygiene regimen is as important as flossing and brushing your teeth before bedtime. The guidelines I use include having a cool, quiet and dark room. No television or electronics allowed, apart from a regular phone and my alarm clock, which only sheds light when I depress a button.

By my admission, I am a high maintenance sleeper; I like to set up my sleep conditions in my favour. To help me achieve that, here is a simple, effective trick I use:

wrapping paper roll

Can you tell what it is? It’s a tube from wrapping paper. It rolls away whenever the door is opened from either side.

A better option would be to use some of that plumber’s pipe insulation foam. I’m planning on getting a longer piece of this:

plumber's pipe insulation foam

Finally, Have You Considered a ‘Sleep Divorce’?

What are your sleep secrets?

%d bloggers like this: