This last month I’ve been on a mission to improve my sleep. I recently had a bad phase of insomnia that led me to thinking more about what I can do to ensure a good night’s sleeep. I haven’t been sleeping properly for years mostly because of the pain and other symptoms that wake me up in the night. I’m at a point where I’m willing to do just about anything to sleep better.
The adverse effects of sleep deprivation on our ability to manage emotions and our general health are pretty serious.
For someone with complex chronic disease, it’s even more important to get adequate sleep yet it’s even harder to achieve at times due the nature of the symptoms associated with many chronic illnesses.
But since I’ve implemented some simple changes and made one big sacrifice- I gave up caffeine- my sleep has improved and I’m hopeful that it will continue to improve.
The changes I’ve made so far (some exceptions are made on weekends when I can sleep in)
1) Eliminated screen time about an hour before bed.
I may check a text and respond, and set my alarm but that’s the extent of my screen time before bed.
2) Do a quick yoga/stretch session before bed.
Even if it’s only for 5 minutes, I do nightly, relaxing yoga postures/stretching and deep breathing.
3) I gave up caffeine
This was so difficult but worth it on so many levels. Although I’m not a doctor, it makes sense to me to give up caffeine due to its effects on the nervous system and the fact that it’s stimulant.
4) I got blackout blinds
I’ve only had them for one night but I’m pretty sure I can attribute my ability to fall asleep as fast as I have been this week because of those blinds.
5) I put on guided meditations when I’m struggling to sleep
Instead of getting out of bed when I can’t sleep, I’ll try a guided meditation for sleep first. 9 times out of 10 they put me to sleep.
Here are a few interesting links about the science of sleep and the effects of sleep deprivation:
Consequences of insufficient sleep
Sleep and Mental Health
The Secrets of sleep
More about the effects of caffeine (both negative and postive)
Caffeine: how does it affect your health ?