Sleep, food, and water are not optional — they are all necessary for life. Skip a meal or feel thirsty, and you can easily remedy the situation. Yet for many of us living with chronic illness, getting restorative sleep can be quite challenging.
Never Underestimate the Power of Sleep
The simple act of sleeping is actually very powerful. Sleep affects virtually all aspects of our body. Sleep is not only necessary for the health of our organs, bones, and muscles, but for the proper functioning of our brain.
Our brains are like computers; they process vast quantities of information during the day, and then organise, maintain, and delete unnecessary data at night.
Sleep Hygiene – Or How to Get Some Shut Eye
Researchers often discuss sleep hygiene - A fancy term for the techniques that help you get restorative sleep. Now my sleep is crazy, I could easily sleep for 13 hours and maybe even longer. But I know many who's sleep just doesn't exist. Despite many having restrictions on being more disciplined with their sleep over time these practices - along with medications - have proven to help dramatically.
Go to bed and wake up the same time each day - Although this can be frustrating, it is very important for regulating your internal clock.
Avoid large meals before bed - Gravity is working against our digestive system and greatly disrupts sleep, even if you don't consciously realise it.
Try to get some exercise - No one expects you to be an Olympic champion. Exercise in a way that feels comfortable to you. It reduces stress, and the motion can help loosen stiff and painful limbs. Now I should be the last person giving out this advise (Seriously ...!) but over the years many have said how exercise, even little bursts of it have helped them not only burn a few calories, but sleep better at night.
Limit bright lighting near bedtime - Electronic devices are notorious for producing lighting effects that tricks our brains into thinking it is still daylight. For many of us, this effect can impact the quality of sleep.
Time your fluid intake - Drinking plenty of water seems to be at the top of everyone’s list of healthy practices. Bladder challenges have taught me to drink less as it gets to bedtime - I am still working on it, as its the time of day when I feel the thirstiest. However, even drinking a small cup of water would get me up 7 times a night going to the loo.
Consider naps - Now don't get me wrong, naps are 50/50, you either wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go, or like you've just been hit like a plane. Many physicians have recommended taking shorter, but more frequent naps whenever practical as it helps to manage fatigue.
If these methods are not effective, there are several prescription medications to help people sleep. However, always check in with your Doctor to talk everything through.
Until next Monday,