Knowledge helps to improve our sleep patterns
If when we have a chronic condition such as pain and or insomnia we considered thinking of our bodies to be like a diamond, each facet needs to be polished to improve our symptoms.
Poor sleep is one of these facets.
Some of us have too much sleep, others not enough. Both these can be a cause of fatigue.
Some of the following suggestions may help you improve your quality of sleep. If you'd like more help improving your sleep please contact Linda.
What is a Circadian cycle? According to Paul Chek’s book ‘How to Eat, Move and be Healthy!’ he say this is a natural physiological cycle of about 24 hours.
following the natural rhymes should help improve your health. Going to bed when it’s dark and awake when it’s light. If you are not following the natural rhyme of light and dark you could be increasing your stress hormones?
If you feel your sleep pattern sleeping during the day and awake at night
it might be good to do an adrenal stress profile salvia 24 hour test to see whether your cortisol and DHEA are following the correct pattern? It could be that you need some supplements to help or perhaps move to a country that matches your pattern of sleep, a bit drastic!!
What is sleep?
When you are asleep there are different names for the stages of sleep. Starting with REM. This is the time you dream and then the stages of light sleep 1-2 and deep sleep.
The first natural cycle is usually about 90 minutes and these generally get less during the night.
Deep sleep, the pink area below the red line, is the time your body repairs. You’ll know if you’ve missed it if you don’t feel refreshed after you’ve slept. Those of us with fatigue are usually missing this deep sleep. This is because we are often disturbed when our brain try’s to move to deep sleep. This can be caused by pain or worries. This causes spiky alpha-waves in the brain to intrude on what should be the time of slow gentle delta waves.
An interesting point is those of us only having a few hours’ sleep may still be getting the deep sleep needed as this is usually at the start of sleep.
It may help to complete a sleep diary to see which aspect of sleep you are missing and possible reasons for your poor sleep.
This article only gives general information and to help give you the best advice and support that will work for you needs an individualised program. Contact Linda click here to get advice you how to do this.
What is sleeping too much? This can be sleeping for 12 hours or more and you still feel unrefreshed in the morning. Though do not worry, sometimes we can sleep longer to ‘Catching up’ e.g. after an infection.
The consequences of sleeping too much over a long period of time are: 1) It increases the need for more sleep. The body gets used to the habit of excessive sleep and late waking.
2) Inability to concentrate properly.
3) Loss of motivation and energy whilst awake.
4) Reduced enjoyment and satisfaction with life.
What do you do if you are sleeping too much?
Waking up at a set time everyday even if you've had a bad night's sleep.
You could try gradually reducing the hours you sleep. For example, try getting up earlier e.g. 8.30 am each day. Go to bed when you feel tired.
Gradually reducing the hours slept e.g. by 15 minutes and avoid ‘catnapping’.
Or take a short nap at a regular time and reduce gradually over a few weeks, try to replace this with quality rest instead of sleep. Are you getting quality rest? Talk to Linda and she can teach you how to achieve this. Quality not quantity applies to sleep.
Are you not sleeping enough?
Regulate your sleep pattern. Try to aim to wake up at a regular time. For advice on how to do this contact Linda for a sleep evaluation assessment.
What can you do if you are not falling asleep or wake up in the night?
Try to sleep for approx. 20 minutes then Get up! Leave the room do something relaxing. But this must be un-stimulating and boring. Try to associate bed with sleep rather than stress or activity.
What works for you? Here are some possible ideas to consider:
Reduce noise? Try reading, listening to relaxing music, bird song, listening to the radio or audible books though you need a timer to stop it working.
Is your bedroom too light? You could try blackout curtains or blinds. Dim the house lights 2 hours before bedtime to reduce light on the skin which will help your natural sleep hormone, melatonin to work. Light stops melatonin working. Reduce light in the bedroom when asleep, turn off all electrical lights (particularly blue lights such as on clocks, phones, TV, iPad / Kindle).
What is the temperature of the bedroom – which is better hot or cold? Most people find a cooler room better for sleep.
Try to make your bed as comfortable as possible – some like memory foam mattresses or a duvet on top of the mattress, silk pillow cases, warm grain bags or change your pillow.
Take pain killers before bedtime, so they have time to work.
Unplug electrical equipment, clocks, TV, bed side light, electric blanket if you are sensitive to electrical stimulation.
Some people find light boxes used during the day helps them sleep better.
Foods that can aid sleep. A light supper? Those who find they feel better after eating carbohydrates should eat slow release complex carbohydrates e.g. oatcakes or cereal.
Some find it better to eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.
For those who feel better after protein meals they should try eating a protein rich snack 1-2 hours before bedtime.
Helpful drinks that can help aid sleep could be: Milky drinks or CherryActive.
Tryptophan converts to serotonin, some foods with this are: yogurt, oats, poultry, eggs, nuts and tuna.
Avoid stimulants: Coffee, tea, chocolate and sugar.
Smoking tobacco results in a release of adrenaline.
Alcohol - Reduces the time it takes to fall asleep. However, this is offset by having a more disrupted sleep in the second half of the night. We are often more sensitive to alcohol.
Reducing stress. How do you stop worrying? Worrying that you can’t sleep! Become more knowledgeable about sleep?
Medication Can work in the short term but you can build up a tolerance or an addiction. Did you know the side-effects of some medication can be insomnia and anxiety?
Medication e.g. amitriptyline can make you feel ‘groggy’ in the morning.
Try the Alpha-Stim instead. Gentle microcurrent therapy that prolongs the time in deep sleep with no side-effects.