For over the last five years I have suffered from inadequate sleep from my crazy re-wired brain. Sleep is one of the most important activities to allow your brain to heal itselt. That is why patients are given sleeping pills in early part of the healing process.
After that you given suggestions to help with proper sleep hygiene.
This often include:
- Limit naps to 20-30 minutes. This makes sense on paper…however when you are fatigued and sleep-deprived you nap. When you dealing with a life long chronic condition and need to use the spoon theory to survive and educate people you nap. I really don’t think the regular doctors understand. Limiting naps may work for the “normal” person who is going through a small patch of insomnia but for us Spooners naps are the bridge to help us make it through the day.
- Limit caffeine consumption. I love coffee and I still have my coffee everyday. Coffee has often held off migraines for a short period of time for me so there are benefits to still drink it. The only thing where I limit my coffee consumption But I do not have coffee past noon. I do not like decaffeinated coffee and often caffeine free tea gets a bad rap. However, I found a few teas that I just love. These teas taste hot or cold and you do not need to sweeten with sugar. My current favourites are Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice , Celestial Seasonings Ginger & Turmeric Tea and Tetley Blueberry Ginsing tea. I tend to like the spices that make me feel warm and cozy.
- Exercise daily. This is a very hard one to do when given a new life with a chronic condition. Prior to surgery I was very active – runner, Tai-kwon-do and I worked outside so I was fit and had lots of muscle. After surgery I wanted to exercise to my previous level. It basically took me up until recently to understand it is not the amount or intensity that matters. I can exercise for as little as ten minutes. I love how I feel! I use a wooden balance board to help with my right side and core. I also use the yoga half ball with handles. I started with resistance bands without handles but now prefer resistance bands with handles. I also walk not run!
- Get enough sunlight and darkness. This supposedly gets the sleep-wake cycle back to normal again. I live in Canada and the weather can get horrible in the winter so I use a Light Therapy panel. This is blue light which gives me headaches but I wear tinted prescription glasses all the time to alleviate. I also take higher than average doses of Vitamin D as prescribed by my Doctor. If it summer one fun way to baseline your sleep-wake cycle is to go tenting for three days with no electronics.
- Don’t Eat or Drink too much before bed. Avoid the foods that cause you upset stomachs or build acid. Too much fluid may cause you to get up numerous times a night disrupting a good night’s sleep. This is a very personal thing and experimentation is needed.
- Relax before Bed. This means different things to different people. Some people chill in front of the TV while others read. Some do Yoga or Meditate. I often read and listen to diurnal Beats or Meditative Music from Amazon Music. We have been Amazon Prime members for years and love it. Try Prime Membership Amazon Music, Video and Photo are some of the benefits. not to mention the awesome shipping times. This saves so much time and energy.
- Create a Good Sleep Environment. When I first heard of this, I was thinking WTF. Well we don’t have a TV in our room. My hubby watches his shows with headphones via his tablet. I spent almost two years trying to find a pair of wireless headphones that would work for me. I found a great pair of reasonably priced wireless noise cancelling over the ear headphones that fold with comfy foam and fit my head in all the right places. I don’t watch TV on my tablet, but I do read online books and listen to diurnal beats to relax and fall asleep. The biggest thing that I love is my how my Apple Ipad has a night mode so I am able to read without all the blue light. I also love how I can turn down the brightness and also change my books writing to grey. No one can see my screen at night except me it is so low and with a muted amber glow. I am so sensitive to light that having all these features allows me to comfortably read and relax. Setting the room temperature for proper sleep is very culture and personal dominant. However the bestest Christmas Gift ever was from my hubby. I had read about the benefits of weighted blankets. He bought me a single sized 15lb blanket from YnM and I have been sleeping throughout the night. It was a Christmas Miracle.
I have been sleeping like a baby since December 25. Except when I didn’t bring my new favourite blanket to Coleman for five days. Next time I will haul it with me. I have been extremely grateful and appreciative to have sleep back in my life.
It has made me think clearer and be more productive…okay I am still a squirrelly mess but I feel like I am being more productive as I try to stay focussed.
So I am very grateful to a wonderful start to 2018. I can see so many positive changes happening especially with having a solid night’s sleep!
Disclaimer: The blog is a documentation of my life living with Hydrocephalus and Brain Injury. It is not professional advice but tools and techniques that have worked for me via trial and error under the guidance of my medical team. Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. Consult your medical team. The links above contain affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you; I will earn a commission if you click-through and make a purchase.