The “how-to” sleep articles are all helpful but I am struggling with sleep again. How do we know which sleep articles to follow? It is taking some methodical manipulation to conquer quality sleep. Everyone is so different and circumstances are different that there is no black-and-white list that applies to all. Quality sleep is so crucial to healing from a chronic illness that I am willing to stop, regroup, and figure this out. When all else fails, use my brain!!
Evaluate what does NOT work
Anything that has not worked so far can be set aside for the moment.
I trashed all pills years ago because they create a host of new problems inside our bodies that end up making us have sleep problems, the thing we are trying to resolve. It is also easy to think we “need” them and become dependent on them which does not result in quality sleep.
Look at the obvious
When we have not slept well for an extended period of time we tend to lose sight of the obvious.
- Have a wind-down time before bedtime.
- Have an early bedtime to get the most out of your sleeping hours. 9p.m. starts the healing hours of quality sleep. Sounds nutty, try anything before 10p.m. and you will notice a difference.
- Darkness is important. Eye mask if nothing else.
- Quiet – turn off the noise.
- EMF’s – phones, tablets, computers, anything sending EMF’s through your bedroom. Unplug the connection to your Internet in your home. At the very least keep phones etc at least 6 feet from your body. Many useful articles on the subject of EMF’s and sleep.
- Food – eating before bed can create your body working overtime digesting instead of sleeping deeply. Yet there are certain healthy foods that can help your quality of sleep. This is where you go back to your endless helpful articles on “how-to sleep.”
Think it out logically and methodically
Do what it takes to put your brain into this. Make a log if you need to for tracking what works and what does not. Trying something new for a night or two and then declaring it does not work just keeps you awake and frustrated.
Try one, ONE, new thing a week. Don’t rely on your memory to accurately keep track of what works and what doesn’t. There are many ways to log the info.
Don’t rely on your memory to accurately keep track of what works and what doesn’t.
Be open to accepting that your body changes, having different needs at different times. What works one night, simply might not always work.
Be open to the changing of circumstances. You might suddenly have darkness in your bedroom when you have been used to years of neighbors lights shining in. Be open to adapting. If it is dark, take off the eye mask that hurts your ears. If it is light, put on the mask that helps. Adapt to the moment at hand.
Be open to a combination of several things. It might take three or four different natural remedies to be the right combination for your particular body.
I play around with this on a weekly basis. When I find a combination that works, I leave it alone until it does not work. It is a moving target with chronic illness so be patient with yourself.
Right now, while I am struggling again with sleep, this is the combination I am trying (adding only one thing each week to clearly determine what helps):
- No EMF’s in bedroom (except CD player and diffuser that help with sleep)
- To bed between 9-9:30p.m.
- Natural melatonin no later than 9p.m.
- Organic CBD oil at bedtime
- Magnesium (pure source) at bedtime
- Tumeric/curcumin extract to get the inflammation to calm down on my brain as I try to get to sleep
- Essential oils in a diffuser – automatic shut-off
- CD player by my bed: play a soothing meditation as I am falling asleep and I turn it back on when I wake up in the middle of the night. I like the speaker’s words much better than my own thoughts! My ridiculous thoughts keep me riled up and awake.
- Every morning logging how I slept (scale of 1-10) so I can track progress
I simply play with the combination until I get quality sleep again, and then I maintain it. Chronic illness has so many factors that everyone will have to come up with their own combination that works specifically for them. Life itself has a ton of factors that keep people from quality sleep.
Don’t give up. Just use your brain to figure out what works for you specifically. Use the how-to lists all over the Internet to find new suggestions to try.
Life is a dance. Flow with the changes that are needed to get quality sleep.
Comment on what works for you. I am always open to sharing new ideas.
Maribeth Baxter, MBEC
Donations accepted to serve others on their chronic illness journey. Maribeth Baxter, MBEC provides voluntary certified health coaching services to the financially limited during their time of crisis.