Sleep is so important but it becomes more vital when you have pain or a chronic illness to contend with. I am on the lesser known types of M.E/CFS because I rarely become insomniac. In fact, I probably oversleep and still wake up feeling like I have been awake the whole of the night before. So as someone who will try to keep a good sleep routine here are my tips for setting up a routine that will get you in a good place for sleep.
1. Firstly ideally I was told I had to get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time every day. I tend to have a nap from 8:30 to 10 pm then go back to sleep at 11 pm and sleep through until 9 am. I was sleeping previous to this idea from 8:30 until 11:30 am most days sometimes earlier waking or sometimes it was later. My poor parents had the task of waking me up a few minutes earlier each day until we hit 9 am. It wasn’t for the faint-hearted as I felt so out of it I was like a bear woken from hibernation. I felt spaced out and physically unwell. It took weeks and now if I oversleep I get the spaced out feeling all day.
2. Try to limit daytime naps to under 45 minutes. I believe this is so your body doesn’t go into a deep sleep but you get a little boost of energy. Since I had this implemented by the doctor I rarely nap as it makes me feel groggy and again grumpy. But if I need to I do.
3. Try to get a routine down to help yourself wind down at the end of each day. So I take a bath and try to not use my phone right before bed, I might read for a little while. I also have been adding a ‘sleep tea’ with a tiny bit of honey in it. I really like the Clipper Sleep Easy Tea as it doesn’t taste of chamomile hurray it has cinnamon and orange to it and it’s part of my ritual. It supposedly has things to aid sleep but I can’t say it’s having more than a relaxing effect on me. Do things that help you feel sleepy, it’s mainly common sense but think back to what your parents did when you were a child. Routine is a signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep.
4. Try to keep your bedroom a mess-free place. This is really hard for me as I don’t have heaps of spare energy when I have Baloo and this blog to work on and my family have jobs etc which means they help out but it’s not always tidy every week. I try to at least ‘hide’ my stuff out of my line of vision and keep stuff off the bed. If you have a peaceful environment it helps you relax and switch off for sleep.
5. Don’t get sucked into the Netflix or YouTube rabbit hole, it’s so easy to watch an episode before bed and find yourself awake at one am thinking where did my early night go?!?!
6. If you are anything like me then your bed is your ‘island’ it can be a place you spend the most amount of time in. Recognise it and make sure you have a comfy mattress and pillows. That you have bedlinen you love and pyjamas you are happy to wear for hours if not days – let’s be honest we all do this. It is a worthwhile investment to be comfortable in the one place you spend a good chunk of your time in.
7. If your mind is racing or you are thinking about something make a note of it or go and do it if it’s quick. There is no point lying in the dark thinking about what you forgot to do, need to do or want to do if you can take ten minutes to get out of bed and sort it. Clear mind = sleep.
8. Try out meditation. Now I have been into meditations in the past and have done them daily but I don’t love them all the time. I do however try them if I have had a particularly rough patch of sleep. Sometimes they help you let go of tension and they don’t have to be ten minutes long. Look on YouTube and find ones you like. If it isn’t for you then don’t force it.
9. I am a person who needs certain conditions in order to sleep. I am a pitch black silent room that’s slightly toasty warm in order to sleep. If one of these things is off it can affect the quality of my sleep. I have blackout blinds then normal blinds on my windows. I use earplugs if needed and have an eye mask for when I’m travelling.
10. Never underestimate the powers of an ice pack or heat pad. The pain will stop you from sleeping, and sometimes they make a difference. Baloo tends to favour icepacks and I tend to favour heat. Find out which works for you and then utilise it to help you rest. I do use ice packs in the summer sometimes too so you might have to adjust seasonally also.
Those are my tips for getting better quality sleep. I won’t lie and say that this always works for me but on the whole, I sleep even if I don’t feel like I went to sleep. But that’s part of the difficulties of ME/CFS.
What helps you unwind and go to sleep? Leave me a comment I’d love to know.
Thank you for being so understanding that last week I needed some time off. I am for the most part on the mend but the nausea is still around making its self known. I’m just glad I can think straight now.