Getting Your Zzzzzzzzs

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This means that you need to implement the same routine during the week and on week Sleep hygiene is a term used to define proper sleep habits that result in normal, quality nighttime sleep and daytime alertness.  The goal here is to maintain ends, so that you sleep between seven and a half and eight hours per night.  Often fibromyalgia sufferers have difficulty sleeping even a few hours within a 24-hour period, whereas others are so exhausted that they sleep all day long and then are wide awake at night.  Either way, going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day is important.

The following are ways you can increase good sleep hygiene:

  • Attempt to do regular exercises every day.  Exercise warms your body and decreased body temperatures are a sign to go to sleep, be sure you don’t exercise close to the time you are going to bed.

  • Avoid taking naps during the daytime.  If you must take a nap, do not sleep for more than 30 minutes total.  Rest periods or Power Naps, when you sit or lie down for 10 minutes without falling asleep, may help to restore your energy when you become tired throughout the day.

  • Establish a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.  This will help make your body perform better.

  • When you go to bed, it should be for rest, sleep, or intimacy only.  Avoid watching TV in bed or discussing stressful subjects before you go to sleep.

  • If you have trouble falling asleep, do not drink caffeinated tea or coffee, eat chocolate, or smoke cigarettes.  All of these things are stimulants that can prevent you from getting deep, quality sleep.

  • Alcohol can also fragment your sleep.  Although you may have heard that it will help you get to sleep, the problem begins when the body starts to metabolize the alcohol.  This will cause you to fall asleep and then wake up throughout the night.

  • Avoid unnecessary medications with alertness side effects.  Discuss whether an herbal sleep aid such as Calms Forte is appropriate or if a prescription for sleeping pills is right for you with your health care professional.

  • Reduce environmental factors that might prevent you from falling asleep or that arouse you from sleep:

    • Get into a position that is comfortable for you to fall asleep

    • Make sure your bed is comfortable (Add various thickness of padding if necessary to adjust the hardness of the mattress to your liking)

    • Make sure your pillows are comfortable and use extra pillows to prop up areas that are especially sore.  Consider using a water-filled pillow that can help support your neck.

    • Make sure the room is not too hot or cold.  Avoid extreme temperatures.

    • Protect the room from external noises and bright light.  Disconnect the phone and use earplugs or eye shades if necessary.

    • Decorate your bedroom to make it relaxing.  Use neutral colors and get rid of clutter such as computers, exercise machines etc.  The sleep environment should be pleasant and relaxing.

    • Some people need complete silence to fall asleep, others find white noise soothing.  Examples of white noise include a fan, a waterfall, or humming of a machine.  People with Fibromyalgia are very sensitive to light; black out shades may help reduce outside light.

    • Hide your bedroom clock for your view.  If you wake up during the night, don’t look at the time.  If you know what time it is, you might feel anxious about how many more hours until you can get up or how little time there is left for sleeping.

  • Avoid eating a meal right before bedtime.  Do not go to bed too full or too hungry.  Be careful of what you eat in the evening.  Certain foods can cause heart-burn or gas that can disrupt sleep.  It might be helpful to drink a glass of milk or eat a small portion of turkey or other foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan, which can help induce sleep.

  • If possible, make sure that you are not the person responsible for taking care of children or pets when you are trying to go to sleep.  To know that someone else is taking care of these responsibilities will help you feel more relaxed.

  • Establish a bedtime routine:

    • Avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before trying to go to sleep.

    • Take care of health related activities, such as washing your face, brushing your teeth, and taking your medications.

    • Do something relaxing to calm your mind and body, such as relaxation or meditation practices or reading something light and entertaining.  Listen to soft music with your eyes shut.

    • If you cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something besides trying to fall asleep.  Concentrate on the pleasant feeling of relaxing.  Don’t expose yourself to bright light while you are up because this will wake you up instead of helping you fall asleep.

    • When you get up in the morning, make sure you expose yourself to a lot of sunlight before 9am.  Light exposure helps maintain your circadian rhythms.  You do not have to sunbathe, just get out into the sunlight.

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