#568 – Live Better with RA – Tip #4

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Image courtesy of  Gail  Rau.

Tip #4 – Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

Relentless flares, disease-related anxieties, family issues, bills, noise, frustrations — just a sampling of the things that can keep you up at night. A lack of sleep can create a snowball of increasing sleeplessness, wreaking havoc on your RA. With a few important but relatively small changes, you can learn to cultivate good sleep habits, which may lead to a better night’s sleep.

Yeah, but How Do You Do That, Exactly?

  1. Transform your stress on a regular basis.
  2. Experiment to discover the time by which you should stop eating and using your electronic devices. Too close to bedtime and you might be too wired to sleep.
  3. Limit alcohol.
  4. Make your bedroom an electronics nogozone.
  5. Find the right bedding. For example, I prefer feather pillows, a down duvet and definitely not a soft comfort (Yeah, right!) mattress.
  6. Your bedroom ambience. For me: a cool, dark room is a must.
  7. Don’t count sheep, but instead, list all the things for which you are grateful.
  8. Practice cognitive shuffling: Choose a 5/6 letter word, such as “dream.” Now list as many words that you can think of for d, then r, and so on.
  9. Do a room inventory, once you’ve turned off the light. Slowly list everything that is in your bedroom. You might find you’re asleep before you are half-way around the room.
  10. Perhaps you have sleep apnea? Get tested.
  11. Support your jaw.
  12. Do you have painsomnia? Onboard strategies to help you manage your pain. See #1.
  13. Reset your sleep clock. Sometimes you’re simply going to bed too early. Stay up later and find your ideal bedtime.
  14. Medication can interfere with sleep. Talk with your doctor and pharmacist to discover solutions and options.
  15. A hormone deficiency may impact your sleep. Talk to your doctor about getting tested.
  16. Melatonin, 5-HTP and other over-the-counter products may induce sleep. Check with your doctor to see if these products are a good option for you.
  17. Your sleep hygiene routine may include a nap on the couch.
  18. Exercise – but at the right time for you. For example, I know if I exercise in the evening, I’m too wired to sleep.
  19. Laugh. Several hours before bed, I watched several YouTube videos of one of my favourite comedians, Michael McIntyre. No, he didn’t put me to sleep with his routine; he is laugh-out-loud funny with his observational humour. All that laughter changes your chemistry – for the better.
  20. Your turn: Please share what helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.

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