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?
- Transform your stress on a regular basis.
- 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.
- Limit alcohol.
- Make your bedroom an electronics nogozone.
- Find the right bedding. For example, I prefer feather pillows, a down duvet and definitely not a soft comfort (Yeah, right!) mattress.
- Your bedroom ambience. For me: a cool, dark room is a must.
- Don’t count sheep, but instead, list all the things for which you are grateful.
- 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.
- 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.
- Perhaps you have sleep apnea? Get tested.
- Support your jaw.
- Do you have painsomnia? Onboard strategies to help you manage your pain. See #1.
- Reset your sleep clock. Sometimes you’re simply going to bed too early. Stay up later and find your ideal bedtime.
- Medication can interfere with sleep. Talk with your doctor and pharmacist to discover solutions and options.
- A hormone deficiency may impact your sleep. Talk to your doctor about getting tested.
- 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.
- Your sleep hygiene routine may include a nap on the couch.
- Exercise – but at the right time for you. For example, I know if I exercise in the evening, I’m too wired to sleep.
- 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.
- Your turn: Please share what helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.
More in This Series:
- Tip #10 – Live Your Life.
- Tip #9 – Learn to Listen to Your Body.
- Tip #8 – Use Tools and Gadgets.
- Tip #7 – Build Your Team.
- Tip #6 – Accentuate the Positive.
- Tip #5 – Laugh and/or Smile.
- Tip #3 – Move/Exercise.
- Tip #2 – Choose to Eat Well.
- Tip #1 – Transform Stress.