“The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more.” — Wilson Mizner
As funny as Mizner’s quote is, sleep is no laughing matter for those of us with chronic illness. Sleep is the “make it or break it” for chronic pain and fibromyalgia. If I can get nine hours of shut-eye, tomorrow will be bearable; if I’m suffering from painsomnia and miss out on even one hour, I already know tomorrow is going to be the worst. Ugh…
Before my diagnosis, I had the vitality of the Energizer bunny. I could sleep for six hours and handle weekly business trips and back-to-back meetings with no problem. In fact, I found my busy schedule invigorating! Being constantly on the move was a big part of my identity; I worked hard and I played hard.
Today, I can’t even imagine what it feels like to wake up energized… those days feel like a lifetime ago. I never realized how important sleep is until my diagnosis. So after much trial and flare, I’ve created a list of nine tips that give me the best chance of having a restful night’s sleep.
1. Food can affect sleep
No sugar or spicy food past 8 p.m. When I do overindulge, it feels like ants are crawling up and down my body — enough to wake me up and have to take more meds to put the ants to sleep.
2. Keep it cold
I’m talking 71 degrees, even in the winter. I’ve got my heating pad nearby if I need it.
3. 100 percent cotton comfy pajamas
This is an easy and affordable must-have. I need something soft that feels pure and clean on my skin and allows my body to breathe.
4. A prescription sleep aid
Prescription sleep aids are not for everyone, but I personally have found it to be very helpful. I recommend talking to your doctor if you’re curious about your options.
5. Treat yo self!
An Egyptian cotton comforter and a satin pillowcase — you won’t regret the investment. Remember, we spend one third of our lives in our beds and we deserve this!
6. Pitch black bedroom
This is a non-negotiable; no alarm clocks or flashing devices, my spidey senses can’t block them out.
7. Easy on the alcohol
Booze will definitely ruin a good night’s sleep, I know. But hey, a girl needs a dirty martini every now and then!
8. Lavender baths
I keep the smells very light because of my spidey senses so just a couple drops of lavender are OK with me. For me, lavender is a natural muscle relaxer and stress reliever which helps to soothe inflammation. Sounds nice, huh?
9. “Leave the phone at the door.”
While dealing with painsomnia, all I want to do is Netflix and chill, but unfortunately I’ve learned that’s the worst thing I can do. *Sad Face* To quiet my mind and let my body know it’s time to rest, I will keep the devices out of the bedroom.
What are your tips for a successful sleep? I would love to see them shared in the comments below.