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May is Better Sleep Month


May is Better Sleep Month

Getting a restful nights sleep is essential to your health.

For those with chronic illness, it may be a real struggle. Many, have trouble falling asleep, and staying asleep for a variety of reasons. I would venture to say most, but don't quote me. What ever the reason, Americans are not getting enough sleep in general. If you have a chronic illness, it is just icing on the sleep thief's cake.

Some are "tied up" to an oxygen machine, cpap or bi-pap machine, making sleep less comfortable.

Others suffer from chronic pain and that pain flares and awakens them frequently. 

And, for some, medications may cause a disruption in your ability to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Many have minds with no off button. When your mind is constantly on, you can't relax and get some sleep. Many of your thoughts are about bills, tasks that need completed at work or home. 

The vast majority of retail workers never have the opportunity to wake up at 6 AM and be in bed by 9 PM daily. Because every day they have a different schedule. Close, open, day off, close,  open, overnight, day off? Anyone???

For many, this life of insomnia takes over and we forget how to get the rest we need. It becomes normal. A part of us. But, it is not natural at all. While most Americans don't nap midday, and get the bulk of their sleep at night, many chronically ill may want to break up their sleep to allow for a nice midday rest. 

Follow the tips below for better sleep:

  • Make sure your room is clean and free of clutter. A clean room is a more comfortable room. Simply put, bedrooms are for sleeping. Do you really need anything else in there?
  • Clear your bedroom of all distractions. No TV, or electronics... That's right, no laptops, tablets, or smartphones. You can keep your phone in your room for emergency reasons, but, it should be on silent and not used unless it is a true emergency. 
  • Create a bedtime routine that starts at dinner time. No caffeine or other  unnecessary stimulants. 
  • Once you have created your distraction free bedroom and your bedtime routine, it is time for the next step. Make a commitment to sleep. You can do this!
  • In the hours before you attempt sleep, choose less exciting activities. Soothing music, LED candles, and a cup of chamomile tea are good choices.
  • Be sure to get in 30 minutes of exercise each day. 

If routine isn't your thing try this in addition to the tips above:

Set 3 alarms:

  • Alarm 1 should be set 2 hours before bedtime, use this hour to take a bathe and take medications. 
  • Alarm 2 should be set 1 hour before bedtime to remind you to meander into your bedroom and relax in your bed where you might like to read a good book. Remember, no electronics.
  • Alarm 3 means "lights out".

Don't get caught sleeping around. 

Please visit SleepBetter.org or download their PDF eBook Better Sleep Guide for more tips to better sleep. 

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