IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY, LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP – QUIET YOUR MIND…

This week’s sleeping tips is 6 techniques to quiet your mind and get to sleep.

SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP & PILLOWS…

My regular Sunday post on everything to do with sleep could not be closer to home for me at the moment.

Out of the blue, my sleeping pattern has changed dramatically from being average to diabolical. I can only presume it’s the change in weather and my arthritis as I have changed nothing else to trigger this sleep deprivation off.

A massive number of us struggle with sleep whether it’s too short, disrupted or poor quality. And we all know the serious impact this can have on our health, particularly as we get older or if we suffer from a chronic condition.

I tried stopping my afternoon sleep which I can manage without a problem but that just made me feel ten times worse so it’s back to the drawing board for me.

I know there are a number of different types of Sleep pillows on the market but which one do you try first as you can soon start spending a lot of money on something that may not even worse. I sleep on my front but tend to wake up in my side so I need a fairly flat pillow.

One sleep pillow called The Sound Asleep Pillow which is £50 says ‘Take full control of a smarter sleep by using the soundasleep app to control your pillow from the comfort of your bed. Relax listening to music, audiobooks and podcasts, monitor and manage your snoring, analyse your sleep or use our smart alarm to wake you up.

Other sleep pillows options are the Nanu Sleep Pillow This company takes information about how you like to sleep, whether on your side, back or front. They combine that with your height and weight measurements which they say allows their clever system to create a perfect-for-you firmness level from super soft to super firm for £35.

Another one is the Kally Deep Sleep Pillow which is £29.99 and has been designed specifically for light sleepers, ( that’s me for sure) with a quilted outer layer and generously filled with high quality DuPont Cortana fibres which are light yet supportive, this pillow cradles the head and will help to send you into a deeper, more sumptuous sleep. The fibres retain their shape for longer and rebound after long periods of sleep. They also do the first Kally Adjustable Pillow allowing you to choose your preferred pillow height and firmness. The pillow contains 4 easy-to-remove inner pads and comes dressed in a quilted cotton cover which also benefits from our unique air-vented system keeping you perfectly cool. The Kally Adjustable Pillow is perfect for back, front and side sleepers and is also £29.99

I’d love to know if any of my readers have tried any of these as I am getting pretty desperate for a good night’s sleep. I also wrote another article on My Top 3 Pillows for the discomfort of back and neck pain, which is to help people in pain and then hopefully give them a better night’s sleep.

A good way to check you have chosen the right Pillow is the chart below from The Pillow Advisor who explains how to choose the correct pillow to suit the way you sleep.

IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY – LETS TALK ABOUT SLEEP AND MEDITATION THERAPY…

Many people are turning to meditation as an effective way to relax and bring inner peace. It can also help with stress, improve your general health and help you to think clearly. It’s something you can do wherever you are, by focusing on something else around you instead of your thoughts, worries and obsessions.

You can meditate just by focusing on something; anything will do if you are out. But most people still meditate on breathing, a single repeated word, a flower or a mental image. Meditation is much more than just a way of relaxing, it also clears our minds and makes us more alert. If you meditate for a few minutes each day, the results can be deep and long-lasting.

There are many places you can learn to meditate; it could be a candle-lit room, with incense and dreamy music, lying on the floor after a yoga class or at an evening’s class at your local school or leisure centre. In your first meditation, people may feel sleepy as they let themselves relax and their adrenalin levels drop. They will go to classes after a hard day’s work, and need to rest.

Meditation is not about going to sleep. It’s about learning to relax and focus your mind. The benefits of meditation ripple through everything we do – being relaxed and aware is the mental equivalent of being fit and healthy. Some of the main reasons people meditate are for relaxation, health, inner peace and harmony, concentration to improve sporting and theatrical performance, inspiration and creativity, quality of life, self-understanding and therapy and spiritual awakening – the list goes on. ‘Mindfulness Meditation’ is a very simple way to meditate.

All you do is focus on your breathing, observe your thoughts and bring your attention into the present moment. Headspace explains ‘What is meditation for sleep’, you can try and listen to their way of meditating to go to sleep. Another great site is Sleep.Org who also explains how to meditate before you go to bed.

Meditation is thought to date back to the fifth and sixth century BC. Stories were written in ancient Hindu about it, and are featured in most religions. Ed Halliwell, author of ‘The Mindful Manifesto,’ says that ‘it can help you experience the moment and not be drawn into habitual emotional responses’. Halliwell goes on to say that ‘research on human brains during a meditation state has revealed a shift in activity from the right side of the pre-frontal cortex, which is linked with depression, over to the left, which is connected with emotional reassurance and happiness’. Research has actually shown meditation can ease depression, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, boost immunity and healing, and lower blood pressure. Mindfulness meditation is now an NHS approved treatment.

SLEEP SUNDAY, LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP…

Sleep SundayLet’s Talk About Sleep. Sleep dysfunction and chronic fatigue are common in many disorders including Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Stroke, Arthritis and mental illness.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, two out of three people with chronic pain have trouble sleeping and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, say over 40 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder and another 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems.

Experts estimate 25-40% of patients with chronic pain have insomnia, many times the rate among those without. It’s estimated that 50-80% of chronic pain patients report sleep disturbances. The worst is when pain and sleep loss get into a downward spiral of awfulness, leading to low quality of life. Pain makes it hard to sleep, poor sleep makes the pain subjectively worse, and both lead to depression, which also affects sleep disorders and pain experience. Recognizing that pain and sleep disorders often go hand-in-hand can sometimes help to solve the problem.

Sleep they say has a naturally recuperative power. A greater emphasis on sleep may help patients improve their daytime functioning. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a possible solution for both living with pain and alleviating problem sleep, but maybe they should include some ‘sleep clinics’ in the ‘pain management’ programmes.

Does pain make the sleep worse or does poor quality sleep degrade make the pain feel worse? Both. Don’t discount the effect that a good night’s sleep can have on a person’s quality of life and ability to tolerate pain. The subjective intensity of pain decreases when a person is well-rested. Hyperalgesia – increased sensitivity to pain – is a result of loss of sleep, especially the loss of REM sleep. Which is ironic, because the opioid drugs used to treat severe pain suppress REM sleep and may make patients more sensitive to the pain they feel. Antidepressant drugs could also suppress REM sleep and make us complain about pain more (maybe this is partly the cause of the stereotype of the diva). Poor sleep quality is correlated with more severe pain and increased fatigue.

Some people do truly believe acupressure to help you sleep. Some tips are to place the tips of your index and middle fingers on the centre of your breastbone, at the acupressure point known as ‘Sea of Tranquility’. Now close your eyes and apply steady pressure, not too hard, for a minute or two. You will then soon feel tension, anxiety and stress start to slip away.

You could also use your first two fingers and tap them across the top of your head from temple to temple. Then work from front to back and side to side as this can get blood and oxygen moving to ease tension and restore focus.

To destress your shoulders make a gentle half-closed fist and with a loose wrist, tap your right hand gently but firmly up your left arm, along your shoulder and up the side and back of your neck. Repeat the same process on the other side to ease tension and release endorphins.

If any of these did work for you then please let us know.

SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP…

It’s Sleep Sunday, so let’s talk about sleep, that’s if we are lucky enough to get some. Some facts about sleep deprivation and pain.

Many Fibromyalgia and chronic pain sufferers say they feel lucky if they get 5 hours’ sleep a night.

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a vicious cycle? Pain makes it difficult to sleep, but sleep deprivation means the body cannot repair itself – making the pain worse. Healthline points out that people with chronic pain don’t necessarily see improvements in sleep once their pain is resolved.

In fact, the pain often only continues to worsen until sleep is addressed. This may be related to the fact that some people with chronic pain may battle anxiety which in turn may cause stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol to flood their systems. Over time, anxiety creates overstimulation of the nervous system, which makes it difficult to sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation points out that sixty-five percent of those with no pain reported good or very good sleep quality, while only 45 percent of those with acute pain and 37 percent of those with chronic pain did the same. Additionally, 23 percent of those with chronic pain reported higher stress levels, compared with 7 percent of those without pain.

Those with acute or chronic pain are more likely to have sleep problems impact their daily lives. Among people who’ve had sleep difficulties in the past week, more than half of those with chronic pain say those difficulties interfered with their work. That drops to 23 percent of those without pain. People with pain are also far more apt than others to report that lack of sleep interferes with their mood, activities, relationships and enjoyment of life overall.

People with pain also feel less control over their sleep, worry more about lack of sleep affecting their health and exhibit greater sleep sensitivity. They’re more likely than others to say environmental factors make it more difficult for them to get a good night’s sleep. These factors include noise, light, temperature and their mattresses alike, suggesting that taking greater care of the bedroom environment may be particularly helpful to pain sufferers.

While both chronic and acute pain relate to lost sleep, the survey indicates that chronic pain is an especially powerful problem. Indeed, nearly one in four people with chronic pain, 23 percent, say they’ve been diagnosed with a sleep disorder by a doctor, compared with just 6 percent of all others.

Sleep station comment that It’s a never-ending battle and a vicious circle between sleep disturbance and pain. In some there may be an element of chicken and egg – is the pain causing the sleep problems or is the poor quality of your sleep making your pain feel worse? Pain can, for example, be the main reason that you wake in the night, and these interruptions during the night can lead you to get less sleep, and most important of all, less good quality restorative sleep. This sleep deprivation can lower your pain threshold and your tolerance for pain and thus can make your pain feel worse.