TUESDAY TIPS FROM #BACKPAINBLOG – THE IMPORTANCE OF REST DAYS…

Our Tuesday tips this week are the importance of rest days for people suffering from any type of pain.

Is there such a thing as too much rest? What if you get out of shape or lose muscle? Is it necessary to rest completely, or is “taking it easy” enough, and for how long? How do you know when to lay off and when to “use it or lose it”? How can you rest anatomy that you need to use all day, every day?

Pro Health say that ‘Rest is a key factor in successfully managing and living with fibromyalgia.  However, most people with fibromyalgia tend to push themselves to their limit every day.  Often this results in a push/crash cycle – doing way too much one day, then taking several days to recover.’

When you are in less pain it’s easy to expand more energy than you have available. I do it all the time and then my symptoms are intensified and I’m in the bad books with the family. ‘The trouble is ‘, as I say to my family, ‘the bell doesn’t ring until after I’ve overdone it.’

Spine Universe wrote that some specific benefits for fibromyalgia sufferers are:

  • It strengthens your muscles. Muscles that are lean, flexible, and strong combat stress. Strong muscles also support your body and bones better, which aid movement and support.
  • It increases energy. People with fibromyalgia often experience debilitating fatigue, and regular physical activity can help boost energy and endurance levels.
  • It promotes a restful sleep. Research shows that exercise helps you fall asleep and stay asleep longer. Sleep disorders are a common fibromyalgia symptom—one that exacerbates the disorder’s widespread pain. Better sleep can mean less pain.
  • It’s good for your mental health. Exercise reduces stress, anxiety, and depression—all common symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
  • It keeps the weight off. The more weight you carry, the more stress it puts on your body, causing pain. Exercise, along with a balanced diet, will help you reach or maintain a healthy weight.

I think we all know that doing nothing at all while in pain does not mean you will get better but pacing yourself and resting regularly can definitely give a kick start. I redesigned my bedroom to feel like a sanctuary and most days between 3-4pm I close my blinds, pop my heat cushion on and get under the duvet for 40 winks. The difference for me if I don’t have my rest days is pain, pain and much more pain.

 

 

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WORLD SLEEP DAY AND NATIONAL BED MONTH,MARCH 2019…

The month of March has been declared as National Bed Month and also on the 15th March is World Sleep Day which is something many chronic pain sufferers would love to enjoy.

The Sleep Council (helping you get a better nights sleep, create awareness campaigns. The idea behind The Sleep Council awareness campaigns is to highlight the impact of a good night’s sleep on health and wellbeing, the good lifestyle habits to follow and how to eliminate the factors that are causing you disturbed sleep.

During their awareness campaigns, they actively encourage everyone to get involved and show their support.

The Sleep Council Awareness Campaigns

1st – 31st March

A month dedicated to improving a good night’s kip with a comfortable, supportive bed.

For tips and advice on choosing a new bed and a full list of NBF approved members, visit the National Bed Federation website.

Friday, March 15, 2019 is the 12th annual World Sleep Day. Created and hosted by World Sleep Society, World Sleep Day is an internationally recognized awareness event bringing researchers, health professionals and patients together to recognize sleep and its important impact on our health.

World Sleep Day 2019 will incorporate the slogan, ‘Healthy Sleep, Healthy Aging,’ intended to emphasize the importance of sleep in overall health at any age. This focus is purposefully broad in meaning, surrounding the message that quality of life can be improved with healthy sleep. Conversely, when sleep fails, health declines, decreasing quality of life. Sound sleep is a treasured function and one of the core pillars of health. World Sleep Society has compiled ten tips for healthier sleep. These recommendations for children and adults can be viewed on worldsleepday.org under resources.

So, what’s the answer to a good nights sleep? I have written many articles on sleep deprivation and how this is something Fibromyalgia patients suffer from big time. I have gone through most of them to list the most important things to remember in order to get a good nights sleep.

Arthritis Health says that “Positive bedtime habits and environment changes include:

  • Using a high-quality mattress with comfortable sheets and blankets
  • Eliminating light and noise from the bedroom, including glare and sounds from electronics; a sound machine that generates white noise may help mask outside noises (people will often use a fan for this purpose)
  • Lowering the temperature in the bedroom to 68 degrees or lower
  • Using deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation techniques (tensing and then relaxing muscle groups in sequence)
  • Using a biofeedback device to help individuals recognize signs of tension and actively work to relax muscles, slow breathing, and calm down
  • Going to bed at the same time every day
  • Getting up and doing something calming if sleeplessness sets in, returning to bed only once feeling tired

Other obvious tricks from sleep experts are to try a camomile tea before you go to bed. Put your book if it’s on a screen to the blue shade to read. Have a warm bath with some lavender oil drops which can help you to relax. Spray your pillow with watered down lavender oil.

Be smart about napping as while it is a good way to make up for lost sleep, if you have trouble falling asleep napping can make it worse. For me personally, if I go for my afternoon rest later than 3pm then I find it difficult to go off at the usual bedtime.

They even suggest turning off or down your light as the night goes on as melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s day, making you sleepy, and less when it’s light, therefore making you more alert (I’ve not tried this one).

The N:Rem Sleep System wrote a great guest post here which included a free ebook on Why is Sleep So Important For Fibromyalgia Sufferers.

The Pillow Advisor explains how to choose the correct pillow to suit the way you sleep.

There is much more on this article here.

And finally if all else fails try pressing these acupuncture points to help you sleep. 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 gengle 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. Repat the same process on the other side to ease tension and release endorphins.

THE HEALING POWERS OF LAVENDER AND PEPPERMINT…

I have written many a post on my love of Lavender and all its healing powers in one form or another but if it’s combined with Peppermint you will find it even better.

One of my favourite ways to get the benefits of these oils is in the roller ball format. A great pack of three is by Tisserand who sell a Little Box of Mindfulness pack of three roller balls.

Tisserand Little Box Of Mindfulness

Clear your head & be present in the moment with their mindful pulse point roller balls made with 100% natural pure essential oils. BREATHE DEEP blend of Orange, Petitgrain & Coriander gives your mind a break when it’s time to stop. MIND CLEAR blend of Peppermint, Lavender & Lemon allows you to declutter your mind & find clarity. REAL CALM blend of Lavender, Bergamot & Patchouli helps you to take time out & feel serene.

Available from Amazon and other retailers for £8.68 – I keep mine in the drawer by my bed for if I am having a difficult night.

Another favourite of mine is The Cotswold Lavender Soothing Gel for £4.95 their finest lavender oil carefully blended with peppermint. This super combination will help to soothe everyday aches and pains. Apply to temples and pulse points. 20g glass jar.

Enjoy a lovely shower before you retire using Liberty of London’s Lavender and Peppermint Shower Gel £9.00, spray your pillow with Skincare Botanics Aromatherapy Lavender and Peppermint Mist £6.95 and I can almost guarantee you will sleep well.

If your mind will still not settle down then try reading The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi from £6.95 from Amazon, Vitality and Good Health through essential breath work.

SUFFERING FROM SAD AND LACK OF ENERGY DURING THE WINTER MONTHS….

We all lack energy from time to time but if it doesn’t improve then you should see your GP.

There are a number of conditions that can leave you feeling lethargic. Iron levels are one of the first things that can affect energy levels and cause tiredness.

An under-active thyroid is another cause of tiredness and the falling hormone levels that occur at the menopause.

Fatigue can also be a sign of diabetes.

If you are suffering from SAD (Seasonal Effective Disorder) this can also cause fatigue.

As well as the above, some medications can also cause lethargy, including beta blockers, some antihistamines, codeine-based painkillers and also some antidepressants. Also some sleeping tablets may help to get you through the night, some can cause daytime fatigue.

Of course, anxiety, stress and depression are also triggers for sapping energy levels. The best course of action is to go and visit your GP.

At this time of year one in eight of us can suffer from winter blues and one in 50 of us suffer from SAD through lack of sunlight.

Symptoms of SAD include fatigue and depression.

Its the sunlight that tells your brain to produce serotonin, which is needed to boost our mood and energy. Lack of it as autumn turns to winter causes an increase in the production of melatonin (which makes us sleepy) and a reduction in serotonin is what can cause depression.

One of the most obvious ways to treat SAD is to get outside in the daylight for at least 20 minutes a day but you can also invest in a light box. Light therapy is the most effective way of decreasing the symptoms. Also it is believed that eating foods rich in an amino acid called tryptophan increases the amount of serotonin in the brain.

Also they say that Australian research found that taking vitamin D supplements for only five days in late winter improved the mood of people with SAD. It can also prevent osteoporosis, support immunity and regulate weight. Of course the best way to get Vitamin D is through the effects of sunlight on bare skin. Amazingly they say that Vitamin D lasts for 60 days in the body so if you’ve been away for your annual holiday in the summer, it will mean your levels should be fine until November.

Other sources of Vitamin D can be found in oily fish and eggs, cheese and poultry.

Research also suggests that eating carb-rich foods helps the brain take up tryptophan. You can also find supplements and The Food Agency recommends taking 10mcg a day.

PILLOW SENSE FOR A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP…

Pillow sense for a good nights sleep is essential if you have sleeping problems.

You should always buy new pillows as soon as the old ones lose their bounce.

You can also purchase ‘eye pillows’ which are filled with lavender to help you sleep.

A lovely new pillow or eye mask would make a great Christmas gift.

The Pillow Advisor explains how to choose the correct pillow to suit the way you sleep.

This info graphic also explains all you need to know about pillows and a healthy sleep.