IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY SO HERE’S 20 TIPS TO HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER…

It’s Sleep Sunday and I found this brilliant infographic on Pinterest which has 20 Simple Ways to get a Better Sleep. If only one helps then it was worth posting this.

IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT MELATONIN FOR SLEEP & YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM…

It’s Sleep Sunday so let’s talk this week about melatonin for sleep. You can see from the infographic below that it can help in many ways to help you sleep.

Pro Health also wrote on Melatonin for sleep and the immune system and explained that Melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone that your brain produces as a response to darkness. After sunset, usually around 9 pm, the pineal gland is activated by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a control center in the hypothalamus that regulates hormones and body temperature.

Melatonin levels stay elevated through the night for roughly 12 hours, until our bodies are exposed to light at the start of each day. Most people produce enough melatonin on their own to induce rest. However, modern activities like excess travel, stress, screen time, and night schedules disrupt this natural rhythm, leading to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Supplemental melatonin may be a solution.

People who can benefit from supplementing their melatonin are people with limited day time light exposure, people with increased light exposure at night, people doing shift work or people suffering from jet lag.

Pro Health also say “ Research suggests that melatonin is not only a good sleep remedy, it might also play an important role as an immune buffer. One study examines how melatonin may act as a stimulant for immunosuppressed conditions, helping the body better respond to external threats like viruses and parasites. On the other hand, the study finds melatonin can regulate overactive responses as well, such as that found in septic shock, acting as an anti-inflammatory. “

Melatonin supplements are available in a few different formats and available from Pro Health and other good pharmacies. Always remember to check with your GP before taking any supplements especially if you are taking other medications.

IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP AND COVID-19 : WHY SLEEP COULD HELP…

We all know how important sleep is to our health but at the moment we need our immune system working overtime. The immune system is particularly boosted during ‘slow wave sleep‘, the first and third night when we sleep deeply according to The Telegraph.

So, sleep could really help when it comes to COVID-19 as it could stave it off and also minimise the symptoms when it hits. The Telegraph says that ‘while it’s too early for any studies to have been done on the effects of sleep on this particular coronavirus (Covid-19), in 2015 researchers in the US deliberately infected 164 volunteers with the rhinovirus (common cold). They found that the people who slept less than six hours a night were four times more likely to develop cold symptoms than the ones who slept for seven hours or more.’

When you are asleep your body builds up energy, fixing and repairing but the immune system is particularly boosted during ‘slow wave sleep’, the first and third of the night when we sleep deeply when your body can make infection-fighting cells and proteins called antibodies that help defend against illness. Your body releases certain proteins that help the immune system called cytokines, only during sleep.

Not getting enough sleep can also make you more likely to catch viruses or germs.

Healthline added ‘Numerous studies have reported the benefits of a good night’s sleep, and now researchers from Germany have found that sound sleep improves immune cells known as T cells.

“T cells are a type of… immune cells that fight against intracellular pathogens, for example virus-infected cells such as flu, HIV, herpes, and cancer cells,” Stoyan Dimitrov, PhD, a researcher at the University of Tübingen and an author of the study, told Healthline.

The study found a new mechanism through which sleep can assist the immune system.

Kimberley Hardin, MD, director of the sleep medicine fellowship program at the University of California Davis, says many people take good sleep for granted.

“People underestimate the importance of sleep, and less than seven hours per night on a regular basis has negative effects. It essentially creates a fight-or-flight state, with increased stress hormones and release of adrenaline,” she told Healthline.

So, rest up everyone, if you can’t get those hours in at night then try resting in the day even if it’s outside in the sunshine. Just get as many zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz as possible.

#SLEEP SUNDAY – LETS TALK ABOUT SLEEP AND THE BEST SLEEP POSITIONS…

It’s Sleep Sunday, so let’s talk about the best sleep positions for people who suffer from back pain. If are suffering from degenerative disc disease then they say that one of the best positions is to sleep on your stomach as this can relieve the pressure on the disc space. You should then place a flat pillow under your stomach and hips to help reduce stress on your lower back.

However, in general, elevating the knees slightly by placing a pillow under them while lying on your back can help many general forms of low back pain.

If you are experiencing upper back pain then use a memory foam pillow or no pillows under your head. Lie on your side and place a pillow between your knees.

When lying in bed try the Fowler Position, on your back with legs bent at right angles and supported by a pillow stack which helps to minimise pressure on your discs.

According to wikepedia the Fowler’s position is a standard patient position. It is used to relax tension of the abdominal muscles, allowing for improved breathing in immobile patients as it alleviates compression of the chest due to gravity, and to increase comfort during eating and other activities. It is also used in postpartum women to improve uterine drainage. The patient is placed in a semi-upright sitting position (45-60 degrees) and may have knees either bent or straight.

No one knows more about back and neck pain than Robin McKenzie. The world-renowned physiotherapist and author has dedicated his working life to developing innovative and effective solutions to neck and back ailments. Currently used by leading physiotherapists worldwide his range of lumbar rolls are the result of 40 years of expertise in successfully treating neck and back problems.

This McKenzie night roll ties around the waist or can be pinned to the bed sheets to support the lower back. It helps to prevent strain that can be caused by poor sleeping positions.

 

SLEEP SUNDAY – LETS TALK ABOUT SLEEP AND FIBROMYALGIA IN PARTICULAR…

Another week has flown by and its time for my Sleep Sunday – Let’s Talk About Sleep post here on my Back Pain Blog. 

I am a member of a group called MyFibroTeam which I have to admit I do not sit and read their articles on a regular basis. However, I have never deleted any of their emails so I decided to sit and read through all the links they had sent me. I came across this article on Fibromyalgia and Insomnia which I thought was perfect for this weeks post after my article yesterday on fibro flare-ups.

MyFibroTeam is the social network for those living with fibromyalgia. You get the emotional support you need from others like you and gain practical advice and insights on managing treatment or therapies for fibromyalgia. MyFibroTeam is the only social network where you can truly connect, make real friendships, and share daily ups and downs in a judgement-free place. It is certainly somewhere I will now be visiting on a regular basis. Some members have given their personal tips for a good nights sleep. 

According to MyFibroTeam members report that chronic lack of sleep exacerbates pain, fatigue, and other symptoms, including head and neck pain: Tenderness and sensitivity around the head, neck and ears, sparks lots of conversation on MyFibroTeam.

“I can’t put any pressure at the base of my skull so I have to sleep on very flat pillows,” reported one member. Others use “pillows that fit the curve of their necks,” or “three under the knees and feet.” One woman said her bed feels like “laying on bricks. “I sleep better in my recliner,” she added.

Some MyFibroTeam members report excessive sweating during sleep. “Every night, my T-shirts are drenched,” wrote one member. Another uses “towels on top of the sheets.” One member said her night sweats became “less frequent” after buying “cooling pillows and a weightless blanket.” This is definitely something I will cover in another post.

Sleep apnea: Members who snore loudly or feel tired the next day have gotten tested for sleep apnea, a condition which causes breathing to stop and start throughout the night. “I was waking up every three hours and getting just 20 minutes of a deep sleep,” shared one member. “After being diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea, I now sleep eight hours a night. I feel great, have energy, and no pain, headache, or tiredness.” Your doctor can order a sleep study to diagnose the disorder.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): Members also report having this sleep disorder, which involves involuntary leg movements. “Muscle relaxers really helped my excruciating spasms, back pain, and insomnia,” shared one man. Another member said: “Flexeril (Cyclobenzaprine) helps a little but the heating pad is really my best friend.”

After reading the above symptoms which so many Fibro sufferers have to deal with its no surprise that many of us have difficulty in sleeping. Of course, I am sure most of us would have tried over the counter prescriptions like Nytol/ Herbal Sleep Supplements or melatonin and prescription medications like Amitriptyline and Nortriptyline which seem to work for a while then wear off.

The latest trend for helping you sleep iMedical marijuana : Cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD), used alone or in combination with other remedies (prescribed by their doctors), which MyFibroTeam says have helped many members manage fibro insomnia. “I’ve been using CBD oil for three months. The pain is much better and I’m finally sleeping at night,” said one woman. Others report that cannabis helps them fall asleep, but not stay asleep. “I chew one gummy and get about three hours of sleep, max,” explained another member.

I’d love to hear from any fibro sufferer if this really does help with their sleep. 

I am trying different pillow sprays at the moment and I am having great success with one in particular called Ease by Grass & Co which has orange, eucalyptus and ginger in it. I will write an article on the different pillow sprays next Sleep Sunday as I feel this could be the way forward for many of us without having to rely on medication to help us sleep.