Like most people with Ehlers Danlos syndrome, I have sleep problems. I consulted a specialist in the field, and carried out a complete examination of sleep (polysomnography). I came out with a light treatment but mostly a series of tips that work very well. It’s actually been several months now that I changed my routine and I feel it helps me. So today I share with you 7 tips for better nights.
One size doesn’t fit all
We are not all equal when it comes to sleep Sleep is unique to everyone. It can be light or rather heavy depending on the individual. There are “early-nights” and “late-nights”. In addition, the sleep time required is not the same for everyone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, an adult needs to sleep an average of 7 to 9 hours a night. However, 6 hours may be enough for some while others need at least 11 hours of sleep. Stop feeling guilty! Find your rhythm. If you are fit after only 6 hours of sleep, do not change anything. On the other hand, if you are exhausted despite 8 hours of rest, you may have to change the system. Stop comparing yourself to others! When your activity tracker shows you that you are not sleeping enough, it also annoys you? Mine reminded me all day with little messages like “You have slept little tonight, you must be tired” LOL and you want to answer “No you think I slept 3 hours a night on Last 3 weeks, I look like a raccoon, and if I really could just hibernate I’ll do it. ” Following your sleep is good but not when it becomes stressful! Me time to find what was good for me I stopped wearing my watch connected at night. So more data and more notifications. When you have found the sleep time that is right for you, postpone it once you have it adjusted to what you NEED.
One important tip: to estimate the amount of sleep you need, you can analyze your sleep time during your second week of vacation (the first does not count, you only fill the lack of sleep accumulated).
Create a favorable environment
An enabling environment is crucial for sleeping peacefully. Remember to ventilate the room each day to purify the air. Also, avoid high temperatures that can disturb your sleep. I invested in an indoor air quality sensor that I placed strategically in my room. It measures the amount of CO2, sound level, temperature and humidity and warns me when I need to make adjustments. Small flat, count a departure budget of a hundred euros if you want to make the investment.
Sport is good for sleep. But still it is necessary to indulge at the right moment. Any activity (whether physical or even involving reflection), raises the temperature of the body and promotes the secretion of adrenaline. The heart rate is accelerated and you are more energetic. It is better not to spend before sleeping. Prefer sports activities such as foot races in the morning or at noon and activities quieter at night.
Make a light, alcohol-free meal early in the evening
Know that alcohol is not the ally of sleep. Conversely, it can seriously alter it. At first you have the impression of falling asleep more easily but it will considerably disrupt the rest of the night with awakenings at night for example. In the same way, if it is important to dine to give the body the strength it needs to keep up all night, it is advisable to eat light. Digestion greatly impacts your body. It assumes energy to be provided by the body that can interfere with falling asleep. My dysautonomia accentuates both phenomena and finally it’s good because I feel it very clearly and suddenly I pay more attention. On the other hand, if you do not have this kind of problem (which is good news) you are not necessarily aware of the correlation between alcohol, too rich a meal and troubled sleep.
Return to childhood with a bedtime ritual
Being small, we all had a bedtime ritual. There is a good reason for that. Repeated little habits send a signal to your brain and put it in condition for the night. Once adults, this ritual is forgotten. Well, set it up. Of course, it is not a question of asking your spouse to read you a story (unless you wish, I do not judge …). As for me, every night, I put in a cup the medicine that I must take the next morning. I also prepare my breakfast in advance. I love porridge, so I soak oatmeal all night to make it creamier and easier to cook. Then I make myself an herbal tea and read a book. Think about it. For example, you could choose your outfit for the upcoming work day.
Do not stay in bed if you’re not sleeping
I mean apart if you have a good reason for it…
Incorporate the fact that your bed is made to sleep and not to play Candycrush. It is not good either to observe the ceiling saying “I can not sleep, I will be exhausted tomorrow” and jealous of his spouse who sleeps deeply. If you can not sleep, it is better to get up and indulge in a relaxing activity and especially not too stimulating cognitively. Personally, I draw Mandalas. This is a practice that is similar to me for mediation. Moreover, there are many applications dedicated to meditation. I also do “Arm knitting”. It is soothing and especially repetitive so hypnotic limit. In addition I have an unlimited supply of Christmas gifts at a lower cost;)
Beware of the screens
Screens placed at a good distance (such as television) are not harmful to sleep. However, it is strongly discouraged to use a tablet or mobile phone in the evening. These screens are close to your eyes and this is why they are problematic. The intense light stimulates your brain and prevents it from going into “off” mode. For Iphone addicts, however, the Night Shift option can be enabled to dim the power of the lights. To do this go to Settings> Brightness and display> Night shift and then program the time and brightness. These tips are valid for everyone in general, but if you think you have a sleep disorder (apnea, sleepwalking, bruxism …), do talk to your GP who will refer you to a specialist some sleep.
To sum up
To have a better sleep who have to :
- Listen to your body
- Create a good environment
- Move more
- Not eat and drink too much at night
- Set up a routine
- Not stay in bed if you are not sleeping
- Limit the screens in the evening