Health and Disability · Invisible illnesses

Managing sleep Part 1

I’ve had trouble sleeping since I fist started to suffer from ME and it got worse along with my other symptoms when my conditions deteriorated over the last few years. I was lucky enough to see a sleep specialist at my Chronic Fatigue clinic, and working with her and the occupational therapist at the clinic I managed to go from taking about 2 hours to get to sleep and waking up at least 3 times a night, to getting to sleep in about 20 mins and not waking up at all. This was an amazing improvement and obviously took time, but the last 3 months my sleep has gone backwards. I’m taking about an hour to get to sleep and waking up at least once during the night. Sometimes I’m waking up for the toilet, and other times it’s due to pain, but the majority of the time I have no idea why I’m waking up! Since I’ve moved house it’s got even worse with me only getting about 4/5 hours a night so I’m barely functioning at the minute.

I’ve been ridiculously stressed over the past few months due to moving house, a legal issue, trying to develop my business and keep on top of everything that needs to be done to just be an adult, so this has probably been adding to my sleep problems, so I’m hoping it all works itself out when I’ve calmed down, but in the meantime  I’ve been trying some of the tips given to me by my specialists so I’ll share them and what works.

Usual things that I still do: – There are a couple of things that I’ve been doing for years which just seem to work for me

  • Having nice bedding
  • A relaxing bedroom, little clutter and nice pictures
  • Writing at least 3 things that have made me happy that day in my “Happy Book” makes me focus on the good things in my life and go to sleep remembering them.

Sunday – Friday – I moved into my new house on Sunday and thought I might sleep badly the first few nights until I got used to my bed facing the wrong way and the new noises etc so I decided to go back to my sleep routine that had been working for over a year.

  • Go to bed about 8pm
  • No TV or screens for at least an hour before bedtime
  • Reading for about an hour before turning off the lights to go to sleep
  • Listening to music after turning the lights off to stop me thinking and worrying

This didn’t work at all. It was taking me about 2/3 hours to fall asleep, I was waking up multiple times in the night and feeling worse and worse as the days went on.

Friday – Monday – I’d got into the habit of watching Netflix in bed and going to bed about 6pm as I was so tired and sore, then watching TV in bed for a couple of hours before going to sleep, so when I got broadband turned on at my new home I decided to try this again.

  • Go to bed when I get too tired to stay up any longer, usually between 6 and 7pm
  • Watch Netflix for a couple of hours
  • Turn off the lights after an hour and fall asleep with the TV on

This hasn’t faired much better. I’m still only getting about 5 hours sleep a night, but only waking up once or twice which is an improvement!

Monday – Friday – my new house is next to a walkway and my bedroom window looks over it with a streetlight right outside. My bedroom being a bit light has never really bothered me, but I’ve bought some lovely new curtains which I’ve put up today and they do block out the light much better than the ones that were up already. I’ve also moved a suitcase from under my bed which was pushing up the mattress a bit. Maybe these things will help?

I’ll check in again at the weekend

Vic xx

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