Getting high-quality sleep isn’t optional when it comes to improving your overall well-being. Nonetheless, it can be challenging to get the benefits of restorative sleep while battling a chronic illness. Practicing great sleep hygiene is a way to obtain sleep that’s refreshing, while decreasing your chances of being woken up during the night. Try these adding these tips from Everyday Health to your bedtime routine to make it easier to get some shut-eye:
1. Stay consistent: Be sure to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including the weekends. Keeping your internal clock in sync is important to allow sleep to come at the right time.
2. Don’t eat heavy before bed: Your digestive system could use some help as gravity is working against it. A large dinner can be disruptive to your sleep due to problems such as acid reflux.
3. Be active: You don’t have to become a marathon runner, but be mindful of being more physical throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or stretch before bedtime. Exercise reduces stress and helps with inflammation and stiff joints.
4. Stay away from bright lights at night: Too much light, including blue light from your favorite electronic devices (TVs, smart phones, iPads and laptops), slows the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Plus, the light tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime.
5. Be mindful of your fluid intake: Drinking plenty of water is a healthy habit. However, bladder changes due to a condition may cause you to need to visit the bathroom more frequently. Time your intake so that it doesn’t affect you during the night.
6. Nap when necessary: Some conditions such as multiple sclerosis and narcolepsy may be greatly reducing your sleep at night. Try taking frequent, shorter naps throughout the day to help maintain a natural control over your fatigue.
Dealing with a chronic illness is difficult, especially when you are sleep-deprived, but don’t give up on trying to make improvements to your shut-eye. If you find that your sleep is still taking a hit, don’t hesitate to speak with your licensed physician about more tips or adjusting your medication.