Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bed Time Routine – Am I 3?

We all know that going to bed at the same time each night is important.  What we do leading up to that time is just as important to a good night’s rest.  When you’re little, a bed time routine consists of a bath, jammies, reading, singing, praying and getting tucked in for lights out!  We can use that advice even as adults to help us create a bed time routine that eases us into slumber.

Take a Bath – about 90 minutes before bed time take a hot bath that will raise your body temp.  It’s the drop in temperature after that may make you sleepy!  Soak for 20-30 minutes.  The more drastic the drop in body temperature the more it will make you sleepy.  A shower can work also, but is not as effective, or as relaxing.

Jammies – dress for comfort.  Light loose clothing for most, but wear what you need to keep you warm, but not too warm.  I LOVE my fuzzy socks, but have to take them off for sleep.

Reading – TV and computers are No-No’s before bed (yeah, I see a lot of you online late at night, I am SO guilty of not following this advice!)  But some experts say that light easy reading can help your brain ease out of the day.  Turning off anything that stimulates your brain, and escaping to another world in a good novel, especially when done regularly, will signal sleep to your brain.  Magazines are great too!

Singing – yeah, I can’t sing.  But soft music does help some people get to sleep.  Also think about sound machines or white noise machines.  One of my wise Fibro friend recommends Binaural beats, they may be effective in helping get you to sleep.  Free apps out there for your phones to give it a try.

Praying – prayer at the end of the day is important to me.  I pray all during the day, but night time is when I can just let it all out with God.  Journal if that helps you.  I call it mind dumping.  Just get everything out of your brain so you can rest.  Make a list of things you need to get done the next day, talk with God about anything that is bothering you and pray for rest, restoration, and peace.  My older kids find it comforting to keep a few comforting Bible verses by their beds to meditate on.

Tucked in – your bed should be clean, cozy and comfortable.  Soft sheets, blankets that keep your body temperature regular.  Satin pillow cases keep your head from getting too hot (and bonus ladies, they are great for your hair and skin and don’t leave creases on your face!)  Check these out from SewCalledLife, an Etsy shop.  Make sure you have a good quality mattress that is comfy for you.  Body pillows are great for extra support.  I think of my bed as a little nest for me.

Lights out!  Ideally there should be NO light in a room you are sleeping in.  Darkness helps our bodies produce Melatonin, the hormone that helps us get sleepy.  No TV (guilty!) even the light from clocks should be covered, and unlike 3 year olds, we should NOT have a night light (guilty!!)

Oh and one more tip, Exercise!  When I take my 3 year old to the park, I just KNOW he’s going to bed easier that night.  When you exercise during the day your body is more ready for sleep that night.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Napping - yes or no?

I have never liked naps.  I hate how I feel when I wake up from an afternoon nap, I usually will get a headache and feel groggy for a long time (my husband claims I get grouchy, but that’s just silly right?).  Then I have trouble getting to sleep that night.  Which makes me tired the next day, and I think about taking a nap again.  Not a good cycle for me.  While naps can be really good for healthy adults, those with sleep problems need to think seriously about how they nap.

When I was going through the process of figuring out what was wrong with me, I saw a Rheumatologist.  She was very matter of fact, told me not to let fibromyalgia ruin my life.  We talked briefly about my sleep habits and she gave me some advice.  Don’t nap.  Go to bed early and at the same time each night, wake up at the same time each morning.  And don’t go back to bed after you’ve been up.  When I follow that advice I have more energy, my mind is clearer and I feel better.  I feel more normal.  However, it is VERY tempting after I get up at 7am to get kids off to school to hop back in my warm bed for a couple more hours of sleep.  Mostly because I’ve stayed up too late the night before.  But after that morning nap it takes me even more time to feel awake, and I’m usually in more pain (you know, the “I’ve been hit by a truck” kind of pain when you first wake up)  Why would I want to go through that twice a day instead of just once?  So the first step for me in creating a healthy sleep routine is to not nap.

If you ARE going to nap, here are some healthy tips to do it right from Mayo Clinic 

  •     Keep naps short. Aim to nap for only 10 to 30 minutes. The longer you nap, the more likely you are to feel groggy afterward.
  •     Take naps in the afternoon. The best time for a nap is usually midafternoon, around 2 or 3 p.m. This is the time of day when you might experience post-lunch sleepiness or a lower level of alertness. In addition, naps taken during this time are less likely to interfere with nighttime sleep. Keep in mind, however, that individual factors — such as your need for sleep and your sleeping schedule — also can play a role in determining the best time of day to nap.
  •     Create a restful environment. Nap in a quiet, dark place with a comfortable room temperature and few distractions.
  •  After napping, be sure to give yourself time to wake up before resuming activities — particularly those that require a quick or sharp response.

It’s up to you to figure out what works best for your sleep routine.  Naps are worth evaluating to see if you can improve your sleep at night.  You and your Dr. know how your body works, everyone is different.  But is what you are currently doing really working for you?  Or does something need to change?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Photo Friday!!

You are welcome to download and use this photo with my watermark.  Share it on Facebook, Pinterest, or use it as a screensaver. (photos are not to be sold, or used for advertising, please link back to my shop when using photos online)  If you would like to purchase a print without the watermark, visit my shop on Etsy.  Discount prices for Friday Photos!

Keep your minds steadfast!  Trust in the Lord and be at peace!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Step Back

Hello everyone!  First of all, I am sorry for being away so long!  It was not my intention to abandon blogging.  After vacation I felt really wonderful, so good in fact I began to wonder if I had been healed.  Slowly my symptoms began to return as I took some time to get back into the swing of things at home, and then was uninspired to write about anything for a while.  I think I needed some time away.  Some time to step back a bit and really just live with fibro and see how things were working.  Just recently some ideas have surfaced and I’m feeling the tug to blog again.

So what’s new with me?  I’ve continued to eat clean (mostly) and even did another 10 day cleanse, which was harder this time, but I still felt just as great after.  I’m exercising a few times a week.  I’m taking my supplements.  Added one more to the 5 I was taking and have a few more I’m going to be starting asap.  After much prayer and talking things out I decided to go off of the one prescription medication I was taking.  It was a difficult transition that I wasn’t expecting, but glad that I did it.  I certainly don’t look down on anyone who takes medication for any reason, but for me, at THIS point in my life, I want to focus on healing my body, and taking a medication that was just treating a symptom wasn’t helping me to heal.  I didn’t think the medication was doing anything for me anyway, turns out, it was!  My plan is to replace the anti-inflammatory prescription with herbal supplements instead.  I’m praying it will help me.  My worst inflammation is in the morning when I first wake up.  And it’s been rough lately, I'm sure the cooler weather doesn't help, even though here in AZ it's not very chilly.  I’ve also been a little overcommitted lately, and busy with other projects, so fatigue is more than usual.  Need to get back to a more relaxed lifestyle.

Here’s the plan.  I’ve decided to take the month of December and focus on sleep.  We all struggle with it don’t we?  Sleep is a huge piece of the fibromyalgia puzzle we live, and there ARE things we can do to help us get better sleep!  So let’s do them!  You in?  We’ll be looking at bedtime habits, relaxation techniques, sleep environment, and lots more!  Why not use every tool at our disposal to get a better night’s sleep and improve our symptoms.

By the end of December we’ll all be more rested and recharged, able to fight on in the new year!