Posts Tagged ‘sleep hygiene’
The myth of the eight -hour sleep is a brilliant article on a history of human sleep patterns. In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks.
…references describe a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.
These references start to disappear during the late 17th Century. By the 1920s the idea of a first and second sleep had receded entirely from our social consciousness. Doctors urge parents to force their children out of the pattern. At this point, people have become increasingly time-conscious and sensitive to ideas of efficiency and are recommended to sleep in an 8 hour block.
Why were people encouraged to sleep in an essentially unnatural manner? At the turn of the century, with the help of photography, criminals could be more easily tracked and archived so perhaps it was to keep people off the streets and on the straight and narrow. Perhaps it was to ensure that the working masses could work long shifts at the factories?
I wake up every night and feel the need to get up and have a drink, read, go online etc. After reading this article, I am starting to understand that my night time habits are actually more natural than most of my friends.
Hurra for the bi-modal sleep pattern!
It makes me so happy to see sun (spring) arrive and with summer around the corner I feel “invincible”. The increased hours of sunshine makes a lot of difference to energy levels and to be perfectly honest I have been getting so carried away that some of my routines have slipped. I didn’t notice it at first but quite soon it became apparent that the quality of my sleep started to deteriorate. The last week has been really tough because I have only been able to “sleep” (to my knowledge) 1,5 hours maximum at a time and my body has starting to ache again. I started to overestimate how much energy I have available over X amount of time. I also have been drinking coffee, diet coke and eating sweets and cakes. I started to get so distracted by socialising that my gym routine fell away.
It’s pretty clear that once the (healthy) routines are tinkered with, it affects the quality of sleep at night and from there the snow ball just gets larger and larger…I am, however, not going back. Yesterday, I said goodbye to a friend at the train station and I realised straight away that I couldn’t be around crowds of people because the cataplexy electricity surged around badly in my head so that it felt as if I had mini explosions going off in my head every 2-3 minutes. I knew I shouldn’t have left the house yesterday (but I refuse to let it take over my life).
It makes me cross that I have to reduce my coffee consumption. It’s easy for me not to drink. I don’t smoke and I am not into drugs. I love coffee. Decaf is not at all an option, it tastes funny. I rather not drink coffee at all.
Right now, action and effort is required to get me back on track! Have realistic goals and start lightly to make lasting changes. I think that no coffee and no Diet coke (this is so bad for me! – I might even write a post on just HOW evil Diet Coke is – to get myself motivated) after 6pm, is a good start.
I have been on a writing course and a holiday in areas of England with no internet access at all. Who knew they existed in 2011?
It’s been lovely, restful and absolutely amazing and that is just an understatement. I have pushed my energy levels to the max but been with people I trust so I have felt absolutely safe. I wonder why it seems so difficult for some people to understand what living with narcolepsy is really like and so easy for some others. It is probably a combination of life experience and empathy skills that makes all the difference. Imagination and the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes/situation and really feel what it could be like to have/be “……….” The ability to feel empathy is only the beginning. Some need processing time or will try to help straight away. For example, I can cure you with XYZ. Maturity in facing difference can only come from knowing that 1. Never give advice without having been asked. 2. Listen (properly) 3. realise and accept that you and your history (point of view) is one of many and that your advice might not be right and yet that at the same there could be one of many right answers. People are quick to judge and quick to categorise in order to feel more secure. I have pushed many potential friends away by being too upfront and in your face with explaining EVERYTHING about narcolepsy. Perhaps it’s a stage you have to go through when dealing with and accepting a condition. I feel that I have now left it behind and my personality has started to come forward more.
There are stages in life that could affect the quality of sleep for women, for example pregnancy, here is a summary of these:
20’s and 30’s: Check your thyroid. My neurologist checked my thyroid as part of the Narcolepsy diagnosis. New moms can get postpartum thyroiditis, which 5 to 10 percent of women develop in the year following delivery. If you’re too jumpy to sleep or have extreme fatigue postpartum, see your doctor.
20’s and 30’s: Depression – feeling blue can cause sleep difficulties some antidepressants may also have sleep related side effects. Ask your doctor about your antidepressants!
40’s: Check when/how often you go to the toilet at night! It could be a urinary tract infection because .”Decreasing estrogen levels in the mid-40s leads to a thinning of the lining of the vagina and bladder, which makes perimenopausal women more prone to infection,” says Dr. Corio, author of The Change Before The Change. Talk to your doc if you notice a change in your bathroom habits.
40’s: Deep sleep decreases in your late 40’s making night-time awakenings more frequent. Improve your restorative sleep (called delta or slow-wave sleep) by exercise more. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity on most days, suggests Wilfred R. Pigeon, PhD, director of the Sleep and Neurophysiology Research Lab at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Your 50s+: Check the prescription drugs you may be taking for high blood pressure and cholesterol. They could affect your sleep. Check with your GP and if it is a potential problem ask if it might improve your sleep to take the pills in the morning instead of the evening.
Your 50s+: Check the prescription drugs: statins for cholesterol-control can deplete your body’s muscles of co-enzyme Q10, a natural protein required for normal functioning of muscle cells; the resulting muscle aches might make falling asleep a challenge. Ask your GP/Neurologist/Sleep Doctor if you might benefit from taking a co-Q10 supplement.
Your 50s+: Snoring and Sleep Apnea (OSA). There is a greater possibility to develop sleep apnea after the menopause when progesterone levels drop and it’s common to gain some weight.
Free Sleep Stuff this weekend on both Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th January!
In November, 2010, I wrote about how to Feng Shui your bedroom. Health.com has a small slide-show with nice images and some basic tips how to turn your bedroom into a haven.
I have written the following posts in the past on how to Feng Shui your bedroom: Feng Shui for Better Deeper Sleep! , Feng Shui – Is your Bed Positioned facing the right direction? and Last Feng Shui Post on the Bedroom – Promise!
Externally, one might think that people with narcolepsy sleep all the time, but it’s the quality of sleep that is important so these are the foods you should especially avoid: caffeine, aged cheese, spicy foods, processed or smoked meat, alcohol, milk chocolate and ginseng tea. Read More: 7 Sleep-Stealing Foods to Stay Away From