Queen of Sleep

Living with narcolepsy: a personal journey

Posts Tagged ‘sleep hygiene

The myth of the eight-hour sleep

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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!

via The myth of the eight-hour sleep.

Written by Queen of Sleep

October 10, 2012 at 8:08 pm

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Foods that harm and foods that help Sleep

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Best and Worst Foods for Sleep – Health.com. Who knew cherries were good to eat before bed time?

Bowl of cherries

via Foods that harm and foods that help Sleep.

Written by Queen of Sleep

October 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Learning to Balance Routines and Spring Sunshine

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The hyacinth gives off a lovely stimulating scent - perfect to help you wake up or focus.

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).

Diet CokeIt 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.

Written by Queen of Sleep

May 25, 2011 at 10:57 am

Queen of Sleep is back from no net reception!

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How many sheep can you count?

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.

www.health.com


Written by Queen of Sleep

May 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Free Sleep guide and CD this weekend | Life and style | guardian.co.uk

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Free Sleep guide and CD this weekend | Life and style | guardian.co.uk.

Free Sleep Stuff this weekend on both Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th January!

The Good Sleep Handbook

The Good Sleep Handbook

Written by Queen of Sleep

January 28, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Feng Shui Tips to Turn Your Bedroom Into a Retreat – sleep – Health.com

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Feng Shui Tips to Turn Your Bedroom Into a Retreat – sleep – Health.com.

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!

Written by Queen of Sleep

January 8, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Sleep Stealing Foods

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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

 

Ageing and often Smelly Cheese

Ageing and often Smelly Cheese

milk chocolate

milk chocolate

 

 

Written by Queen of Sleep

December 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Posted in Lifestyle Tips

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Sleepy Cartoons/Comic: Skalman

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Skalman relaxing in the sun

Skalman relaxing in the sun

Skalman is a regular character in a Swedish cartoon called “Bamse” created by Rune Andreasson. It has been printed since 1973.  The main website is http://www.bamse.net until 13th of January 2011 and afterwards http://www.bamse.se

Bamse Comic

Bamse Comic

Unfortunately, the website does not translate to English but it might do next year when they move. Wikipedia has an entry in English on Bamse

 

The turtle Skalman carries a large yellow hat. He is a technological, logical and chemical genius. He “knows best” and has lots of useful things stuffed up his shell. His most precious invention/the one he is the most proud of is the infamous “food-and-sleep clock”. It rings several times a time reminding Skalman that it’s time to eat and when it’s time to sleep. It doesn’t matter what he is doing or if he is in the middle of an adventure, when it rings he obeys, he has to obey! The food and sleep moment often occurs at a time when it’s most inconvenient. He is the genius of the comic but when he is sleeping Bamse and friends have to do some problem solving themselves. When Skalman sleeps, nothing can wake him up. He hates the word: hurry (sound a bit like Queen of Sleep!)and he never, ever runs. All of these characteristics make Skalman the Sleepy Comic of the day!

Skalman

Skalman

 

 

Written by Queen of Sleep

December 26, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Posted in Sleepy Cartoons

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Sleeping with light on ‘can cause depression’ – Metro London 18/11/2010

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Metro writes today that ‘Sleeping with light on ‘can cause depression’. Research shows that people who like to sleep with the light on could develop depression. Scientists say that even a small amount of light causes changes in the brain that are linked to depressive disorders. Tracy Bedrosian from Ohio State University says that even dim lights is sufficient to cause depressive like behaviours in hamsters, which could explain the changes scientists noticed in their brains/hippocampus after 8 weeks of exposure.

‘The hippocampus plays a key role in depressive disorders, so finding changes there is significant.’

– Be happier and switch off those lights tonight! Sweet Dreams!

Written by Queen of Sleep

November 18, 2010 at 5:43 pm

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Lifestyle Update November 2010

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I have undergone a massive transformation since May this year. I am happy that I have managed with the help of family and friends to finally take a step up. Like my friend Katrina said to me 4 years ago when were working together at a holistic holiday centre in Greece: It’s your turn now! Time to step up!  It was not the right time for me then, I still had so much healing to do. Katrina was and still is very inspirational and brings light wherever she goes and if you have the time you can catch her next time she comes to your country, do! I think she is in Malibu at the moment, teaching Yoga and workshops on holistic living and transformation. Her website is called: Transform with Katrina. However, it was the right time for her and I wish her all the best success. At that point, 4 years ago, my body was completely exhausted. I was allergic to most foods. I was over sensitive to everything: I still, remember standing in the shower adjusting the temperature. This seemingly simple act would take me 10 minutes because it had to be just right otherwise it would be too cold or too hot. I dreamed every night, all night long. I would get 1-2 nights a month with delightful normal sleep. I had bad reactions and severe side effects to modafinil so I had to come off the medication. I gained and gained weight eating to stay awake, eating to comfort myself, eating because I was unhappy. I did not have energy nor motivation to exercise. I was too weak. The first couple of times I went to the gym during this period – I had to go home and sleep for the entire day. The extra energy – I did not have it! I was too busy during the night only to wake up with my body in pain. Some mornings, I could not even move. I don’t tend to get sleep paralysis often so this really bothered me. Amongst many other things…bla bla, just read earlier posts and you will get the picture.

The reason why I am bringing this up today, is that I think I have come halfway to being able to manage my symptoms. I have created a routine and a framework to help me manage better. I have a drink occasionally, eat cake and sometimes even skip a day at the gym  but as long as I keep to the framework I  am doing good. My body is stronger and I can focus for longer on tasks. As a bonus I have lost a stone since September! I will write more in detail about the methods I have used in future posts. I also  have to add that I have become a firm believer in that we are creators. We create the life we want to live. If you want to have a happy/fulfilling, successful life you have to put in the hours and work both on the inside as well as on the outside.