Most, if not all Fibro-mites have problems with sleep. Either we do not sleep enough or our physical bodies sleep, but our minds do not. Despite knowing this and experiencing sleep problems at times, i do on the whole sleep and sleep well, now. So, today I thought i would share some of my ideas on sleep and how to sleep better.
One of the first symptoms that fibro-mites end up going to the doctors with is exhaustion, exhaustion that is unexplainable. They will tell the doctor that they go bed and they appear to sleep, but their brains feel like they have been awake all night. I was having this symptom for several years, on and off, before i was finally diagnosed. We need to understand that sleep is vital to our well-being and without is our bodies begin, very quickly, to malfunction, causing wide-spread pain and fatigue throughout the body. At first i put the exhaustion down to work. I worked shifts, which varied from week to week and even day-to-day. (However…)
The one question the doctor would ask, was; ‘did i nap or sleep during the day?’ And the answer was – sometimes! He then proceeded to tell me to stop napping and/or sleeping during the day. This was the worse advice i could have been given, but i tried my best to comply, but by this stage i would find myself falling asleep on the bus home from work and was grateful for the noise of other passengers alighting at the other end, that woke me. I would sit down at home to do something or other and then wake up several hours later not realising i had fallen asleep. Sleep became the problem. Getting enough of the right kind of sleep and not sleeping when i really needed to be awake.
Around the same time as i had to give up work due to health reasons, i also spent a year in bed and slept whenever i needed to, which was in short bursts several times over the 24 hour day. My body no longer respected night and day, it needed sleep when it needed it and took it. Around this time the first helpful things ever said to me by a doctor about sleep and in particular night-time sleep was – that if i was supposed to be asleep i should act like i was, even if i wasn’t. I was to leave the lights off, the technology off, my eyes closed and i was to remain is a sleeping position in bed. This was the first step to re-training my body that there was a time for sleep and after a while it worked.
However or maybe i should say – HOW-EV—ER the doctors that tell you not to nap or sleep during the day are getting it wrong.
When i began to mindfully listen to my body, i began to realise that it was telling me something very important. It was telling me when it was tired, when it was hungry, thirsty and when it was overwhelmed. These days i find that i nap almost every day. Some times i nap two or three times in a day, but once is norm. Some times i sleep for as little as 30 minutes, but i have slept up to 3 hours. There are times when i wake up, eat breakfast, feed the cat, take pills, have a bathroom visit and go back to sleep for an hour. And i sleep better at night for doing so. I am normally asleep between 10-11pm and awake between 6-8am the following morning and i feel like i have been asleep too.
There are exceptions to the rule; there are nights where sleep eludes me and mornings when i wake up feeling like i have been fighting monsters all night.
If you are up for a Challenge you might like to join in with Moongazer, with a Sleep challenge, to help you get started.
NB: More about this to come.