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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Insomnia, your bed partner.

According to WebMD the definition for Insomnia:

is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. People with insomnia have one or more of the following symptoms:
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Feeling tired upon waking
Does any of that sound familiar?  HHHMMM.   I vote that all of them are part of my life on a regular basis.  Many people say they have trouble sleeping, but seriously, do they have our trouble sleeping, I highly doubt it.  
Were you aware that there are two types of Insomnia as well, well might as well throw that at you too, here it is right from WebMD:

  • Primary insomnia: Primary insomnia means that a person is having sleep problems that are not directly associated with any other health condition or problem.
  • Secondary insomnia: Secondary insomnia means that a person is having sleep problems because of something else, such as a health condition (like asthma,depressionarthritiscancer, or heartburn); pain; medication they are taking; or a substance they are using (like alcohol).
Ok, so lets see now, we have decided that we definitely have insomnia, no doubt, It is 4 am and I am blogging, lol.  Which one do I have, primary or secondary.  I think I am going to vote for Secondary because I believe it is somehow associated with this wonderful thing we call Fibromyalgia, but of course, it could simply be the pain, or the depression, maybe the IBS, oh who knows, all I know is I can't sleep.  So what the heck can fix it.  Well wait, surprisingly there is more options of what type of Insomnia that you might have, see nothing can ever be easy, but then again, if it was, the doctors would not be making the big bucks from us!  

Now, Do you have acute or chronic Insomnia?  Well lets refer back to good old WebMD and see if we can figure it out:

Causes of acute insomnia can include:
  • Significant life stress (job loss or change, death of a loved one, divorce, moving).
  • Illness.
  • Emotional or physical discomfort.
  • Environmental factors like noise, light, or extreme temperatures (hot or cold) that interfere with sleep.
  • Some medications (for example those used to treat colds, allergies, depression,high blood pressure, and asthma) may interfere with sleep.
  • Interferences in normal sleep schedule (jet lag or switching from a day to night shift, for example).
Causes of chronic insomnia include:
  • Depression and/or anxiety.
  • Chronic stress.
  • Pain or discomfort at night.
DING DING DING!!!!!  I think this one was easy and we definitely have a winner, Chronic Chronic and Chronic.  Even though you would never believe any of us have any stress at all, Why would we be stressed according to everyone, we do nothing and just sorta lay around all day right?  Depression that is simply a given and pain, well Heck ya we got the pain covered, enough for a lifetime in a couple of days.    
So what can we do to help us get some sleep, Well I can guarantee one of the major answers will be to limit your stress, but I think I am going to go back to the trained professionals to see what they say.

Ok, here is the answers that WebMD. believes will help:

Good sleep habits, also called sleep hygiene, can help you get a good night's sleep and beat insomnia. Here are some tips:
  • Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Try not to take naps during the day because naps may make you less sleepy at night.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can keep you from falling asleep. Alcohol can cause waking in the night and interferes with sleep quality.
  • Get regular exercise. Try not to exercise close to bedtime because it may stimulate you and make it hard to fall asleep. Experts suggest not exercising for at least three to four hours before the time you go to sleep.
  • Don't eat a heavy meal late in the day. A light snack before bedtime, however, may help you sleep.
  • Make your bedroom comfortable. Be sure that it is dark, quiet, and not too warm or too cold. If light is a problem, try a sleeping mask. If noise is a problem, try earplugs, a fan, or a "white noise" machine to cover up the sounds.
  • Follow a routine to help you relax before sleep. Read a book, listen to music, or take a bath.
  • Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or sex.
  • If you can't fall asleep and don't feel drowsy, get up and read or do something that is not overly stimulating until you feel sleepy.
  • If you find yourself lying awake worrying about things, try making a to-do list before you go to bed. This may help you to not focus on those worries overnight.

Ok,  I do believe this for the average person having issues will be a great resource.  I have a few issues as a Fibro-Chick that makes me hesitant.  First of all, the whole avoiding your bed for anything but sleep and sex, again this is coming from someone that does not have chronic pain issues.  We simply need to be in our comfy zone and for many of us, that is our bed.  If you are not tired, you need to get up and read or something else not stimulating.  Well, I take a massive amount of meds at bedtime, getting up and walking the 25 steps to the bathroom can be dangerous, let alone anything else until I get sleepy.  Regular exercise, well I am sure we all try that but again that totally depends on the day, pain level and mobility level.  I don't usually nap during the day so I think I will be ok with that one.  I do highly recommend the routine, I do try and follow a routine, even though it does not always work for me, I have found that for some it really does.  A to do list, that goes back to my previous post.  I always, always, always have a paper and pencil near me and I write a lot of stuff down.  It helps me remember stuff and vent when I am frustrated.  Also use places like blogs, twitter and facebook to locate people that are similar to you and you can always catch up with them and vent or chat, have a laugh, it really does help.  I also found a web forum called Chronic Babes (there is a link on the right  side of my page) where you can join in with people with similar interests and backgrounds as well as many different chronic disease, not just Fibro.  They also have open on line chats encompassing many different subjects.  It is a great place to socialize and find support. Maybe some of this will help you find sleep.  Remember if you consistently find yourself not getting sleep or being awake when you should not be, Talk to the doctor.  Be very careful with yourself.  Don't let it wear you down or put you in a flare.  Medicines can keep you awake, things you eat and drink can keep you awake, even what you watch on TV or do before bed can make it hard to sleep.  Be kind to yourself.  If you need help, ask for it.  You are the only person that knows how you feel and you are your own biggest advocate.  I am not a doctor, but I am living it everyday.  I refuse to give in and I want you to fight with me.  Stand tall, even if it is only for a few minutes.  It is those few minutes that will make the difference.  I truly believe that in this fight against all that makes fibro so hard to live with, if we can just help each other and get info out there, we can make a difference.  My motto is Gentle Hugs and a Strong Voice......lets keep it going.

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