Need Sleep? Try These Tips
I’ve had problems with insomnia since I was 13 years old. I used to stay up all night and fight to stay awake at school but back then I never knew things were medical problems. I used to think my chronic pain, tummy troubles, insomnia, flu more often than other kids was just part of life and growing older. When I was 19 my doctor finally told me I suffer from really bad insomnia (that’s also when was diagnosed with severe acid reflux, arthritis, spinal stenosis, IBS-D & chronic pain after years of suffering). But this is about insomnia so I will stay on that subject.
I used to work 12-16 hour days, 7 days a week in my healthier days so I never saw much sleep. I would average maybe 30min to 4 hours max. Lately though my CFS has come back strong and helps me sleep. I tried sleep meds and high doses but they have side effects. They didn’t help at all and melatonin doesn’t do anything for me
I’ve tried everything the doctors over the years have recommended and from home remedies to Internet tips or tips from other spoonies. I only found a few things that will help me a little bit with insomnia. Each body and person is different so this is just what helps me and not what was doctor recommended.
First you want to cut out all caffeine and soda. If you are a Spoonie you probably already do this and drink kombucha instead of coke. You may even be drinking a cup of tea or coffee at night before bed and forget it has caffeine in it so use decaf instead at night. Make sure you put all your technology out of reach so you won’t be tempted to get on your phone and check your texts, Instagram, Facebook…etc all night. Make sure you have all light sources dimmed (I close curtains tight and have only one small light blue light coming from my alarm clock) or have it pitch black.
These are a list of things that helped me some:
1) Flexeril – Muscle Relaxers
There are many different types of muscle relaxer meant to help different issues so you want to find the right one that works for you. I tried many and some even made me more alert and couldn’t sleep one wink so be careful. I think Bacofen made me think all night. Flexeril is one that seems to relax me and you want a decent size dose so you can feel your limbs getting weak and you can barely move. Drink plenty of water with it. You may be groggy in the morning. It only helped me for a short time. Don’t keep graduating to a higher dose, like pain meds it’s only going to work for so long then you need a higher dose when you are tolerant. So I recommend taking the best dose that helps then after a few weeks cut down to half of a pill then down to nothing for weeks then start back up slowly and back to one pill a night. This gives the brain a chance to reset and you won’t become too tolerant.
2) Epsom Bath
Highly recommended: One of my favorite things to do. This bath will not only detox you but also relax your muscles and body with all that magnesium. It’s very calming. Or try a bath bomb or adding ingredients to your bath, you can find tips all over the Internet. Make sure your water is nice and warm, the heat will also help you become sleepy and relaxed. With my lupus heat makes me very sleepy so it may not help some. I get even more fatigued after this bath. I put on my most cozy PJs and get in my flannel sheets in my bed.
3) Flannel Sheets
I find these to be very soft and comfortable. There are also very soft sheets in the summer like Egyptian cotton. With us being so sensitive to touch sometimes my older sheets would crease up and it would be painful on my body and nerve endings. I have flannels on 365 with my fleece pajamas. Make sure you have a good pillow that supports your head/neck/back. Have a comfortable mattress and comforter. If you are not comfortable then you have to fix things in your room. Maybe it’s too cold, close the window, turn on a ceiling fan, have A/C or heater on..etc. being comfortable can help a lot. I used to not care but now I can’t live without these certain items.
4) Marijuana Honey Sticks
I use my MMJ edibles like chocolate but the one that helps with sleep is the MMJ honey sticks. They are full of CBD (mine have some THC) & can help with pain, anxiety and sleep. I stir mine into my hot decaf tea and drink it right before bed. It’s very relaxing.
5) Heating Blanket or Pad
Heat is very helpful with many things for a Spoonie but try it for sleep. I find some of my best rest comes when I have my heating bed pad turned up high and my bed is toasty warm. Seems to help get more REM sleep.
6) Don’t take pain meds before bed
I found out that taking my Norco or morphine will keep me up all night with no sleep. Some people crash and sleep on pain pills but others get hyper on pain pills or non-drowsy. So one night try not taking pain pill before bed, it made a huge difference for me.
For me my chronic fatigue seems to come and go. It fights with my insomnia. But when my CFS is worse I sleep good and I don’t toss and turn as much or stare at the ceiling all night, I actually get 6-8 hours of sleep. If you have CFS sometimes just let it do its thing, you don’t need medication.
This medication is like a tranquilizer and can put you out fast if you take too much! I was given a higher dose and found out the hard way not to take too much. I was told to take 1/3 of a pill before bed but I accidentally ate either 1 whole pill or 1 1/2 pills. These pills are huge like horse pills that can be broken into 3rds. I took too much and literally couldn’t move my arms or legs and couldn’t even change the channel on TV. I passed out where I sat and woke up the next day 10 hours later very groggy and still in my clothes with the TV on. So be careful and make sure you get a high enough dose. You don’t ever want any med or pain med to drown out all pain and to feel a high you just want to take the edge off.
This didn’t do much for me but I know many who take it and it helps them sleep better. Don’t take too much of this, consult your doctor first on which does is best for you.
Turn on some relaxing music before bed. Even songs you normally wouldn’t listen to just to relax.
I like to use a decaf tea and there are many for sleep or health problems. Black licorice will help your gut but when you add a mmj honey stick you are helping get some sleep too. Find your favorite kind of tea, there are white tea, black tea, green tea….all have different health benefits. Get what is best for your body and what you need it for. Dr Oz recommends a cool glass of white tea with unsweetened pineapple juice to have daily instead of coffee for hydration. At night try a calming tea. I only drink Water, kombucha, tea, almond milk, cashew milk and simply juices and I don’t miss coke or red bull anymore.
I hope these tips may help some of you get some much needed sleep. I’m sure I had a lot of tips but I forgot them all as I write this. Have a better day Spoonie family.