Friday, 25 July 2014

Essential Aids to Sleeping

As a follow up to My Essential Aids to Living I thought I'd do a post on the things I use to help me sleep. Don't worry I am still working on a post with more of my essential living aids but in coming up with that I realised I use a lot of things to help me sleep at night!

Eye Mask.

This is a fairly recent addition to my aids to sleeping but it has proved brilliant. Since changing my blind/curtain combination I'd been waking up early in the morning whenever it started getting light because of a gap around the bound that my curtains do not block. My eye mask solves that. It's comfortable to sleep in for the most part, although I do struggle with it on very hot summer nights. Mine came from a pound shop as I don't want to spend a fortune only to find I didn't get on with it. I'll be looking out to see if there's one in a different material in the future but for now the one suits me fine.

Multiple Pillows.

It sounds stupid but I sleep propped up on 3 pillows and a V-pillow most nights as I find this supports me well. If I have a bad cold that increases to 4 pillows plus the V-pillow. I also sleep with a pillow beside me to help prop me on my side and I have a cushion between my knees. It's taken me months, maybe years to learn that this is the best solution for me. However it does mean there isn't much space left in my little single bed!

Meditations/ Deep Breathing Exercises.

I have a number of meditation audios and apps designed to send you into a deep sleep. For the most part they work. However I do find it a struggle to listen to them; I have a pillow speaker but that isn't exactly comfy to lie on, and depending on where I lay my head the sound can be muffled and very quiet. So now I mostly use deep breathing exercises or follow one of the meditations I've used before if I can remember it easily. I find focusing on my breathing and the movement of doing so can send me off to sleep when I'm struggling to get my mind to switch off. And of course it's an option when the pain is bad since focusing on breathing moves my attention away from focusing on the pain.

Memory Foam Mattress.

I was sceptical this would help me sleep, especially in hot weather but I honestly don't know how I'd sleep on any other mattress now! I'd had a memory foam mattress topper prior to getting the mattress but when I needed a new bed it was decided I might as well get a memory foam mattress and I have to admit it was one of the best decisions ever made. Not only is it more comfortable but I find it more supportive and it seems to have reduced the amount of pain and stiffness I wake up with in the morning.

A Selection of Duvets and Blankets.

Currently I have a single light summer duvet on my bed because of the recent hot weather here in England. But I find I sometimes wake up frozen thanks to my poor temperature control, so I keep a selection of blankets on the floor next to the bed which I can grab in the night and put over the duvet if necessary. Layers like that mean I can easily remove them if I then become too hot as well.
During the winter months I have a thick double duvet on my bed. It may seem strange having a double duvet on a single bed but I've found it really beneficial because it drapes so much further down the side of the bed it protects me from any draughts. Again this reduces my pain levels and prevents me from getting any additional aches and pains from sleeping in draught!

No Screen Time Before Bed.

This is one tip which I don't always abide by but when I do I find it really helps me get a better night's sleep. Turning my phone onto silent and not using it or my tablet or laptop for an hour or so before I go to bed makes a big difference to the amount and quality of sleep I get. I particularly noticed this when I was quite ill and struggling to use my phone, and also fairly recently when we had no internet; no internet meant no social media and as a result I used my phone considerably less. I slept much better although it didn't make too much difference to my energy levels I felt better knowing I'd had more sleep.


A Cup of Water on the Bedside Table.

This has been routine for me since I was a kid, but I do find it helps me at night now. I often wake up with a very dry mouth and need a drink but if I get up and get one I struggle to go off to sleep again. Having a cup of water on my bedside table solves this, and also means I don't have to struggle down the stairs in the night. I just have to prop myself up in bed and have a drink, then I can happily doze off again.


I hope this post has been informative for all and helpful to some. I'm sure I've forgotten something off this post but having spent days trying to work out what it is I've decided to leave it as it is and if I think of something else I will be sure to post it later on!