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Guest Post: Insomnia – Time to Break the Cycle - By Alyssa Reid

Posted on by Kathryn O'Hara

You know it all too well…

It’s 2am in the morning, and the rest of the house is sound asleep.  But not you.  Again.  Another night of insomnia that is going to blend into the next day, and the next night and so on. It’s been endless.

And your chronic pain buddies? They’re on Facebook chatting with you as well, as they’re going through it, too.

If you have fibromyalgia – you’re told, ‘it’s all part of the illness’.  And you accept it.

By the time you’ve waved your family goodbye in the morning, you can hardly see straight, let alone function.

And then you start doing silly things like cutting yourself in the kitchen, tripping and falling, and your brain fog?  Heck, it’s so bad, you even start forgetting the names of your kids/husband/insert here.

It’s bad.  And the word exhaustion doesn’t even cover it!

And then you crawl into bed and crash out for an hour or two.  Your bed, is also your lounge, dining room, office…you know the score.

Sound familiar?

Been there.  Done that.  Got the T-Shirt.

Oh, how I know this scenario all too well.  And it sucks!  But after 8 years of going through practically every night like this, (not to mention every sleep med available), I finally DIDN’T see the light of day.  So, I thought I would share with you what I have done that turned my nights (and life) around.

1. Medication

My own personal experience is that the medication that originally had knocked me out (and down, including on the floor whilst on the toilet and falling asleep and falling to the floor) actually started having the opposite effect.  Except I didn’t know it!  Simply because it knocked me out to begin with on just 1 pill – and by the time I was doing my own rendition of Sleepless in Scotland, and on the max dose, it simply never crossed my mind as being the culprit.  It was. It was also the cause of my seizures and blackouts. (Of which I am constantly trying to spread the word about this.  For more information, please see my blog about this here.)

What to Do:

Check your medication’s side effects – just because you were originally flat out on it, doesn’t mean that things can change.  Opiates can have this effect as can anti-depressants.

2. The Internet

Yep.  The internet is your friend, especially when you’re housebound.  It can be your only connection to the outside world.  And when everyone else has fallen asleep, and you’re still up, let’s face it – it can be really lonely!  Not to mention boring!

There are many issues with being on the internet or even playing solitaire or a video game at night.

  1. Mental stimulation
  2. Brightness from the screen
  3. EMF rays (electromagnetic frequencies) that affect your brain

What to Do:

The obvious! Switch off!  And switch off an hour before your bedtime, allowing yourself to properly wind down.

That’s right!  It’s time to set a bedtime for yourself.  Try setting an alarm 30 minutes before your hour of being internet free is to start, as a ‘prewarning’ alarm.

Set another alarm around 10 minutes (or whatever suits) before it’s bedtime, to do things like brush your teeth, or other rituals, so that when the final alarm goes, you’ve bid your farewells to your Facebook and Snapchat buddies and switch off for the night. 

Try reading a book!  In fact, it has been scientifically proven that just 6 minutes of reading a book can help you to sleep.

3.  Discomfort in Bed

Sometimes we become so used to our mattress and pillows, that we actually don’t realise that what was once comfortable is actually no longer the case.  Have you ever stayed over at a hotel or at a friend’s place and found their beds to be super comfy?  And only then realise, that yours actually isn’t?

Did you know that for optimal comfort you should be changing your mattress every 7 years?  And that amount of time is for people who are only using their beds at night! So. using it all day and night, goes without saying that your mattress should be replaced every 3.5 years – or even less, depending how much time you’re staying in bed!

To top it off, your uncomfortable/old mattress will only be contributing to your pain and stiffness, that’s a given!

What to Do:

Let’s face it.  Mattresses aren’t cheap – at least quality mattresses aren’t!  And trying one out in a shop for 5 minutes, really doesn’t provide what your sleeping and comfort experience is going to be like on it.

Did you know that N:Rem makes mattresses that are actually designed for people struggling with chronic pain?  Where you can actually easily switch around the different tablets of foam based on their firmness, allowing you to design your ‘perfect mattress’?  (And so, can your bed buddy, so they/you don’t have to compromise in finding a mattress that works for one, but not the other).

A mattress is most definitely an investment – an investment in your sleep and in your pain.  However, N:Rem have a fantastic £1 a day plan – no matter what size mattress!  Heck, that’s the cost practically of a large pizza from a pizza delivery place…

And, you can try it out for 100 days, and if you’re unhappy with it for any reason, they will come and pick it back up - quibble free.

In fact, your first 30 days are free, too.  As is delivery.  In other words, it’s really a no-brainer!

I know for myself and my hubby, that the N:Rem mattress has been truly life changing.  Plus I get the softness option for my hips and lower back and my hubby has the firm option.  In fact, I can’t recommend this mattress enough!


There really are things that you can do in order to improve your sleep – and ultimately improve your health – and your life.  Hopefully these 3 ideas can help make a difference for you.

The good sleep manual

A Guide to a better night's sleep for Chronic Pain Suffers

We are proud to launch our very first E-book, which will be a collection of useful tips to help Chronic Pain sufferers sleep better, as pain and sleep unfortunately often constitute a vicious cycle.

This is an issue we are hoping to solve, through some easy steps to follow around health, lifestyle and diet, to ease you into a better night’s sleep.

We have been fortunate enough to get some valuable help from 2 contributors who suffer themselves from Chronic Pain and have been keen to share their tips and personal journey towards a comfortable and refreshing night’s sleep.



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