Getting to sleep – and staying asleep, when you are struggling with conditions such as fibromyalgia, CFS, arthritis and other conditions with chronic pain can be a struggle. Not only is sleep an imperative part of the healing process – but when we are not getting a restful sleep it actually affects our mood, increases pain and of course, brain fog and concentration. Therefore, it is vital to do all you can in regards to setting yourself up for a great night’s sleep. Here’s 5 tips to help!
1. Switch Off!
Let’s face it, many of us are in constant contact with our laptops, tablets and smartphones. Not only do they provide us with the opportunity to be in contact with the outer world -but they also provide us with a much needed distraction when we are struggling with pain. However…they are keeping are brains active – at a time when we should be doing the exact opposite!
Try shutting down online activities such as Facebook, games, Snapchat and other interactive things. Reading a book however, can actually help you to fall asleep even faster. In fact, just 6 minutes of reading before sleep can reduce stress and helps you to relax. Or, try listening to a sleep meditation loop on YouTube.
2. Drink Something Warm & Soothing
There’s a variety of lovely herbal teas available on the market that can help you relax with ingredients such as valerian and hops. Or, why not try making some incredibly healing spiced turmeric milk? Turmeric is an awesome anti-inflammatory (on top of many other healing qualities). There’s no need to use cow’s milk – any type of milk such as almond or hemp milk will do!
3. Have an Epsom Salt Bath Soak
Epsom salt is a known reliever of pain and has been used for many, many years. It’s important to soak in it for at least 20 minutes. Try having a bath at least an hour before bed, so that you aren’t too overheated and unable to sleep. Why not put in some essential oils such as lavender or a blended relaxation essential oil mix? Aromatherapy can really help relax you and help you to drift off faster.
Having a soak in the bath (with or without Epsom salt) is wonderful for relaxing and in fact, moist heat – whether it is a shower, a steam or a bath, is considered the number 1 treatment for fibromyalgia according to Dr Harris McIlwain, fibromyalgia expert and author of the Fibromyalgia Handbook. (One of the best books out there in regards to treating fibromyalgia, in my honest opinion).
If you are unable to have baths – no problem! Epsom salt is such a great treatment because it is actually magnesium – and the type of treatment is known as ‘transdermal therapy’. If you’re unable to have a bath, try investing in some magnesium oil and after having a shower, spritz it on and rub it into your skin. Look for Zechstein magnesium oil – and something that is filtered or with aloe in order to reduce itching that can sometimes come with applying the oil
As a side (but important) note - Magnesium deficiency is highly prevalent and blood tests carried out are actually 99% inaccurate! (So why bother?!) Even worse is the fact that if you do actually get tested and your tests results don’t show an issue, it means that you aren’t getting the easy remedy to help- one that could make a huge difference in your life. If you’re struggling with insomnia, pain, IBS, heart palpitations, anxiety and a variety of many other issues, you may be magnesium deficient. And it’s actually easy to resolve! (In fact, the symptoms of fibromyalgia and CFS read like that of magnesium deficiency…). For more information on magnesium deficiency, you can read more in my blog about it here.
4. Your Bedroom Should be Your Sanctuary
Although I plan on a whole blog in regards to this subject, I will touch upon it briefly, here. I know the whole, ‘don’t stay in your bed/bedroom unless you have to sleep’ concept. But let’s face it, for many of us, our beds are the only place truly comfortable for us and we spend most of our time in our bedrooms.
Therefore, do what you can to make your space comfortable by trying some of the following:
*Declutter – it’s easier to relax in a space that isn’t overflowing with crap!
*Set the Tone – try putting up some pretty fairy lights and choose some objects such as pictures and other ornaments that bring you pleasure. If you haven’t decorated in a while, perhaps now is the time to get in some soothing, gentle colours such as lavender or duck egg blue and try to stay away from colours like browns and beiges (as they are depressing!). Keep bright colours such as lime greens, reds etc as accents (ie pillows) vs wall colours, as ultimately, you want to be able to create a space that is gentle and relaxing.
*Aromatherapy – Although some people are sensitive to scents, if you’re not one of them, investing in an aromatherapy diffuser (under £20) that is electric allows you to make the most out of just a few drops of oil and lasts for up to 10 hours. Or, get some nice scented candles or wax tartlets. A room that smells lovely and relaxing can really make a difference in being able to sleep.
5. Invest in a Comfortable Mattress
Sleep is a critical part of feeling better. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, not only does sleep provide us with the ability to heal and renew, but it also reduces pain and brain fog. Lack of quality sleep is directly connected to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety (on top of numerous other health issues).
Your mattress and bed should be your number one investment in regards to your health. On average, your mattress should be changed after 7 years…however…that is ultimately dependent on the amount of use – and 7 years would be what one would consider ‘normal usage’ (ie not in it day and night – just night).
The Sleep Council states: ‘…as a general rule, if you wake up with aches and pains which disappear over the course of the day, you are not sleeping as well as you did a year ago, or the mattress shows signs of wear, it is probably time to change your bed.’
The N:Rem Sleep System is rated tops for people with fibromyalgia and chronic pain issues. It is a revolutionary foam tablet system that you can adjust based on your requirements for firmness and areas you experience pain the most. On top of this, if you’re sharing your bed, your partner can also adjust their side to fit their requirements, as well. Bonus! No more getting a mattress that suits one person and not the other’s needs! It’s a very clever system!
For more information about how this mattress can make a huge difference in your life in regards to pain and sleep, please check out our website here.
I would recommend this system to anyone, I have chronic back pain and fibromyalgia. I have gone from having little or no sleep to 6/8 hrs sleep. P. Tipping
Check out the N:Rem Sleep System review page to read how this mattress is really making a huge difference for people with chronic pain and fibromyalgia.
Getting a great night’s sleep at this point in time, might seem like a dream come true, no pun intended. However, it is possible to sleep better and ultimately feel better, by making some changes. It is important to also review your medication in regards to insomnia and sleep issues/disturbances with your doctor. Some opiate medications (ie Tramadol, morphine, codeine) that you may have felt groggy/knocked out on when you started can actually be a cause of insomnia as your tolerance level increases.
Hopefully these 5 tips will help you sleep better and feel better, too.