Focus On S From FRESH! Two Changes For Restful Sleep
The time has come to revisit FRESH, my quick and easy acronym pointing to the five lifestyle changes I’ve made, with success, to augment the biologic I use to manage my RA (rheumatoid arthritis)
FRESH, my helpful tool to allow me a quick rundown of the five areas of change I made after my RA diagnosis. I wanted to give my body the best chance to fight back the awful effects of the disease. Here are the specifics spelled out, literally!
F is for the food I eat. I honed in on the anti-inflammatory diet. I found many renditions of the diet settling on eliminating processed foods, limiting white carbohydrates (sugar and flour) and increasing known inflammation fighters such as wild salmon, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.
R is for relaxation or stress relief. I realized stress was aggravating my RA in a HUGE way. I made professional and personal decisions to bring down the stress level of my day-to-day life. I have also utilized meditation to release stress and bring relaxation into my life!
E is for exercise. I have a weekly pilates session to strengthen my core and get my body moving in the proper way to improve my posture. One session per week makes a big difference. If I miss a week, my body tells me it is not good to miss pilates. I also walk Gipper, our family dog almost every day.
S is for sleep. It is well known that a good night sleep helps keep RA in check. The Arthritis Foundation elaborates nicely on this subject. I found this out quite by accident after my wrist surgery. Sometimes I can read something, but I have to experience it to believe it! Good sleep habits do indeed help accomplish a restful sleep. In the pharmacy world, we call it good sleep hygiene.
H is for hydration. Proper hydration helps your body to work better all the way down to the cellular level. And do I need to mention how good hydration allows for joint lubrication! A good rule of thumb is to take your weight in pounds, divide that number in half giving you the ounces of water to aim to consume in a day.
Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. Thomas Dekker
I needed to look closer at the S-for-sleep piece of my program. I wasn’t getting a restful night sleep and was getting sensations in my joints indicating they were not happy. This is something I’ve learned by listening carefully to what my body is telling me.
Change Number One
When I focussed on what was happening at bedtime I realized Gipper, the dog, was a major impediment to a restful night sleep. Who would even think of this adorable fur ball as the rob-me-of-sleep culprit! It is summertime in Wisconsin so it gets warm on the second floor of our house! My furry buddy just cannot take the heat, but he is insistent on “putting us to bed”. This means he comes to bed with us, we get settled in and start to fall asleep, then Gipper wants to go downstairs where it is cooler. So he does this crying thing that only I hear waking me up to take him downstairs where he wants to sleep. This does not result in restful sleep for me!
I have resolved this by going to bed 15 minutes early expecting this whole routine. I then just lay down like I’m going to bed, but stay awake until he cries, then I bring him downstairs so I can really go to bed to sleep!
Coffee is a beverage that puts one to sleep when not drank. Alphonse Allais
Change Number Two
I also realized I was still drinking coffee in the late afternoon. That was easily remedied! No caffeine in the late afternoon!
I am constantly going back to FRESH. It has been very helpful and instrumental getting my RA well managed. It’s not perfect, but reasonable allowing me a good quality of life. That is my goal!
FRESH is using Arthritis Wisdom!
What are your tricks and suggestions to manage your RA? Arthritis Wisdom wants to know!