Ten tips to tranquility are a great help to ensure a restful sleep. Sleep is very important to best manage rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is one of the five FRESH areas I focus on to keep my disease in check. It is what the S in my FRESH acronym stands for. I use the acronym daily to live a healthy autoimmune lifestyle.
I had to review these tips to tranquility as I was waking up and wandering around my house in the middle of the night several times this week — once at 4 in the morning. I knew it wasn’t good for my joints and I needed to do something before I had an arthritic flare. I’m again reminded how I’ve designed as much of my lifestyle as I can around managing my RA. I wouldn’t characterize it in a negative way because I believe my disease has helped guide me to a healthier lifestyle. I am motivated to make changes in order to feel so much better. That in itself is a powerful motivator. That is using Arthritis Wisdom!
I aim for at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is time of restoration. It is when our mind and body recovers from our all-in-a-day’s-work stuff. One of the stages of sleep is called rapid eye movement stage, or REM stage. It is during the REM stage of sleep the brain organizes important information for long-term memory.
Without a good night’s sleep our immune system doesn’t function as well. Lack of proper rest can affect our ability to think, important for making better decisions and having more fruitful interactions with others. My patience shortens when I am tired or fatigued and I know that matters when I try to communicate. Hormonal influences can be disrupted by a poor night’s sleep. Sleep is when hormones are regulated. This is probably why I tend to go for junk food, something quick, when I’m not well rested. Here are my tips:
Ten Tips To Tranquility
- Avoid caffeine after 2 pm. That includes chocolate and any caffeinated teas.
- Getting physical activity during the day. Gardening, yoga, pilates, walking. You name it. Just get moving!
- No screens two hours prior to bedtime. Turn off your computer, smart phone,and put away electronic games. They stimulate the mind when it’s time to wind down.
- A cool temperature in the bedroom is comfortable for sleeping.
- Wear comfy pajamas.
- Read uplifting, soothing materials before turning in for the night.
- Certain essential oils have a calming effect to facilitate sleep. Lavender, Frankincense, Sweet Marjoram, and Tangerine are a few. They can be diffused into the bedroom.
- Avoiding eating after 6pm, especially a heavy and/or spicy meal. This helps to prevent acid reflux as well. A cup of warm milk can be soothing and signal that it is time to sleep.
- Develop a bedtime routine so your body knows it is time to wind down for sleep.
- “White noise”, such as a fan, can help tune out other noises in order to fall asleep. It also circulates the air in the room.
Knowing how critical sleep is for someone with RA, I wanted to go back to my basics to nip a potential bad habit in the bud. In my professional world of pharmacy, we call this good sleep hygiene. The practice of preparing for a good night’s sleep. I wish you all happy zzzz’s!
Let me know your tips for getting a good night’s sleep by sharing a comment or two! (Aren’t those little lambs just the sweetest thing? I want to sleep like they do!)
photo: Daniel o’down at Unsplash