"When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, 'Did you sleep good?' I said 'No, I made a few mistakes."
Why is Sleep Important?
Sleep is a period of time when our brain and body take a break from daily stress. It’s something we all need and something we look forward to doing. Or is it? For anyone who has insomnia, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain, or a primary sleep disorder, that is the million-dollar question.
We are all gussied up in our soft sleepwear and we begin our evening ritual for SLUMBER.
Limit physical activity
Use comfort measures
Eliminate stress and food
Remember nothing—clear your mind
So why doesn't it come, and if it does, why doesn't it feel like it?
How is Sleep Dysfunctional?
Regardless of the cause, it’s a real bummer when we don’t sleep. We glace at the clock and it is 3 a.m. ; we are still AWAKE, or it’s 7 a.m. and we realize we slept through the night, hooray! But, when we start the day, we realize it didn't matter. We are still POOPED OUT. The tumble begins (sometimes literally). We become agitated and our internal dialogue does not reflect happiness over the non-event.
Whether insomnia is a primary sleep problem within the circuitry of the brain or it is due to physical pain, a snoring bed partner, a pet that can’t settle in, or all of the above, the results are the same. Anyone who hasn't had sleep or quality sleep knows sleep deprivation psychosis, headaches, cognitive deficit, and problems with gait, tremors, and generalized irritation with the world around them.
Oxygen deprivation causes problems, significant ones. Some people stop breathing several times during the night. The body’s organ systems are affected because the body relies on oxygen for survival. This is called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can occur for many reasons, but the most common cause is some type of airway obstruction. If you have been told you snore a lot (not what you think you do, like my husband), discuss it with your doctor. This seemingly annoying behavior to your partner is more than annoying to your body.
Slow Wave Sleep Progression
When the slow wave stages of sleep, when micro healing occurs, are deficient or absent maintenance or sleep and sleep quality are affected. This central sleep problem (occurring in the brain) is seen on a special EEG used during a sleep study. All those electrodes plastered to our head works much like an EKG does to see how the heart’s electric circuit is behaving. We often talk about body organs, but forget that every part of our body is wired, and like a frayed wire in the attic, sputters and spurts occur. Sometimes they are so severe the house blacks out or burns down. We need the deep stages of sleep for healing and some believe lack of these healing stages is an underlying factor in not only fatigue, but also the muscle pain of fibromyalgia.
What Else Interferes with Sleep?
Other things that interfere with quality include teeth grinding (bruxism), migraine, irritable bladder causing nocturia (getting up several times during the night to urinate), periodic limb movement (often called restless leg syndrome, only it is different because it occurs during sleep) and just about anything that interrupts the sleep cycle, including some medications or combination of medications.
“Depression, sleep deprivation, pain, fatigue, unhealthy relationships, and unhealthy coping mechanisms prevent us from achieving physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance. It is important to talk with our doctor about our sleep patterns, depression, and difficulty maintaining relationships, but we can manage challenges too. We can manage challenges by…"
(Excerpt) Spring Devotions (Cooper and Miller)
SLUMBER My Friend– the Conclusion
Sleep is necessary for resting the mind, boosting the immune system, and fostering overall health and relationships.
Be sure to read the footnotes to this blog.
Some causes of sleep problems are quite treatable while others need ongoing time and our attention. But, regardless of the cause, our brain needs to prepare for sleep. Keep that acronym in mind—SLUMBER. It may not cure us, but it can’t hurt.
Human bodies respond to routine.
Make it a good one.
Now, I am not a sleep expert, but as a patient, I understand the repercussions of absent stage II and III sleep, insomnia, bruxism, nocturia, and severe periodic limb movement. So, if you share the rumbles, dark skies, and threatening clouds of sleep disruption, reach for the rainbow. Consult with a healthcare professional that specializes in sleep. They have a toolbox full of helpful strategies. Keep an open mind; help could be on the way.
March is #SleepAwareness Month. Here’s to those forty winks!
See the fabulous Infographics on the “Dangers of #Sleep Deprivation” at @HealthCentral.
Learn more about what you can do to help your body function to its potential in the books you can find here on Celeste's blog.
Celeste’s OTHER BLOGS ON SLEEP:
- Is sleep keeping you awake at night? Poor sleep in people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Don't Snooze? You Lose - Sleep Deprivation in Pain Disorders
- TheMystery of Sleep in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Sleep oh sleep, where art thou? Could your fibromyalgia medications be causing insomnia?
- Snooze News - The conundrum of sleep deprivation
- Wake Up Sleepy Head” - Non-Restorative Sleep in FM and CFS
- Xyrem advocacy for sleep deficiency - The FDA reply
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"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."
Celeste Cooper, RN
All answers and blogs are based on the author's opinions and writing and are not meant to replace medical advice.