March comes “in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” -at least where I live. But March also concludes with Doctors’ Day on March 30, a day to recognize physicians and their service to our health needs.
Rather than waiting til the end, I will share stories by and about physicians all month long here and on social media.
March timely topics include
winter health concerns
spring health issues
sleep changes due to Daylight Saving Time change
faith, hope, and love
And in the faith, hope, and love selections we’ll remember St. Patrick and meditate on devotions for Lent.
Sometime in April the Google+platform will end. Thanks to all of you who followed and shared my posts there. Please continue following me here and on other social media.
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with my thanks
I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here.
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Some people have true chronic insomnia, meaning persistent sleep difficulty alone. There are various criteria to diagnose chronic insomnia but in general include
difficulty falling or staying asleep
at least 3 nights per week for at least 1-3 months
with impairment of daytime function, such as fatigue/sleepiness, poor concentration, irritability, school or work dysfunction
How is chronic insomnia managed ?
First step in treatment of chronic insomnia as well as occasional difficulty sleeping is identifying and treating any underlying medical issues that might contribute to poor sleep. In addition to the ones mentioned above these include
pain, of all kinds
heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux)
congestive heart failure
lung diseases like asthma causes nighttime breathing difficulty
Experts recommend sleep hygiene, basically lifestyle changes, as the initial treatment. Some people have developed bad habits in regards to sleep that need to be unlearned and new behaviors put in place.
For optimal sleep you should
Engage in regular exercise- moderate intensity , tai chi , yoga and low-impact aerobic exercise
Avoid evening large meals
Limit caffeine, tobacco and alcohol
Use the bedroom only to sleep and for sex
Maintain a regular bedtime-awake schedule
Avoid daytime naps
Avoid distracting stimuli at bedtime-watching television, using electronic devices, talking on the phone
Stay in bed only while sleep
How to dim the lights
The light from electronic devices- clocks, thermostats, televisions, monitors-can disturb your sleep even after you turn off your phone and tablets. This light can be blocked by stick on light blocking covers than can block out the majority of it.
Light from my clock made it hard for me to fall asleep before I discovered these products. With them I fall asleep easier, and can fall back asleep if I wake up.
Maintaining a regular schedule helps to set or reset your sleep/wake cycle. So go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
However, if you can’t sleep, rather than lie in bed awake, you should get up, do a non-stimulating activity, then return to bed when sleepy.
If you have persistent sleep loss, consider more intensive therapy by a professional.
CBT-I combines cognitive therapy with sleep restriction, relaxation training and stimulus control.
Treatment typically requires 5-8 sessions conducted by a health professional trained in its use. Patients need to participate by keeping a sleep diary and writing down daily thoughts in a journal, while continuing with the sleep hygiene practices mentioned above.
One study found 70% of those participating improved their sleep, compared with 43% who received education only. If you can’t find a trained therapist or don’t have time for office based therapy, this may be a good option.
SleepPhone by Acoustic Sheep
A physician, Dr. Wei-Shin Lai had trouble falling asleep after being awakened at night by calls from the ER. Her husband suggested listening to relaxing music to help her fall asleep.
She designed a comfortable headphone for her own use, and eventually started a company to make and sell them . You can try her SleepPhone made by her company AcousticSheep.
Manage stress, learn to relax
If you have occasional trouble sleeping due to stress, relaxation techniques can help you. Techniques include meditation, yoga, imagery, abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation techniques . These can reduce tension and anxious thoughts that inhibit sleep onset and maintenance.
You may find these ideas from a previous post helpful .
Please share on your social media sites and follow Watercress Words as we continue to explore the heart of health. My goal is to bring health and wholeness to everyone who seeks it and hope you will join me. Please visit my resources page.