Found this on my CFS/FM website: Much applies to us too. www.cfidsselfhelp.org/library/solutions-sl
Improving Sleep Environment and Habits
Sleep can be disturbed by factors like irregular hours, a noisy environment, an uncomfortable bed or a noisy sleeping partner. You may be able to improve your sleep by changing your sleep environment and your sleep habits. Here are five ideas to consider.
1. Have a Comfortable Environment: Provide yourself with an environment conducive to good sleep by using a good mattress, and by exercising control over light, noise and temperature. (Note: Noise includes snoring by your sleep partner. Snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea; see discussion on apnea at end of article.)
2. Establish a Routine: Go through the same routine each night and have a consistent bedtime. Prepare for sleep by gradually reducing your activity level in the several hours before bedtime and by having "going-to-bed" rituals you do consistently at the same time each night. Things like brushing your teeth or doing light reading every night before retiring can help you wind down and get ready psychologically for sleep.
3. Get Up at the Same Time: Setting an alarm so that you get up at the same time each day can help you adjust gradually back to more normal hours. Usually, you don't need to compensate by changing your bed time to an earlier hour; your body will adjust itself.
4. Limit Daytime Napping: Often, daytime napping interferes with night time sleep. If you nap during and day and find that you have trouble falling asleep, or your sleep is worse than usual when you nap, you might consider sleeping only at night. (On the other hand, if napping does not disturb your nighttime sleep, you may need more rest.)
5. Use Relaxation or Distraction to Fall Asleep: It may be easier to fall asleep if you listen to quiet music or distract yourself in some other way, such as by counting or watching your breath. Relaxation techniques can help you fall asleep.
Additional Sleep Aids
Looking for more ideas? Here are four additional approaches that may help you sleep better.
1. Pacing: Being too active can create a sense of restlessness sometimes called the "tired but wired" feeling. Pacing can be an antidote. By keeping your activity level within the limits imposed by your illness, and by having a quiet period to wind down before going to bed, you can avoid having your sleep affected by edgy, hyper-alertness.
2. Controlling Stress and Worry: Stress often leads to muscle tension, which makes falling asleep more difficult. Practicing relaxation methods can help you ease tense muscles. Try relaxation procedures like those described in the articles in the stress management archive or soak in a hot tub or bath before going to bed.
If you have difficulty falling asleep because you are preoccupied with problems and lie awake with thoughts running through your head, consider setting aside a "worry time" each night before going to bed. Take a half hour to write down all your worries and what you'll do about them. If worries come up as you are trying to go to sleep, tell yourself "I've dealt with that. I don't have to worry because I know what I'm going to do."
3. Avoiding Caffeine, Alcohol & Tobacco: Consuming too much caffeine, drinking alcohol and smoking can make getting good rest more difficult. Avoid products containing caffeine, like coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate, for several hours before going to bed. Avoid alcohol before bedtime; it can create restless and uneven sleep. The nicotine in tobacco is a stimulant, thus smoking is a barrier to falling asleep.
4. Check Your Meds: Some sleep medications that are effective when used occasionally can produce poor sleep if used frequently. Also, some drugs produce side effects, like a feeling of grogginess in the morning. Medications taken for other problems may interfere with sleep if they contain substances like antihistamines or caffeine.
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