Whether fibromyalgia is a challenge for you or not – deep sleep may be. Lack of sleep, and especially cellular-restoring deep sleep, is a common occurrence for many of us in the chronic illness community. While the ramifications of poor sleep are obvious (at least to us), some remedies may be simpler than you imagine.
First of all, why don’t we get enough sleep? While the reasons vary widely depending on the individual, here are some basics.
What Gets in the Way of Good, Deep Sleep?
This list includes some of the experiences and things that may prevent you from getting the type of restorative sleep you desire.
- Over-napping (taking overlong daytime naps that disrupt sleep cycles)
- Over-sleeping (getting up later than your normal wake time)
- Medications (benzodiazepines, opioids)
- Physical discomfort (pain, aches, muscle issues, etc.)
- Evening eating (the body is too busy trying to digest to sleep)
- Light (especially LEDs and blue wavelength light)
- Improper room temperature (too warm, too cold)
- Circadian rhythm disruption
- Poor sleep hygiene (lack of a good pre-bedtime routine)
What Happens When We Don’t Get Enough Deep Sleep?
Symptoms of poor sleep are widespread. I’ve written about it in the past and have listed numerous ways that lack of sleep may impact you — including some you’ve probably never considered such as forgetfulness and rapid aging. How many of these 18 symptoms relate to you?
Check out the article here:
The BIG Impact of a Little Sleep Loss
One Simple (not to mention inexpensive) Sleep Fix
While there’s a lot to unpack when it comes to sleep remedies, sometimes it’s best to start with simpler things.
Unwanted light creeping into the bedroom at night may come from surprising sources. Obviously, windows can be covered with curtains, room darkening shades, or blinds, if possible.
But what about light from TV screens, tablets, phones, and other devices? What about the LED light on clocks, TV recording equipment, and more? Just about every electronic used has some sort of indicator light that may stay on as a constant or turn on and off during the night. This disruption can prevent the body from falling into a deep sleep.
In a recent study, the negative effects of light exposure at nighttime were shocking. “The results from this study demonstrate that just a single night of exposure to moderate room lighting during sleep can impair glucose and cardiovascular regulation, which are risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome,” said senior study author Dr. Phyllis Zee, chief of sleep medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine physician. “It’s important for people to avoid or minimize the amount of light exposure during sleep.”
One basic method to block out this and other sources of light is a simple eye mask. Let me rephrase that, eye masks are no longer so simple.
When I first bought one about 20 years ago, it was a flimsy silky thing. It was made from lightweight satin fabric with a stretchy (hair scrunchy-like) band to go around the head. I bought two around the same time and one contained tiny, scented beads. I found the scent too overpowering, and it actually gave me a headache.
The other was a perfect fit and I used it for many years – until I accidentally left it in a hotel room.
Upon returning home, I was surprised at how dependent I’d become on using the sleep mask. Without it, my bedroom seemed overly bright, and I had trouble falling asleep. Sleep deprivation drove me to research new and improved versions of the basic sleep mask. I was surprised to discover so many fresh and sophisticated designs.
And, there was so much to think about!
Sleep masks now come in a wide variety of textures from silky to fuzzy, thin to weighted. They come scented, unscented, and even temperature-controlled to cool or warm the eyes.
My favorites come with contoured eye cups that put no pressure on the eyes or eyelashes when wearing. Even better, the contoured ones offer a perfect fit that filters out almost all light from the room. It’s surprising how dark (and peaceful) the room can be when wearing a good eye mask. The moment I used a good-fitting, contoured mask, I knew that I couldn’t go back to one that makes no custom allowances for the eyes and the bridge of the nose.
A word of warning: it may take a few purchases to find the right fit. I have a small head/face and have found that some are tailored in a way that’s better for me than others. Some fit too snug against the bridge of my nose which was a turn-off. It’s a good thing they’re relatively inexpensive so I could experiment.
Sleep masks vary in price from just a few dollars to about $20.
Well worth the investment!
After a lot of research, I settled on one like this, perhaps you’d like to try?
(No, this is not an affiliate link.)
Have you tried an eye mask for better sleep? What’s your favorite?
A good night’s sleep is worth an investment of both time and money. And, if you’d like to dig deeper into your health challenges, as always, I’d love to hear from you. What do you struggle with the most?
If you’d like to check out what healing from chronic illness can look like, take a look at this handout called, The Restoration Trio. It details some of the benefits you can experience once you put healing practices into place. Check it out HERE.
If you’d like to finally get the support you’re looking for and start healing from the root-level, go HERE for more info.