The Importance of Sleep in Healing

During periods of struggling with Meniere’s disease, I have found a strong correlation between lack of sleep and a flair up of Meniere’s symptoms.  A bad day often followed a night with little or poor sleep.

Sleep is crucial to healing from health problems.  Research has shown that a lack of sleep can contribute to cancer, obesity, and heart disease.  Research has also shown that a lack of sleep can lower your immune response.

Everybody is different and has different sleep requirements so it is difficult to to assign a standard number of hours for everyone to sleep.  You may need more or less than the 8 hours typically suggested.  Even with the lack of a magic number, most people know how much sleep they need.  If you are having trouble waking up in the morning, you are not getting enough sleep.  If you are sleeping during the day or having trouble staying awake during the day, you are not getting enough sleep.

Often it is not just a matter of how much sleep but rather an issue of the quality of sleep you are getting.  Try the following to get better sleep

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.  This helps acclimate your body to a set rhythm so you will need to stick to your schedule on weekends.
  • During your set sleep time, make your sleep room as dark as possible.  This requires you to eliminate blinking LEDs in your room and completely darken your windows.  Blinds often don’t work at shutting out all light.  You may need to get heavy curtains to completely block out the light.  If your room lights up in the morning before you plan to get up, you need to work harder to darken your room.
  • Eliminate the noise in your room where you sleep.  This includes all electronics that may buzz or beep.  This also includes pets with noisy collars or noisy activities during the night or early morning.
  • Don’t eat within two hours of sleeping.
  • Exercise regularly if you don’t already.  I have found that when my exercise routine is interrupted because of travel or something else, it is more difficult for me to fall asleep.
  • Avoid caffeine and other stimulants after noon.
  • Avoid alcohol before bedtime.  It may help you get to sleep but you will wake with a start after your blood sugar crashes and you will not be able to get back to sleep.
  • Drink a cup of chamomile tea to help you fall asleep.
  • Experiment with the temperature of the room where you sleep.  Most people sleep better with their rooms at lower temperatures.  Through trial and error you can determine exactly what that temperature is.

Establishing good sleeping habits will serve you well through your entire life during both the unhealthy times as well as the healthy times.  Hopefully you have more of the latter than the former.

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