Sick

I haven’t been around this week.  I haven’t been posting or reading.  Unfortunately I have an upper respiratory infection that has taken a lot out of me.  I’m also dealing with the unpleasant side effects of a high dose of antibiotics.  No matter how well I care for my health the fact remains that I spend a good amount of money on drugs that suppress my immune system.  Getting an infection is worse than it used to be.  They seem to take hold faster, stay around longer, and I end up feeling wiped out for way longer than I used to.

So I just wanted to say that I’ve been away-but not because I wanted to. I am trying to get over this infection.  I will be taking it easy this weekend.  Hopefully I can be more present next week.  Have a great weekend everyone!

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Sleep

English: A body pillow.

English: A body pillow. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One thing that can really derail your journey to health is a lack of sleep. Adequate rest not only affects your attitude and cognitive abilities, but it can also make it harder to maintain a healthy weight.  Studies have shown that those with chronic insomnia have higher rates of diabetes and have a harder time maintaining a normal body weight.  Sleepless nights also impact our immune system and our body’s ability to heal itself.  Lack of sleep can be a serious roadblock for anyone on a journey to health.

Unfortunately I possess 3 out of 4 risk factors for chronic insomnia.  Shift work? Check.  Being a woman? Check.  Chronic pain? Check. The only risk factor I don’t have is a medical diagnosis such as sleep apnea that would interfere with my sleep pattern.

One of the worst parts of insomnia is the long night that stretches endlessly while my exhausted body and active mind are at war with each other. On the one hand my body is demanding sleep –on the other hand my mind is too active and alert to allow the body’s wish to be fulfilled.  That is why the book Restful Insomnia by Sondra Kornblatt caught my attention.

While this book goes over the basic insomniac rules-sleep schedule even on the weekends, turning off your tv and cellphone, ect the author believes that those with insomnia can achieve a restful state even if they do not actually get more than a few hours of sleep.  The author says that the focus of bedtime should be comfort and relaxation.  She believes that whether we sleep or not a restful state can be achieved.  She goes one step further in asserting that once we get used to achieving a wakeful rest at night we will find that we have fewer and fewer bouts of insomnia.  A relaxed mind and body should ultimately lead to the sleep an insomniac so desperately craves.

While the book doesn’t pretend that there is an easy cure for insomnia it does offer hope.  Even without sleep you can face the morning less exhausted than normal.  I will be some of her techniques a shot for the next month.  As she suggests I will be making sure that I prepared for a night of sleeplessness by having “nest” of comforts that will aid in my relaxation.  I will use deep breathing and body awareness to turn off my mind in hopes of resting.  According to Korblatt one you are able to achieve wakeful rest sleep is not far behind. And sleep is my ultimate goal.  I don’t mind putting in the work if this method increases the number of nights that I wake up in the morning feeling rested. If anyone is interested in my progress I will be glad to write a follow-up post with how well this experiment worked.

I know that one of the biggest roadblocks on my journey to health is lack of sleep.  Whether it is the fact that I work 1st, 2nd, and 3rd shifts on the routine basis, or the fact that rolling over on a tender joint wakes me in the early morning hours and prevents me from going back into a deep sleep, I am routinely sleep deprived.  And like any other step on my journey to health conquering insomnia requires a lifestyle change, bumps in the road, and ultimately victory!