Sleep Hygiene

The Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles – Using a daylight alarm clock

I’ve been finding my fibromyalgia more difficult to manage since the seasons have changed. The switch from warm to cold, and from long days to short days is playing havoc in many ways for me. The cold triggers my pain, the less vitamin D triggers my fatigue and pain, and the dark mornings make it feel almost impossible to wake up (despite being awake for large portions of the night).

The one thing I learnt from last year is that if my sleep goes off, then everything goes off and for me it seems to all pin on how my mornings go. If I spring out of bed at a good time, full of energy, then my morning is less stressful and I carry that through to the rest of my day. I make better food choices  and I also sleep much better the next night as I don’t have as many anxieties floating around in my head, I have less pain, and I go to bed feeling content with my day.

If I keep on pressing the snooze button, and roll out of bed groggy and foggy, my mornings do not go well at all, and that horrible feeling of not having a good morning, being snappy with my kids, and not having the energy for my daily walk before work all hang around me like a bad smell. I feel tired all day, too tired to do the things that I know help my fibromyalgia. I often forget to take lunch to work and either don’t eat at all or make poor choices. I then get home, feel terrible, and don’t sleep very well because of the rubbish day I had. My pain increases keeping me awake too.

One thing that I know for a fact helps me to wake up is light. In the summer this is easy as the natural light provided by early sunrises are invigorating and natures way of waking anyone up naturally (see this post for information about sleep cycles). In the darker months there is nothing that gives off natural light so we have to find something else to help us.

Introducing…… the daylight alarm clock!


I’d been toying with buying one for so long but couldn’t bear the expense, but luckily, when talking about it with a friend from work, and it turned out she had one that she wasn’t using, so it’s now my new toy. The one she has leant me is a Philips Lumie.

I was excited but sceptical. Would it really work or would it just annoy me? There was only one way to find out and that was to try it!

I won’t bore you too much with the how it works bit, but in a nutshell you set the alarm for time you want to be awake and it starts to light up the room slowly in the 30 minutes prior to the time you have set. It starts off as a very dim red/amber light and builds up to a blue light (see this post all about the benefits of blue light), to a brightness of your choosing. You can also choose for a nice sound to be played as you wake up, such as wind, sea or birds. The aim is for the light to naturally bring you out of a sleep cycle, instead of being dragged out of deep sleep by your alarm clock, and so avoiding sleep inertia, which is basically that feeling you get when you have been rudely awoken by someone or something and you basically feel punch drunk.

So, I set it up for maximum brightness in the morning and birds. Turns out maximum brightness is a bit hardcore, even for someone who needs light to wake up, and I was waking up about 20 minutes before I wanted to (20 minutes is precious), and so over the last week I have worked out my ideal level to wake up at 6am is 3/4 of the maximum setting. The birds are nice too.

Waking up is definitely more gentle, no more alarm blaring in me ear and waking me up with a jolt, and that feels nice. I am still a bit sleepy when I wake up but I think that is because I’ve been a little naughty and not done all of my sleep hygiene as well as I could have rather than the light not working, so this week I am working on getting that right before I pass judgement.

Once I’m awake things are looking better. I generally get up, open the curtains (even though it is dark outside), make myself some lemon and ginger and just allow myself more time to wake up properly before I get on with my morning. My mornings are now back to being under control, and I’m managing to be more productive with more energy than I had a couple of weeks ago. My morning walks are back, I’m remembering my lunch, and I’m not rushing to the school gates anymore!

Is it as good as a bright summers morning? No. Is it better than waking up to an alarm clock and being dragged from deep sleep part of my sleep cycle? Most definitely! Most importantly, do I feel better when I wake up, is my fibromyalgia more controlled and am I sleeping better? Yes, yes, and yes!

Nothing is going to substitute the light we get on those long summer days, but this is a good compromise and I would strongly encourage you to try it if you suffer like I do in the mornings!

Do you use a daylight alarm clock? what do you think? Is there anyone it hasn’t worked for?

Don’t forget you can find me on social media by clicking the icons to the right of this article if you are on desktop or the bottom if you are on your phone/tablet.

Toodle Pip!

 

 

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Sleep Hygiene

The Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles #10 – Whats on my bedside table?

As this series draws to an end (I don’t think I’ve missed too much out), I thought it would be fun to move it forwards with a once per month round up of whats on my bedside table. What’s on your bedside is really important when it comes to sleeping (check out this post as to why!) Think book recommendations, things that will help you to sleep, and anything else that I happen to find delight in. Simple really, and I’m going to dive on in by sharing with you what is currently on my bedside table. These are all things that help me with my fibromyalgia, in ways that aren’t always obvious but still work!


Candle – Sweet orchid and coconut candle from Sainbury’s, cheap and cheerful at £4 but it lasts for ages, and smells divine. I like a good sized candle on my bedside table to provide and gentle and relaxing reading light.

Tea – Currently drinking Heath and Heather Sleep tea, with spearmint, chamomile, rosehip and nettles ,amongst other lovely herbs. A beautifully relaxing cuppa before bed.

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Magazine – The Simple Things. Really lovely magazine promoting mindfulness, gratitude and full of stories from awesomely inspirational people!


Book – Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel – Sequel to the mazing Wolf Hall, this second book looking at the downfall of Anne Boleyn from Thomas Cromwell’s point of view, and a great view into life at the court of Henry VIII. Not everyones cup of tea but I love it! Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2012 and the Costa Book of the year 2012.


Book – Little book of Lykke by Meik Wiking, sequel to the Little Book of Hygge, a wonderful little companion book all about finding happiness from the simple things in life.


Whats on you’re bedside table at the moment? I am always very much up for recommendations! Remember, to keep it calm, relaxed and inspirational!

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Toodle Pip!

Sleep Hygiene

The Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles #9 – To nap or not to nap?

That is the question! Now, around the time and just before my diagnosis, I was napping, A LOT, and back then I could, I wasn’t working the kids were at school, and it allowed me to escape my pain. However, my sleep at nighttime was completely and utterly screwed. I would spend hours and hours just lying there awake, in pain, and not getting any better, and my fibromyalgia was running a muck!

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t nap, or that I shouldn’t nap, and sometimes I still do, but it is about napping smartly. That right, smart napping. Because napping can be smart (the word smart is now beginning to sound a bit odd and so I should probably stop saying it).

So how exactly should you nap? I should probably point out here that this is more about what I have found useful and what I have learnt along my journey to achieving healthier sleep and overall wellbeing. We are all individual, and just because it works for me doesn’t mean it will work for you, but if your sleep is up the swanny, you have nothing to lose.

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As ever I would always recommend you beginning your journey to sleeping better with the beginning of this series, which you can find here, and working your way through, practising each section for a week or two before moving on.

So here are my top tips for smart napping –

1. Stop calling it napping and start calling it recovery periods

When we say we are taking a nap we automatically think of sleeping, and if we haven’t slept for that nap, it can feel like we have somehow failed and feel even more tired than before we started to go for a nap. By calling it a recovery period it take the pressure off actually sleeping and using the time to ‘recover’ and regain some energy (which you do not necessarily have to sleep to do). Taking any time out to just rest your body and your brain can be helpful, I often take myself for 20 minutes just to do some guided mindfulness, which often leaves me feeling better and more energised than if I sleep.

2. Time it well

Whatever you do, DO NOT nap at the wrong time. That’s right, there is a wrong time to nap. If you take into account your circadian rhythm, the optimal time to nap is between 1-3pm, any later and you are likely to disrupt your sleep at night, any earlier and you are likely to throw your rhythm completely out of whack and feel tired for the rest of the day.

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3. Nap for just the right amount of time

Maximum napping time should be no longer than 40 minutes to 1 hour (they don’t call it 40 winks for nothing), especially if you are going to actually sleep. Any longer, and you will fall into a deep sleep, and wake up feeling drunk and disorientated and the rest of your day is likely to be very unproductive, and you probably won’t sleep well that night which means you’ll feel crap the next day. So set an alarm, have a big drink of water when you wake and get into some daylight to make your day go better.

4. Practice something other than napping

As I said above, you don’t have to actually fall to sleep to recover. If you find it hard to fall asleep in the time you have, practice some other techniques that will help you feel better. You could shut yourself into a quiet room and do some reading, practice some meditation and mindfulness, or even just sit in the garden with your eyes closed listening to the birds.

5. Keep a sleep journal

Keeping a journal can help you to recognise what napping practices are affecting your nighttime rest and recovery, as well as how you are feeling in the day for the better and the worse. You will be able to quickly identify what is working well for you and eliminate what isn’t helping you.

6. Nap for the right reasons

Whatever you do, do not nap as an escape method from your chronic illness symptoms. If you find you are taking multiple naps, and you are using it to get away from how you are feeling then you may be susceptible to low mood and depression, which you may need to seek help for. If this is you then I urge you to seek help from you family doctor, and find other ways of managing your symptoms. Excessive napping is unlikely to help and you need to find another solution. I now physically nap very rarely, but when I do it is often because I have had a particularly physically challenging morning and need to just get a little rest before the day continues. I do however have recovery periods during the day to help me recover mentally from challenging and my favourite activities are mindfulness and walking in the fresh air, particularly during my lunch break at work (which I must do more often!)

So there are my top tips for recovering like a smart ass. Give it a go (but not before you have worked through my other posts of course!).

Remember, you can find my very easily over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, come give me a wave and share your experiences with chronic illness! You can also leave a comment down below and I will get back to you as soon as I can!

Toodle pip!

 

 

 

 

Sleep Hygiene

The Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles #8 – Post Sleep Routines

In the last instalment of The Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles we looked at how pre sleep routines can help you to better drift off to the land of nod without too much reliance on the sandman, but have you ever thought about your post sleep routines?

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If you are anything like I was at the beginning of the year, your phone will wake you up with its pre set alarm, and through bleary eyes you will take at look at any notifications that have come through while you have been sleeping (or attempting to sleep). One of them is bound to excite you and warrant a closer look by logging into your phones screen and seeing what is happening either on social media or in the news. Occasionally this may lead to happiness but more often than not it leads to a buzz of activity in your brain leaving you feeling over excited, stressed, or worried. You may find yourself getting caught up in what you see and before you know it you haven’t got time to have a nice long shower or even worse, to eat breakfast.

I’ve learnt that that is how I used to be, and I now shudder at how tied I used to be to checking my phone as soon as I awoke. I used to wake up and be immediately sucked into life outside of what I could control, or even thing I didn’t need to know first thing in the morning. My attention needed to be on getting myself up and ready for the day, my children, and my wellbeing.

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I now look at waking up as ‘warming up’, getting myself ready for the workout of a day I have ahead. I guess my post sleep routines are my cool down, from the workout of a day I’ve had. By warming up to my day I am able to gentle move my body from a sleep state to a fully alert and awake state, and this helps me to tackle my day, head on, positively. I generally allow myself at least an hour for this, and this hour needs to be before I am responsible for anything or anyone. So I’m generally up and about before my children wake up at 7 for at least an hour.

Stay away from the light!

It’s not just about being awake for an hour before the kids get up. It about what I do with that hour thats important. Like I’ve already said, being awake and sitting on my phone for an hour is not the best start to the day.

Using a phone, or any technology, in that first hour of waking up, does not allow me to process my thoughts very well. My brain is not thinking 100% clearly or rationally, and therefore staying away from anything that might warrant a negative response or that might worry me is generally the best thing for me. It’s a bit like responding to a text when you are blind drunk. I know I certainly feel drunk when I’ve just woken up! Rarely do I jump out of bed full of the joys of spring (see this post as to why!).

Eat Breakfast

There’s a reason why they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day…. because it just is! If your evening meal was at 7pm and you wake up at 7am, then your body has literally gone 12hours without food. You need to refuel. Without eating breakfast you simply will not have to energy to start your day off positively. You’ll likely make bad food choices throughout the day, drink more caffeine than you actually need, and this could have a negative impact on your sleep the next night. So ALWAYS eat breakfast. If you find eating breakfast difficult then don’t make it the first thing you do when you wake up, but rather leave it towards the end of your post sleep routine. Keep it small, maybe a light yoghurt, a smoothie, or a slice of toast. Once you start doing it you will gradually have a bigger appetite on waking and be able to plump for bigger and more energising breakfasts as time goes by. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day, and breakfast generally doesn’t have many rules!

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Exercise

I exercise pretty much every day as part of my post sleep routine, usually yoga, to wake up my body gently, and to stretch out all those fibromyalgia aches and pains. I usually exercise before breakfast, but after I’ve had a drink. Exercise in the daylight is all the better if you can manage it (see this post for the benefits of daylight on sleep and wellbeing). I generally do my yoga in my bedroom where the sun shines in, in the morning, but only because I’m too embarrassed to do my yoga in the communal garden! But if you are a confident yogi, do it on the grass! I also go for a walk every morning, whether it be taking the kids to school or walking to work.

Challenge your brain….. gently

My engagement with the world usually begins right at the end of my post sleep routine. I will put on the radio to listen to the days news (after my breakfast, exercise and shower when I am fully awake and won’t get to drunkily emosh about it), or maybe listen to a podcast on my way to work. Anything to get the brain thinking. I also make sure that I make my bed, wash up the breakfast things, and get the girls things ready for school (with mixed success…. I usually forget something!).

So in short my morning generally looks like this….

  • Wake up at 6am
  • Have a cup of herbal tea and practise mindfulness (mindfulness is a great way to awaken your senses to the day!)
  • Yoga
  • Shower, dress, hair, make up
  • Breakfast with the kids
  • Wash up breakfast things while kids get themselves ready for school, listen to the radio or a podcast
  • Get things together for work/school
  • Walk children to school
  • Catch train to work, USE PHONE!!!
  • Walk to work from train station, listen to music

By the time I have done all of the above it already feels like I have done a lot with my day and made the most of my time, My day is gentle, my morning relaxed and usually stress free, which gets me off to a great start. I generally feel able to tackle anything life throws at me in a calm and collected way, and feel like an all round hero 🙂

So thats it! Do you have any post sleep routines that your use that you would like to share? If so then as always I would love to hear from you, either on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter! Please also feel free to comment below!

Toodle Pip!

You can find my blog and many other amazing blogs over at Fibro Blogger Directory

Sleep Hygiene

The Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles #7 – Pre sleep routines

What is your pre sleep routine? Answering all those emails you didn’t get time to answer at work today? Watching the TV until you fall asleep on the sofa and then wake up in the small hours, trying to work out what that nonsense is that’s now on air? Getting in from work late and stumbling immediately into bed? If it is any of these things, then you should probably re think how you are preparing your body for sleep.


Getting a good nights sleep is essential if you are going to manage your fibromyalgia as best as you can. The first step to a good nights sleep is making sure that you have a quiet, dark, cool environment to sleep in, free of distraction and things that can potentially wake you. I wrote a post about this in March and I thoroughly recommend you read it before carrying on with this post 🙂 You can find the post here.

Once your environment is sleep friendly, you can then move on to what you do before you go to bed. Everybody’s pre sleep routine is different, but there are some basic things that I definitely recommend incorporating into your routine, and I’d like to share with you what I do. Also, when you start your routine is up to you but I recommend about 60-90 minutes before you plan to drift away to the land of nod. Also the time you will start your routine will be different each night, as you may have been for drinks with friends, or there maybe that final episode of your favourite TV programme that you just have to watch.

The first thing I do in my pre sleep routine is move myself away from blue light, which we have already discussed the pro’s and con’s of in a previous post. The reason for this is that the closer to sleep time I use blue light, generally the longer it takes me to switch off and drift off to sleep. It’s not just the blue light per se, but also the extra stimulation it can bring with it, such as bad news of an incident somewhere, or that email that comes in right before I need to go to sleep that I am thinking about and cannot possibly leave until morning to answer (and then find myself waiting for a reply that doesn’t come!). The easiest way around this is to simply ‘switch off’ which includes TV, computers and mobile phones. This way I have a good 60-90 minutes to process the last piece of information I had while using blue light and hopefully I will be at peace with whatever this is, which means I will find it much easier to go to sleep.

Equally, on the subject of blue light, I also start to shut out daylight which is a big source of blue light, to tell my body that it is time to start winding down. We have heavy lined curtains in every room in our flat so this is easy. We then tend to do things by candle lights or by dimmer light, to get the melatonin flowing, and to make the mind and body feel sleepy. Also, tooth brushing by candlelight is far more romantic than under the harsh light in the bathroom!

The beginning of my bedtime routine is also the time I am thinking about having m last caffeinated drink, if I am going to have one (which is hardly every these days). I don’t want that late cup of tea to keep me awake.

Next I move onto thinking about what I have on the next day. If I am working I generally try to sort out my lunch (which I’ve been terrible at recently) as well as getting the kids bags packed for school and uniforms ready. Do not underestimate the difference this makes to my day. I write a list of all those things I ABSOLUTELY MUSN’T FORGET on the notepad that sits on my bedside table. This tends to happen gradually as the evening goes on and as things pop into my head. By jotting them down I won’t be keeping myself awake telling myself that I musn’t forget. Some days the list is bigger than others!

I usually tend to potter around in this time too, maybe doing the washing up so I don’t have to face it in the morning, with some gentle music in my ears, or loading the washing machine ready to go in the morning. The key is to keep it mundane, the more simple and quite frankly boring the task, the better!

When I have either finished everything there is to do, or simply can’t be bothered to do anymore (which is dependant on the type of day I have had), I then think about getting ready to actually go to bed. I take off my make up, brush my teeth, have one last small drink of water, and go to the toilet, so that I don’t have to pee in the night.

Then it is into bed, and depending on how tired I feel, how much time I have or what kind of day I have had, I may do some mindfulness to de stress, do some reading (but not crime or horror!), or ask my husband to give me a massage if my pain is particularly bad.

By the time I have done all of this, I am generally very sleepy and finding it really hard to even keep my eyes open, in fact I often fall asleep during my mindfulness. I may be reading and the words become blurry because I am on the cusp of falling to sleep. This is the time, to seize the opportunity, to close my eyes and (hopefully) have sweet dreams.

I hope you have found this post useful, please do share your tips for settling down for a good nights sleep in the comments below, or over on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, I would love to hear from you!


 

Sleep Hygiene

The Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles #6 – It isn’t always a good night

Welcome back to another instalment of the fibromyalgia sleep chronicles. I will get back to business on sleeping tips in the coming weeks, but for today there is something more personal that I wanted to share with you about my sleep and how I cope when it doesn’t quite go how we all dream it would (excuse the pun).

If you have read the previous posts in this series then you will be familiar with my slight obsession with good sleep hygiene and habits in order to improve sleep (if you haven’t read them then I recommend you start with this post when you have finished reading what I have to share today).

However, my obsession with these habits isn’t just a phase, nor an unhealthy obsession. It is my personal recipe for getting things right. Not only practising these techniques, but also understanding why you should employ them, helps you to have a better relationship with sleep, and also not panic when things don’t go right. I’d also like to add that you don’t have to suffer with fibromyalgia to benefit from these techniques, you just need to be someone who would like to sleep better.

My sleep today, without boasting, is a thousand times better than it was 6 months ago, and treating my sleep like the third element of health, along with diet and exercise, has benefitted me enormously. This does mean that I am very quiet and boring of an evening (but this suits my better half as he has early starts so no problem there) and it doesn’t mean that I always get it right, and that I sleep soundly and deeply every night.

Life gets in the way. Children wake up in the night feeling unwell or after a bad dream. I get sick. God forbid I have an alcoholic drink. That’s right, things aren’t all rosy and it isn’t always a good night for me.

Take for example these last few days. Friday morning I woke up with back/loin pain, but put it down to a change of role at work which entailed more sitting than usual. I took in my hot water bottle, made myself move around a little more and thought I would get better. Friday night I slept dreadfully. Saturday also dreadful (partly down to having some rum, don’t judge), and by Sunday I realised that the back pain wasn’t because of my job but because I was developing a nasty kidney infection (which is now being treated). Pair this with a child that then woke up on Sunday night and by Monday I was more tired than when I finished work on Friday. This morning, I had to pretty much winch myself out of bed.

What I haven’t done however is give up hope of a good nights sleep, and I absolutely haven’t stopped practising the tried and tested techniques that I know work so well for me. I haven’t judged this blip and thought to myself “I don’t know why I bother because nothing works”, or “I’m too tired to do that tonight”. Instead I have carried on.

But how do you carry on? Well, its difficult and takes a lot of willpower that I know you all have. When all you want to do come morning is lay in bed, I urge you to absolutely get up and continue you day as much as you can, without making yourself more ill. Take a hard look at what could be the trigger for sleep eluding you at that moment and do all you can to remedy it. What has changed? Can you make it better? If you can, do so immediately. Most importantly you have to continue doing what you know works so well and keep up the good habits. By doing this, given time, it will start to improve again and today will soon be a distant memory.

Another key aspect to any ‘bumps in the road’ is acceptance. 6 months ago I used to get up and tell myself what a terrible night I had spent in the sack. I would tell everybody about it, and blame everything that went wrong that day on how poorly I had slept. I would flop into bed the following night EXPECTING to sleep badly again, and so I did.

Today I got up and thought to myself “well that was crap” and then I moved on. I didn’t allow it to invade my day, and I didn’t give it the airtime it doesn’t deserve. I wouldn’t say I ignored it as such, but I acknowledged the poor sleep, had a think about why it happened and I took proactive steps to remedy that problem, in the confidence that the next night stands every chance of being better. Sometimes it isn’t better, sometimes it is much worse, but at least I know I am doing something about it, and that I am in control. I will go to bed happy tonight, that I have achieved everything I can today, continue my sleep hygiene and aim for a good nights sleep. I have accepted the sleep for what it is, I haven’t over analysed it, yet done nothing and expect it to get magically better. I hasten to add that this has taken an awful lot of practice, and much more trial and error than I care to mention.

I know that changes to long forged habits are incredibly difficult to do and for anyone who has suffered with sleep problems these habits are your coping mechanism. Its often difficult for any chronic condition to know where to begin. As I have said in previous posts you have to take it one step at a time, not making too many changes at once. With this is mind start with the very beginning of this series spend at least a week looking at where you could perhaps have room to make improvements. This may include speaking to your doctor, family and friends to gain their support.

Eventually the good night comes, and when it does I give the biggest thanks I possibly can for its return. It feels amazing and feels even more fantastic knowing that it came back because of what I did, and through sheer determination, not magic.

Sleep Hygiene

The Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles #5 – Wakey Wakey Rise and Shine

Good evening and welcome back to this weeks instalment of the Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles. This week we will be looking at the benefits of a constant wake time, and how you should decide what that wake time should be.


The first active step I took in improving my sleep was to decide on what time I should get up every morning. Before making this decision both my sleep and wake times were all over the place and my body had pretty much forgotten how to sleep properly (it also forgot last night), and when you are dealing with fibromyalgia symptoms, sleep is key. Without even a hint of decent sleep, my days are full of pain, tiredness, brain fog and anxiety. With sleep, the ‘normal’ Sarah makes more of an appearance, which is the case on most days. When I have bad days, my worst of which usually follow a bad night in the sack, I’m pretty much walking through mud and thinking about going back to bed all day. My brain forgets how to connect with my mouth, and my pain drives me to distraction. OK when you are at home, absolutely not OK when you are at work.

So why choose a constant wake up time, and how do you decide what time it should be?

Our bodies love, and actually crave a constant wake up time. If you cast your mind back to when we spoke about circadian rhythms in this post, you will remember that our bodies need to find their rhythms and a constant wake up time is a good anchor point for getting your circadian hormones in sync. By waking and getting up into the daylight (see this post) at the same time every day (and yes that includes weekends) you are telling your body that it is time to get up and time to start your day. Over time your body will naturally begin to suppress your sleepy hormones while you sleep in preparation for your wake up time, which should mean that when you wake up you aren’t quite as groggy as you have been accustomed to, most likely because you have been woken up mid sleep cycle (you can find out more about sleep cycles here). Initially you will more than likely need an alarm to wake you up, but after time you will probably find that you will naturally wake up close to when your alarm is due to go off (although I would still set an alarm just in case!).

Without a constant waking time our bodies become confused, they don’t know when they should be sleeping and when they should be awake, and this is one of the best ways to lend you body a helping hand. Once you are getting up at the same time each day you should notice that you pretty much start to feel tired at the same time each day due to your body secreting all of the right hormones to send you the cues that you should start thinking about sleep. But how do you decide what time is the best time for you to get up?

Firstly, take a look at this post to find out what type of person you are. Are you a morning person or are you an evening person? You should try to factor this in to your wake up time where there is flexibility to, as it is probably not much good setting a time that is very early in the morning if you are more of an evening person. However, employment may dictate your wake up time in which case, short of looking for a new job that starts later, you may just need to suck it up. However, you may find that you become more of a morning person over time.

Secondly, you should take a look at an average week for your lifestyle, do you work? Do you have children that you need to get up an ready for school? The best advice is to pick the earliest possible time you need to be up and stick to it. This time should ideally be 90 minutes to 2 hours before you need to be at work if you do work, or before you have to be mentally on the ball for anything else. I’ll give you an example –

The first thing I have to do in the mornings is get my children up for school. They usually get up at around 7am. Knowing that there is no hope in hell of having a shower and fixing my mug once they are up (or it would be a massive rush which kind of goes against the grain of controlling fibromyalgia), I know that I need to get up before that point. I start work at 10am on weekdays and 8am on weekends. I have therefore made my wake up time 6.15am. On a weekday this gives me enough time to get myself up and accept the fact that morning has come (I am not a morning person) before my little larks are awake full of the joys of spring, and by the time they do I am usually over my morning sulk. On a weekend this is plenty of time to get myself up and out the door to make the journey to work, be there with a little time to spare and not feel stressed before I even get to work because I have been rushing.

Honestly, doing this has been one of the biggest things in turning my sleep around, with some frustrating exceptions. As I’ve always said, my sleep isn’t perfect but it is a million times better than it was before I started paying more attention to my sleep hygiene. Also, this is a nice gentle way of making a change without the use of medication which is important to me.

For those of you that are new to these posts I would encourage you to ready the first four posts before embarking on making this change –

The fibromyalgia sleep chronicles – Time to (try to) sleep

The Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles #2 – What is normal sleep?

The Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles #3 – The effect of blue light on sleep

The Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles #4 – I am not a morning person

Lastly I would like to add that this advice is not just aimed at fibromyalgia warriors, but anybody who make be struggling with sleep disturbances.

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This post along with many more inspirational posts than mine can be found at The Fibro Blogger Directory

Toodle Pip!