Don’t Let This Post Keep You Up…

I love my sleep. When I can get it. When I can’t, it becomes my worst enemy; ever elusive, avoiding all attempts at capture and making for a rough ride the following day. I’m going to start by getting the Diabetes aspect out of the way by pointing out that blood sugar levels can affect the quality of your sleep and amount and quality of sleep you get can affect your blood sugars levels. Seriously. It’s an annoying yin yang effect. We good? Because I totally intend on focusing on the sleep aspect and not so much the Diabetes aspect, for a change.

I think we’ve all been there. You spend the majority of your day in a slump, yawning and wishing that your office had a nap pod in the break room. But that’s seldom the reality, and you tough it out until you can get home. You struggle your way through supper, spend some time with the family before finally reaching the day’s finish line and crawl into your haven of slumber. Then, because life doesn’t care about one’s plans, your eyes crash open with the sound of broken glass and stay that way despite your best efforts. No matter how tired you feel, sleep has eluded you and doesn’t seem inclined to come back. What can you do?

I’d love to say I have some all-encompassing solution to these types of problems, but I really don’t. All the articles I’ve read, even from my favourite medical sources, talk about insomnia, which is an actual condition as opposed to simply having a sleepless night. But there are some gems that I’ve gleamed from a few different places that everyone should generally accept as common sense. The first and most prominent one is to cut caffeine intake shortly before supper. Unless your intention is to actually stay awake, you should not consume tea, coffee or caffeinated beverages beyond 4 p.m.

Good sleep habits can help, which include but are not limited to maintaining a routine for bedtime so your body recognizes that it’s “that time,” avoiding smart devices or screens for a period of time before bed and not eating heavy meals for many hours prior to dropping your head on the pillow. Hutu assuming that you’ve done all of that and find yourself glaring at the sheep you were tying to count as they laugh at your inability to close your eyes, what should your next step be? There are a few things that you can try, presuming that your sleeplessness isn’t medically-related…

First of all, don’t try to force your sleep. The harder you try and “force” yourself to sleep, the more awake you’ll become. If you see that you’re awake and simply can’t fall under, make your peace with that and physically get out of bed. Go read in another room until you get tired and can fall asleep. Look out the window at the stars. Try to avoid backlit screens or televisions as these won’t help and will just wake you further. Once you start feeling sleepy, simply make your way back to your bedroom and crash.

Breathing exercises and a white noise machine are usually helpful for me. Given my propensity for meditation, there are a number fo breathing exercises I know that can help lower heart rate, clam my body and make my body receptive to the sleep process. However, this doesn’t always work. White noise machines are a godsend and aren’t very expensive. I use an app on my phone called “Noisli,” which includes variations of white, pink and brown noise as well as a variety of soothing sounds such as rain, thunder, railroad tracks and such. The best part is being able to combine sounds, set timers and even some mild ambient glowing colours to help send you off to Layla land.

I once wrote a full post on the use and effects of white noise and why it actually works. But after almost a thousand posts, I can’t recall what it was entitled and can’t seem to find it. WebMD has some pretty good articles if you search “white noise” in their search bar. But if you haven’t tried to use white noise to help you sleep, take my word and try it. That shit works wonders! Barring those things, make sure your blood sugars are level and that there isn’t anything weighing on your mind. If someone external is stressing you out, it can be more difficult to overcome. After all, stress is stress, despite the fact you should do what you can to reduce it.

Sleep is important. You need it for all sorts of reasons and even though having one sleepless night isn’t the end of the world, you should speak with your doctor if you start to notice you have more restless or sleepless nights than restful ones. Although I’m not an advocate of it, personally, don’t ignore or fight pain. If something in your body hurts, you have a headache, heartburn or stomach pains, take something over-the-counter to help mitigate that pain to help you sleep. Last but not least and as is the case with most things in life, regular exercise and proper diet will go a long way towards helping to stem problems. Diet can help with stomach and heartburn issues that can keep you up at night and regular exercise will improvise blood flow and help tire you out by the end of the day. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go grab a nap…☯️

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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