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Getting the sleep you need?


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Sleep is really important to us and any disruption to your sleep pattern or quality can really affect how you feel and how you react to your situation. In the early days post haemorrhage you may find that you are sleeping most of the time.

The brain can become very irritated by the blood which is surrounding it and there is for many an overwhelming tiredness that presents itself for weeks or months.

I remember having a bath and then having to go to bed-at all times of the day. It was very frustrating …but quite normal under the circumstances! We are all individual as to how much sleep we need and people under normal circumstances can range from needing 4-10 hours with the average being around 7-8 hours. This may increase if you are under any degree of stress.

Having moved out of the early stages of a SAH when sleeping too much is more the norm! you may find that at varying times your sleep pattern is disturbed-It can be an anxious time and we can get any situation totally out of all proportion when we are suffering from a lack of quality sleep.

Here are some rules to try to help you achieve regular better sleep:-

  • Never oversleep
  • Try and set your body clock-Sleep and wake at a regular time.
  • Try and exercise and keep active-especially if you haven’t slept well.
  • Walking ,swimming and cycling are good.
  • Don’t be tempted to nap after losing sleep.
  • Maintain a regular bedtime-it can be as regular as the hours when you feel hunger.
  • If you have trouble sleeping and are getting only 5 hours then go to bed later initially with the aim of waking at “normal” time (so for 6am waking if possible go to bed at 1am or as late as you can make it)
  • When you have your 5 hours sleep move the going to bed time earlier the next night by 20-30 minutes and so on.
  • Try and establish a routine-Relax 30 minutes before going to bed-watch TV (something light)-listen to some relaxing music-take a long warm bath-some need a clean and tidy environment to sleep in-write a list of any must do items for tomorrow ..and relax!
  • Do some gentle stretching or relaxing techniques.
  • Eat 4 hours before you go to bed.
  • Some may find that a drink of warm milk or eat a slice of wheatbread or other carbohydrate may help.
  • Avoid Caffeine from late pm (tea/coffee/cola/chocolate)
  • Avoid red wines/cheddar cheese/imported beers and fermented meats such as pepperoni or salami.
  • Avoid alchohol as it gives a shallow disturbed sleep.
  • Avoid long term use of sleeping pills if possible as they give a disturbed sleep pattern.
  • A cool room (about 60F) is best .
  • Consider using ear plugs if noise wakes you easily.

What about Insomnia?

  • Well-worry and anxiety can increase our daily stresses. If you are awake and can’t sleep-Get up and do something-like write a letter-don’t eat, drink or smoke - go back to bed if you feel tired again.
  • If you are awake at 4 or 5am you may be better off getting up and starting your day-But do try not to fret too much about this.
  • Do try and maintain regular exercise and consider some form of stress management programme if you struggle.
  • Counselling or seeing a GP may help if things are really difficult.
  • If you are prescribed sleeping pills then try not to use them every night-If possible one night in 3 is a better option.
  • Use them through the difficult time then try and cut back.
  • Things like Nytol can be useful-but again not every night and do read the guidance on the box before using any drugs.
  • As an alternative there is a herbal variety of Nytol and other herbal remedies.

I hope you find this helpful but please seek professional advice if you are having prolonged difficulty.

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