Chronic illness, Fibromyalgia, Invisible illness, Sleep, Uncategorised, Yoga Nidra

How are you #sleeping?…

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A few simple changes can make a difference to your quality of sleep. I know this from first hand experience, having suffered from poor unrefreshing sleep for years, due to fibromyalgia.

After weeks of not sleeping the body’s functions become impaired making it extremely difficult to function in a normal way. (Whatever normal is for a fibromyalgia sufferer). 

“If you’re thinking, I don’t have fibromyalgia, it’s still worth giving these suggestions a try.”

“Insomnia, fatigue and pain are all part of life if you live with fibromyalgia.” The symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as fatigue and pain are all made worse with poor quality sleep.

Over time I’ve found some solutions that have helped me get a better nights sleep. Obviously, there’s no one size fits all with these suggestions. That said, it’s still worth giving them a go. Just being aware what might work is useful.

On occasions I still find I have some problems sleeping but I can solve these more effectively than previously.

Common problems experienced range from:

  • getting to sleep
  • staying asleep until morning
  • waking during the night
  • getting back to sleep after waking up

Have a look at the following suggestions for improving your sleep

  • Go for regular exercise every morning, lunchtime or evening, for example by walking 

  • Check your bedroom temperature and lighting are beneficial for sleep 

  • Adjust your bed and pillows to make it as comfy as possible 

  • Invest in a electric blanket to warm the bed before you get in and help relax muscles 

  • Avoid smoking, over eating or drinking caffeine directly before bedtime 

My top tips for getting to sleep

  • Help your mind wind down for the day
  • Get into a regular sleep routine for adjusting your Circadian rhythm, try to get up at the same time every day
  • Turn off all devices that emit blue light an hour before bedtime
  • Read a relaxing book or listen to gentle music
  • Try a meditation, for example yoga nidra to help you to get to sleep 
  • Use ear plugs and a eye mask to block unwanted noise and light
  • Get into a comfortable sleep position and then try a relaxation routine 

Whilst you are asleep make sure your room doesn’t have a device left switched on, that will wake you like a mobile phone.

A pet that sleeps in your bedroom and disturbs you in the night, should be encouraged to sleep elsewhere.

If you wake in the night and cannot get back to sleep get up and find something that makes you drowsy like reading or a yoga nidra sleep meditation then return to bed.

If you find by morning you have not had enough sleep go back to bed and sleep for a while longer. If you catch up with a couple of hours sleep every night you will see the difference after a few months.

I recently read several articles which mentioned vitamin D (sunlight) exposure daily in the morning shortly after rising can help and mindfulness meditation both improved the quality of sleep for fibromyalgia sufferers. 

I believe this to be true because I usually get up and do a daily walk every morning and this regulates my circadian rhythm over the next 24 hours. It’s more important to get up at the same time every day than the time I go to sleep. 

I’ve found improvements in my concentration and ability to switch off at night after practicing regular Meditation on a daily basis. Explore meditation apps for sessions covering mindfulness and sleep. Have a look at my Fibromyalgia Self Help pages on  Meditation and  Exercise

If you have insomnia and it’s not necessarily fibromyalgia related, get it checked out by your doctor or health professional. If they prescribe sleeping pills it would be advisable to be referred to see a specialist sleep consultant.

Have a look at the  NHS sleep self assessment  to determine how good your sleep is.  From this link you will find some helpful information about sleep.

Chronic illness, Diet, Exercise, Fibromyalgia, Invisible illness, Meditation, Uncategorised

I have #fibromyalgia…

adorable animal breed canine
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Fibromyalgia affects around 1 in 20 people. Although most people have no idea what fibromyalgia is; let alone what it’s like to live with.

So, here’s a brief guide for anyone who doesn’t know anything about fibromyalgia.

What is fibromyalgia?

Its a long term chronic health condition characterised by pain. The pain ranges in severity on a daily basis from mild symptoms to severe pain in changing areas of the body.

The main symptoms are:

Pain throughout the whole body 

Joints and muscles feel stiff

Quality of sleep can be poor

Feeling tired and fatigued 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Extreme Sensitivity 

Cognitive problems, feeling confused, or dazed, sometimes called Fibro fog

Headaches

Depression 

Anxiety 

Painful periods in women 

The symptoms can vary from person to person.

Symptoms can get better or worse from time to time.

Factors that influence this are:

  • the amount of stress you are experiencing 
  • how much daily exercise you have
  • and changes in climate and temperature 

Further information is available on the NHS website.              

If you think you may be suffering from fibromyalgia, consult your doctor or health professional. They will run a variety of tests to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition.

There’s no cure….Yes you did read that correctly; there’s no cure, but…

I’ve lived with fibromyalgia for 15 years and found some times are really tough.

The single most upsetting factor for me has been other people’s perception of ‘living with fibromyalgia’. They almost always get it wrong. So, if you meet someone who has fibromyalgia, tread carefully. Don’t jump to conclusions about how they feel. Listen to them. After all they are living with it on a daily basis.

The positives are my symptoms are still there, but have improved greatly since I was first diagnosed.

I have been able to boost my general health through diet, exercise  and meditation .

This is a short post about symptoms, living with fibromyalgia is another story…

If you would like to read more about what helped me, follow my blog and have a look at my Fibromyalgia Self Help Pages.

Blog, Poetry, Uncategorised, Writing

Visit to Fountains Abbey

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Fountains Abbey Photo by Nick

Revisiting a favourite place….Fountains Abbey, Ripon, North Yorkshire.

Visit to Fountains Abbey

 

Long distances we have travelled,

To experience this monastic splendour,

As we arrive, on this warm September day,

 

Pausing at the visitor centre,

Route mapped out by a welly clad woman,

Our journey starts on its final descent,

 

We are unaware of what lies ahead,

Into view appears an amazing sight,

A magnificent ruined abbey,

 

Explorers we become at last,

Amongst colossal columns and Gothic arches,

 

Reaching up with dizzying heights,

Shards of brilliant white sunlight,

Shine through vast windows,

 

Suddenly a flock of Jackdaws take flight,

Circling the tower in swathes of blackness,

Beyond a backdrop of brilliant blue sky,

 

Happiness engulfs our being,

Is it possible we are experiencing reality?

Or dreaming?

Poem by Nick

For more information about visiting this world heritage site, have a look at the link below.

Fountains Abbey National Trust website

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Fountains Abbey Photo by Nick

Alice in Wonderland, Blog, Lewis Carroll, Oxford, Poetry, Uncategorised, Writing

Looking back…

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In the next few weeks I’m taking a break.  In the meantime, I will be revisiting some of my favourite posts and hopefully yours as well.

I will be back to writing  fresh new posts again soon.

In the meantime I’m…

Dreaming of Spring 

Whenever I think of spring it reminds me of visiting the University town of Oxford in England.

Described as the ‘city of dreaming spires’ by poet Matthew Arnold, because of the amazing architecture of the university buildings. 

It’s an inspiring place; author Lewis Carroll wrote his famous novel Alice in Wonderland here in 1862.

The story is based on a girl called Alice who follows a white rabbit into a rabbit hole and arrives in wonderland.

During her adventure she goes to a mad tea party in chapter seven, or more popularly know as the Mad Hatters tea party.

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to fall down a rabbit hole and explore wonderland for yourself? Inspired by the tea party; I’ve written my own short story based on this idea.

Two Versions of an Amazing Dream by Nick 

A strong smell of tarmac rises from the ground. 

“Yes, that blue teapot tastes good, its made from blue chocolate!” 

From a car window a teacup is thrust out,

“Lovely tea dear, one sugar or two?” 

The ground is hazy, full of green, large, grass; it smells fresh.

Food spread over the grass; doughnuts with jam, pies covered in cream and a red jelly cake with a palm tree in the middle.

A recognisable face dressed as a orange bear eating pies. Cream all over his face. A clown face looks directly at her and disappears in clouds of cream. 

“Pies everywhere I go; I can see pies raining from the sky” Cream covers her, she can feel it on her nose.

Jane looks again at a large pillow. She is awake.

***********

As Jane walks along in the park a stranger rushes up to her and says

“Yes that blue china teapot tastes good, you have a similar one to mine, it was made of blue chocolate. All I can say is it tasted good, when can you bring me another to try?”

A car pulls up next to Jane, the window winds down and a passenger passes her a cup of tea.

 “Lovely tea, dear, one sugar or two?”

Jane’s vison blurs, she shuts her eyes, opens them, and notices in front of her a mass of green, huge blades of grass. 

She is laying on the grass now and in front of her is an amazing picnic. Doughnuts oozing with jam, pies covered in cream, and a red jelly cake in the middle decorated with a pineapple. 

Her friend’s face is visible. He seems to have turned into a giant orange bear and he is hungrily tucking into a pie, covering him in cream. Next to him an inflatable clown snatches the cream pie from his hands and hurls it into the air. The clown shouts 

“Pies, Pies everywhere I go, I can see pies raining from the sky” 

The cream lands all over everything. Jane notices a large blob of cream on the end of her nose. She tries to wipe it off with a tissue and finds she can’t.

Jane moves her head and looks down at a large pillow, she is lying in bed and has woken up. What a crazy dream, did I really dream that!

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