Disclosure: Affiliate link included. All opinions are 100% my own.
I’ve had the hardest time sleeping the last couple of days! Two nights ago, I woke up over and over, just to return to my nightmares. I was very hot and finally woke about 5 am with my nose completely closed.
I had felt a little stuffy in my sinuses, but used a prescription nasal spray before bed. This has always worked in the past. My usual routine is to use a spray and then hook up my CPAP and go straight to sleep. This time when I woke up I couldn’t get ANY air through my nose. It felt really weird. My nose hadn’t been runny, but my nose felt frozen even though it was dry.
This morning I finally got out of bed after struggling for three hours to sleep. I never could sleep well. I was hot, had a stuffy nose, and couldn’t get comfortable because of joint pain. I couldn’t breathe with my CPAP on again, so I just got up out of bed. I was getting concerned because of my covid exposure. I’ll be getting a test today, but won’t have the results for 1-2 days.
Hopefully, this is just another episode of bad dryness, caused by Sjogren’s Syndrome. Between that and all the pain I get from Sjogren’s, Fibromyalgia, and arthritis, sleep isn’t easy to come by. As all of us with chronic illness know, sleep problems are a chronic problem.
Without proper sleep, the body can’t rest and recover from the day. And our bodies need adequate sleep to be able to survive. Some days I may get 10 hours of sleep and on the bad days it may only be 3. Having consistent sleep is what I really long for.
Growing up as a boomer I was a stomach sleeper. We were raised to sleep on our tummies as babies and this felt good to me. Children now are being placed on their backs. Years ago, back sleeping became impossible for me because of my spine problems. The majority of adults sleep on their sides.
Sleeping on the side takes stress off of your back. I aim to sleep on my right side because it’s the most comfortable for me. We all have positions that feel better, based on: age, health conditions, injuries, or specific pains.
Cushions And Pillows
Over a lifetime, we all usually will try a variety of pillows or cushions in bed. Infants are put to bed with no pillows, of course. A standard pillow is usually the first choice for sleeping. If we have a cold or stuffy nose, we may prop our heads up with two or three pillows. A reading pillow is a comfortable way to read or study in bed.
Body pillows are comfortable for getting really cozy. There are also pregnancy pillows that can be a form of body pillow. These pillows make it so much easier to relax and sleep with a growing body. With age or illness we may purchase many different pillows to improve our sleep and rest.
One of the hardest thing to do is to sleep when you have sciatica pain. A pillow between legs sleep is the best way to relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sometimes we have to try quite a few of these before we find the perfect one.
Sleep disorders can be very common when you live with chronic illnesses. I have obstructive sleep apnea and a small amount of central apnea. These can be treated with CPAP or BIPAP machines. There are also orthodontic mouthpieces that people can wear when they sleep. I find the CPAP very comfortable (unless I am real stuffy). My sleep apnea is treated well with the machine.
Other sleep disorders are: Restless Legs Syndrome, Insomnia, and Narcolepsy. Restless legs can be caused by many medications or other reasons. Sometimes people have RLS because of an Iron deficiency. Medicines, such as muscle relaxants or nerve pain reducers (gabapentin) can be of help.
Insomnia can be caused by pain or stress. Before taking a sleep-inducing drug, it could be helpful to discuss your overall health with your physician and to have a sleep study.
Narcolepsy leaves the patient with excessive daytime sleepiness. It can cause one to just fall asleep at any time which is really devastating. There are two types of narcolepsy and treatments can be behavioral modifications or medications. Doctor’s goals with treatments are to increase quality of life and safety.
Since most of us with chronic illness have more than one health disorder, it’s likely that we have or will have a sleep problem at some point in our life. I hope that if you do, that you will be able to get quick and effective treatment.
@2021, copyright Lisa Ehrman
Disclaimer: I’m not a medical expert. This post contains my experiences and opinions and is not meant to be taken as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, please consult your personal physician.