Advice needed to get to sleep

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by Guest Posts on Mon Apr 04, 2022 3:54 pm

Advice needed to get to sleep

I have an overactive thyroid, two stomas, lymphoedema in my left leg, sciatica in my right leg and for some reason I can't get to sleep. I cannot get my body comfortable and I get constant twinges and pains in my legs which stop me getting to sleep. I also have the sound of my blood rushing in my ears which sounds really loud. I have tried one of those masks with sounds in but that has made no difference apart from losing money. Can you offer any advice to help at all please? (Bobbie)
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Dr Sarah Gilchrist
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by Dr Sarah Gilchrist on Thu Apr 07, 2022 9:19 am

Re: Advice needed to get to sleep

Hi Bobbie

I'm sorry to hear of your health issues. In the first instance I hope you are receiving medical advice for each of them as this will help in terms of your ability to get to and stay asleep. I would advise seeing your GP for a blood pressure assessment alongside the other ailments you describe.

There are a number of strategies that you could try to aid getting to sleep. I would advise trying one strategy at a time in order to know what works for you and what doesn't. Sleep is highly individualised, so what works for one person doesn't work for another.

In addition to medical input you can try the following:

A good sleep routine, same bed time and get up time overall throughout the week. Accept life can get in the way and sometimes this is unrealistic but on the whole aim for a regular sleep routine.

Relaxation techniques e.g. breathing exercises, mindfulness, podcasts (try Nodcast), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT is an umbrella term for a host of therapies proven to help improve sleep. Find a therapist that works for you and a technique you can adhere to if you are going to trial this route.

Good nutrition and hydration throughout the day, but particularly avoid caffeine after lunchtime and alcohol or a large meal before bedtime.

Seek daylight throughout the day

If you can try some light exercise in the day or not too close before bedtime.

Journal writing is a popular method of getting thoughts out of your head to allow you to fall asleep.

Avoid screens close to bedtime. Leave your phone in another room and switch off the TV.
Avoid anxiety inducing news etc., if this is a trigger to keep you awake.

If you can't get to sleep for 30 minutes, get up and try some relaxation techniques/read/listen to relaxing music in a dimly lit room. When you feel sleepy, return to bed.

You may benefit from some pain management too but you will need to take medial advice on this.

Hopefully some medical treatment for your conditions will allow more comfort so you can get to sleep which may also be helped by some of the strategies outlined.
Dr Sarah Gilchrist
Specialist in sleep and athletic performance ... -gilchrist

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