Today is my son Harrison's 9th birthday! I will post this entry, do laundry, straighten the house, shower and prepare for the day ahead. I will a majority of my morning feeling a bit tired as I struggle with sleep and getting the rest I need.
Last week I had a sleep study done in which shockingly I slept pretty good. It was an interesting night. I got there at 9pm and Jodi, the woman in charge for the evening took me to a room much like a any average hospital room, except this was inside a small children's hospital and one of only two beds in the sleep study area. In the next room over there was a two year old. I filled out tons of paperwork and then Jodi hooked me up to 32 wires all over my body with the majority on my head. We did calibrations in which she went into an adjoining room with computers and said over the microphone "Okay, now move your right foot, now your left, look up with your eyes only, now down", etc. I watched boring TV for about 30 minutes after taking my sleeping meds and I was out like a light, at least until she came to adjust the wires, which happened 2 -3 times throughout. At 4:45 I awoke completely and I had to stay until 5am where we did calibrations again and then I was allowed to leave. I should hear something this week about the results, but I wonder how weird they will be because I didn't wake up at one or two and stay up for hours in the middle of the night like I usually do. I had four meetings that day and only 4 hours of sleep the night before and so I am sure that all contributed to a good nights sleep there. I wondered which direction the hospital bed faced. South was the answer and so even though it sounds strange I have even been considering moving the positioning of our bed as we face west. Another thought is not sleeping with a snoring hubby and possibly moving in with my daughter Hope, as her comfortable bed with the fan directly above her bed is wonderful. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
It's not just how much sleep you get but also the quality. Normal sleep occurs in cycles and most people get 5 - 6 cycles in a night. Each cycle lasts 60 - 90 minutes ands has two parts. The first part has four stages with three and four being the most restful. REM (rapid eye movement) happens in the second cycle and this is where if you get awakened you'll likely remember vivid dreams although you don't have to be in REM. Sleep and dreams are absolutely necessary for good mental health. It's really like food and water for your mind.
Okay, so how can you get good sleep?
Start your day right. Most experts think that exercise should be a part of your morning routine and that at least 30 minutes of cardio activity should help with sleep later. I want to get a treadmill so I can do that more easily. Don't exercise within three hours of bedtime.
Eat early. Eat your dinner four hours before you go to bed and eat a modest healthy meal. I have noticed that when I eat beef which I limit because of cancer that I don't sleep as well. I think it's because it takes so long for your body to process.
Shut out the light at night. This has been a big one for me. I still don't have blackout curtains and we have lived here for 5 years! Anyways, turn out all of the lights, shut the curtains (use blackout curtains if you can), and turn the alarm clock and radio lights around or cover them up. Watching the time is a bad habit to get in because you want to sleep but you keep thinking about the time and how you are still up.
Get a message from your spouse. You can use oils and hands or get a small handheld massager from a store like the Sharper Image or Brookstone. I hardly ever have Mark do this now but during rough patches of little sleep I'll ask for a 5 minute massage for relaxation.
Take a warm bath. adding soothly bath smells like lavender are helpful. Epsom salt has magnesium which relaxes the body and helps.
Have a routine. If you think about relaxing and being peaceful you can concentrate on the things that make you restful and try to do them consistently. I wish was better at this one. Occasionally I have good runs that last a week or so. I'll say okay it's time to prepare for bed now; no more running around. I'll get a small mug of tea (usually sleepy time type of teas) and read in bed for a while and then shut off the lights after a specific period of time. Of course I took my holistic sleep meds too.
Listen to nature One thing that helped me a bunch was getting the TV out of the bedroom and putting in rain music with thunderstorms instead. Each night we turn it on and it helps so much. Music, even classical wasn't good for me. I would even think about the composers and what I knew of their lives and how they were thinking when they composed the piece and it would just be a mess because my thoughts were everywhere! nature is calming and peaceful. You can buy a sound machine where you can pick rainfall, the beach, the tropics and more.
Okay so I have run out of time. Harrison actually woke up and so I'll write part three of Sleep is so important soon.
I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Her2 positive breast cancer Dec. 27th, 2011. I had three large tumors in my left breast, I also had two positive lymph nodes and so with 5 positive biopsies I started my journey. In the beginning, it was a whirlwind and within a week, I was getting a port and preparing for chemo and the rush to save my life was on. Eight months later (August 20th) after stopping chemo (12 sessions) and not having surgery (a suggested double mastectomy) or radiation like my doctors wanted me to, I sat at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Illinois and heard the results of a mammogram, MRI, Pet Scan and blood tests were that they could find no cancer in my body. The nurses and doctors were baffled and no one could explain how I could have had this terrible cancer and it was now gone, except for me. I said the Lord healed me through prayers, education, diet and supplements. I started this blog when I was first diagnosed, it is not just about on cancer, but my life and day-to-day thoughts and activities. There are suggested websites, blogs, videos and more here that I believe can benefit those dealing with cancer and those who want to be preventative. My hope is that you and yours will learn, be encouraged and healed. My family prays every night for those with cancer and that you will be not only be healed but that you will live long and happy lives.
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Love and Blessings on your journey.
Love and Blessings on your journey.