On Sleep and Chronic Illness


Sleep. What an interesting and topical topic. Seeing as sleep is essential for the functioning of the immune system and many people are struggling to sleep right now because of anxiety associated with the pandemic, I figured I should write about sleep and how to help with sleep as someone with chronic illness.

I feel like us spoonies struggle with sleep in two different ways. We either sleep too much (hypersomnia) or just cannot sleep (insomnia). Personally I struggle to stick to a normal 9-5 working sleeping pattern due to pain and nausea and because my ME seems to like the hours from 9pm onwards more and hates early morning rising. Many times I’ve gone into work on 4 hours sleep or less. I can easily sleep 10+ hours a night and have naps throughout the day when I’m in a flare. So I guess I go both ways…

Sleep is essential and not having enough of it can make it that much harder to get through the day or make us hyper tired and delerious and then crash later. So if your in the camp that is struggling to get to sleep at night or struggling to get to sleep early enough because your body clock is just against that 9-5 life then here’s a few tips.

  1. Have a wind down routine Although some people can just switch off and yeah I can sometimes, most people can’t. Be it having a hot bath, doing some yoga, reading a book, watching some TV or a combination of the above a wind down routine is essential for a good nights sleep.
  2.  Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. If you work I’m sure you’ll relate to not sleeping great on a Sunday night because you slept in over the weekend. Going to bed and getting up at the same time can have a demonstrable impact on your sleep.
  3. Sleep tea/night tea can help. I drink the Pukka brand of night tea.
  4. Don’t stress about not being able to get to sleep. For some it helps to get up and do something and for others it doesn’t.
  5. If you can,  spend your day somewhere other than your bed, and ideally your bedroom.
  6.  If you have night meds to take that may help you sleep take them in good time. This does two things, helps you fall asleep on time and means you feel less drowsy in the morning.
  7. I listen to podcasts/audio books to go to sleep, I find this helps occupy my brain whilst I’m trying to sleep.
  8. Putting lavender oil on your pillowcase is known to help with sleep
  9.  Try to limit your caffeine intake, especially past early afternoon!
  10. Finally, if you struggle with sleep because of pain try putting pillows under in-between different body parts (For example in-between your legs)

I hope this has proven helpful, there are many other tips and tricks floating around but I wanted to keep it to 10. What helps you sleep?


7 thoughts on “On Sleep and Chronic Illness

  1. simplywendi April 15, 2020 / 2:56 pm

    very good information. for me, a noise machine is extremely helpful….

  2. Sam April 15, 2020 / 5:01 pm

    Some good tips on what to do there, a nightly routine and trying to sleep and get up at the same time have been the most helpful for me. Also means I tend to get 10 or 11 hours a night which is what my body seems to need thanks to my CFS.

  3. https://tamarakulish.com/ April 15, 2020 / 11:14 pm

    Great ideas! I’ve been taking CBD capsules for pain and for my immune system. I take less during the day but more at night as it’s calming and helps reduce pain to allow for a better night’s rest.

    I’ve also found that taking B complex vitamins during the day helps my immune system but taken too late in the day has an energizing effect much like caffeine and interrupts my ability to fall asleep!

    Taking fish oils at night is calming and helps my immune system to heal.

    Some supplements are better taken during the day, while others are very beneficial at night! Sometimes just shifting the time of day to take them can make a huge difference!

    Be well everyone!

    Peace, Tamara

    • Spooonielivingfree April 16, 2020 / 8:20 pm

      That’s interesting about taking supplements at the right time of day!

      • https://tamarakulish.com/ April 16, 2020 / 9:39 pm

        Found it out by trial and error!! 😛

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