06.21.2016

5 unusual things to improve your sleep

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This article on “5 Unusual Things to Improve Sleep” first published on NationalPainReport.com. It is being republished here with permission from the editor. 

Struggling to sleep? Read about five unusual things to improve sleep!

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Nonrestorative sleep is one of the primary symptoms of fibromyalgia. But words like “nonrestorative” and “unrefreshing” don’t adequately describe fibromyalgia sleep.

Instead, I like to reference one of my hubby’s favorite TV shows when I try to explain to healthy people what I feel like when I wake up in the morning. I call it “The Walking Dead” kind of tired. If you’ve ever watched the way those zombies shuffle along and gurgle, that’s a pretty good representation of me in the morning.

Well, it turns out those of us with fibromyalgia have reason to be tired. Last year, Dr. Victor Rosenfeld from SouthCoast Health in Savannah, Georgia, published a study, which found alpha waves in the brains of fibromyalgia patients during sleep. Alpha waves are created by the brain when awake, but they’re not supposed to show up when we’re sleeping.

During a TV interview, Rosenfeld said, “In essence, people with fibromyalgia are pulling an all-nighter every single night.”

Yep, that’s about how it feels.

If I’m going to be pulling an all-nighter without knowing it, then at least I want to have some fun doing it, so today I thought I would share a few unusual things I’ve read about (and a couple I’ve used personally) to help improve sleep.

Weighted blanket

When I was a child, we lived in a drafty old farmhouse, and on particularly cold nights, my mom would put a heavy blanket on top of my other bedding. It was stifling and comforting all at the same time. Now I know why.

That extra weight is a form of deep pressure touch stimulation, a therapy that increases serotonin and an overall sense of well-being.

Some companies are now selling blankets weighted down with pockets of plastic poly pellets. The added weight supposedly gives a “warm hug” to the body.

At least two studies have confirmed weighted blankets are effective at relieving anxiety, and they’ve been used to improve sleep of patients with autism, restless legs, Alzheimer’s and other conditions.

Update, 10/11/17: If you’re interested in learning more, check out this article I wrote about using weighted blankets for fibromyalgia. 

Honey and salt

I first saw this hack on Pinterest. It says to mix honey (preferably raw) and Himalayan salt, then take a spoonful before bed. This concoction is supposed to stabilize blood sugar levels so you’re less likely to get that 4 a.m. wakeup call and not be able to fall back to sleep.

I tried it a couple of nights and didn’t see a difference, but I have some fibro friends who swear by this trick.

Soap

A few months into my fibro diagnosis, I developed a nasty case of restless legs syndrome. The culprit? Amitriptyline, the antidepressant my doctor had given me to help me sleep. Oh, the irony!

I didn’t want to add another prescription medication for restless legs to fix the problem caused by the Amitriptyline, so I went online to look for home remedies, and Pinterest came to the rescue again!

If you unwrap a bar of soap and put it near your feet at the end of the bed, it’s supposed to calm restless legs. Yep, I know how loony that sounds! But I tried it, and it worked! My husband still makes fun of me for it, but it was a cheap solution to a troubling problem.

I know it was probably just the placebo effect, but a whole lot of other people also claim it’s worked for them, too.

ASMR

If you thought I was nutty for putting soap at the end of my bed, then I’m probably going to lose all credibility when I tell you I like to watch videos of people whispering and touching things. ASMR videos are one of my best-kept secrets for better sleep.

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, and it refers to that tingling sensation that you feel in your scalp or the back of your neck when you hear someone talk or touch objects in a certain way. Not everyone experiences the actual ASMR sensation, but everyone can benefit from the relaxing aspects of watching ASMR videos – if you can get past the weirdness of it.

On nights when I can’t fall asleep, I cue up some of my favorite YouTube videos from Maria, the queen of ASMR. Her soft Russian accent helps lull me to sleep. Wise Woman Whispers is another ASMR favorite. Yep, I know it’s strange, but it works every time.

The Rabbit book

A lot of us read before turning in for the night. Now there’s a book that claims it can actually put us to sleep. I haven’t read “The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep” myself, but one of my fibro friends reviewed it a few months ago on her blog February Stars.

The author is a Swedish psychologist who used research to write a children’s book that’s intended to induce sleep. Based on Amazon reviews, it’s put plenty of children to slumber and more than a few adults, too.

Now it’s your turn…What’s your favorite tip to improve sleep? Share in the comments!

You might also like …

13 tips for getting a better night’s sleep with fibromyalgia

According to multiple research studies, fibromyalgia patients have difficulty reaching and maintaining the deeper stages of sleep. In this article, several sleep experts share their best tips for improving sleep with fibromyalgia. | Fed Up with Fatigue

My 6 favorite things for fibromyalgia relief

A few of my favorite things for relieving the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia.

 

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Comments

  1. I’m seriously going to break down and buy a weighted blanket. I’ve been intrigued by this for awhile now. Just putting heavy layers of blankets over my legs can help my RLS (soap?! hey, if it works…right?! 😉 ) And I’ll tell you what, if you can get a legal RX for cannabis, THAT has got to be one of the greatest sleep aides on the planet! Thank you so much for sharing at the Chronic Friday Linkup! Shared/Pinned/Tweeted

  2. Donna Redding says:

    Something that knocks me out is The Science of Sleep. I found it at Amazon.com. I was skeptical at first but it worked for me.

  3. madeline hipley says:

    i’m into sewing and quilting. every AM i watch some shows on these subjects on PBS. just the other day one lady made a weighted blanket for kids, especially autistic kids, who’ve gone through a trauma. the idea is to donate these blankets to fire houses and the police to carry around in case they come across the need for something to calm a child down.must work, huh? i’m sure you can google ”weighted blankets” for instructions,

  4. Robin says:

    thanx for the sleep tips and for not making it a hour long read Fibro effects my eyes and I cant read very long

  5. Caitlin says:

    Ha, I love these! The weighted blanket doesn’t work for me; I had to swap my heavy duvet out for a lighter one :/ I can’t believe that soap trick – so weird! My boyfriend has been going on at me to try ASMR vids but I just haven’t….but now you’ve mentioned it as well I’ll give it a try!

    Caitlin – Chronically Caitlin

    • Caitlin says:

      Update: Have tried ASMR for a few days – totally works for me! I don’t get better quality sleep but I certainly waste less time trying to get to sleep

      • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

        That’s awesome news! So glad it’s helping in some small way!

  6. We just bought the rabbit who wants to fall asleep for our daughter! I’ll have to see if it helps me too!

  7. holly Hanson says:

    I have found 5-HTP (GRIFFONIA SIMPLICIFOLIA) 200MG helps me drift off

  8. Rachel Minchew says:

    Try rubbing Vicks vapor rub on the bottom of your feet and put on a pair of6socks before you go to sleep. I know it sounds weird, but it helps with the burning in your feet! My grandmother told me about it so I tried it & it helped me sleep better!

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      That’s a great tip! Depending on the night, I either use magnesium lotion or the Two Old Goats Foot Balm on my burning feet. The Goat balm has several minty essential oils, so it probably works similar to Vicks.

  9. Sandy says:

    Thank you for mentioning ASMR videos. I tried the 8 minute Hypnotic Sleep video. Fell right to sleep. Happy Dance!

  10. These are unusual ways to fall asleep! I have requested a weighted blanket to review, and it should be here soon. I can’t wait to try it. I’m ordering that book for my kids. I trust Donna’s articles, too, and if it can help my kids and me to fall asleep, I’m willing to give it a try!

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Excited to see how you like the weighted blanket! I think I would like it, too, especially in the winter.

  11. Lizzie Ross says:

    I certainly agree with the heavy blanket, i recall sleeping beautifully when younger – old fashioned bedding of sheets, blankets and eiderdown, with another heavy blanket on top. I will have to re-try it.

  12. The Rabbit Who wants to fall asleep…it may work for grand children too lol And I have tried the blanket abd agree….I am planning on making one too LOL
    Book I am going to look for it…

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      I’d never thought of making a weighted blanket, but you’re exactly right…it probably wouldn’t be hard to do, would it? I provided a link to the book in the post. It’s available on Amazon. Happy zzzz’s!!!

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