A good night’s sleep is imperative for those of us with autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. Sleep interruptions can cause an immune system response worsening our symptoms. Nevertheless, quality sleep is extremely important for those with healthy immune systems as well.
Interestingly, women are most apt to be sleep deprived. Why and what can we do about it? Read along to find out.
Why is sleep important?
According to the National Institutes of Health uninterrupted, quality sleep is like a magic pill, protecting us mentally and physically. They even point to quality of life and safety issues, in that with inadequate sleep we could cause an accident, increase our chances of disease, or cause friction in our relationships. Additionally, our immune system uses sleep time to heal the body; we are better equipped to fight off infections.
Are mothers at risk?
When my children were young, they woke multiple times during the night. This nocturnal behavior wasn’t insolated to their baby years, for which all moms can confirm. Children get sick, they have nightmares, and they need us…constantly. What do they typically do when they want mom? They migrate to our bed or call for us to visit theirs.
This constant lack of sleep can lead to health issues. Additionally, sleep aids the brain to operate properly allowing for concentration and decision-making, which mothers dearly need. Nevertheless, how do moms get enough sleep?
What can mothers of young children do to get more sleep?
The first step is to teach young children to sleep all night in their own beds. Begin by slowing the pace, quieting the place, and soothing them. Dim the lights a bit about an hour before bedtime. Lower the volume on the television, or better yet turn it off. Bathe your child and then walk her or him to bed. Follow with bedtime stories. Most likely your toddler may be too young to understand the story. Nonetheless, your tone of voice and demeanor will calm her or him. If your child resists staying in bed, just rub his or her back while you tell your story.
If you receive a night visitor, just calmly walk your little one back to bed. This may take some time and some of your precious sleep, but it will pay off in the end with a full night’s sleep for both of you–eventually.
What can menopausal women do about loss of sleep?
As one who has suffered through the burning fires of menopause, I can attest to the difficulty of sleeping through the night. Additionally, due to vaginal changes that affect the bladder we are up multiple times during the night. What can we do?
Luckily, the advice for achieving a good night’s sleep is the same for all sleepy people everywhere. Here it is:
- Avoid bright lights directly before bed, as the brain identifies bright light with morning. So, keep your bedroom dark and cool.
- Use your bedroom for only sleep and sex, so nix the television, cell phones, and reading.
- Skip late night snacks, meals, alcohol and caffeine as all disrupt deep sleep.
- Finally, avoid exercise directly before bed. Instead, try relaxation methods, like yoga, meditation or a warm bath.
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