What is "Good Sleep Hygiene" RLS Style?

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GBoomer
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What is "Good Sleep Hygiene" RLS Style?

Postby GBoomer » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:01 am

Those of us seeking a good night's sleep can't have escaped the canon of "good sleep hygiene" that has become popular in numerous media outlets and in various programs for insomnia. This list of guidelines includes advice such as having a relaxing pre-sleep routine, reserving your bedroom for sleep and sex only, not staying in bed if you are sleepless for 20 minutes or more, not taking more than one nap, no longer than 30 minutes in the afternoon, etc.

Some of these guidelines, in my own experience, have been helpful, and some not so helpful. Before I weigh in with my thoughts, what are the principles that work for YOU as a fellow RLS sufferer? What are the common guidelines that do NOT work for you? What do you do instead? Since there seem to be different variants of RLS experience, our ideas might not be the same or even similar and that is fine.

I will leave with one principle of my own and the related, common guidelines that I reject:

Get your sleep when you can, where you can, doesn't matter when or where. If I don't let myself take more than one nap, more than 30 minutes long, I still may not sleep well during the next night, and I'll end up even more sleep deprived than I already was. In fact, on nights after a day with 2 or 3 naps, I sleep pretty much the same as any other night. And my total sleep hours are better as a result. So, I throw out the general sleep guideline about naps and let myself sleep whenever I am tired (assuming of course that I am in a situation where I CAN nap.)

What about you? Your thoughts and ideas would be appreciated!

Rustsmith
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Re: What is "Good Sleep Hygiene" RLS Style?

Postby Rustsmith » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:22 pm

Before I was actually diagnosed with RLS, I heard the mantra of "proper sleep hygiene" so many times I started to get sick of it because I was doing all the things they preach and it obviously wasn't doing any good.

Now that my RLS is diagnosed and mostly under control, I still practice most of what they teach, with the exception of the guidance on naps. My current doctor is more concerned that I get a total of about 8 hrs of sleep than when I get them. If I can get lets say 6 hrs at night and then another 2 from naps during day, she is happy. I believe that her concern is for the long term health damage done by sleep deprivation, not to mention that I am more alert and not always on the edge of falling asleep.

So, now I get my sleep whenever my body (and life) allows. If that means 8 at night, fantastic, but if it is 6 and night and an hour long nap in the morning and another hour in the afternoon, then great.
Steve

Augmentation Evaluation http://bb.rls.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9005

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

Yankiwi
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Re: What is "Good Sleep Hygiene" RLS Style?

Postby Yankiwi » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:09 pm

I follow all of the sleep hygiene guidelines but nap when I need it. None of the tips, such as lavender or certain herbal teas, work. When I wake up I get up and read and stretch for up to an hour then almost always can get back to sleep. If I stayed in bed my legs would just get worse and worse until I had to get up anyway but would be tired and distressed. If I wake up again I do five sun salutations and can usually get back to sleep for a few hours. These days I'm getting seven or eight hours most nights.

ViewsAskew
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Re: What is "Good Sleep Hygiene" RLS Style?

Postby ViewsAskew » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:07 am

Similar here - bed is for sleep and sex and a few minutes of gymnastics/stretches in case I wake up with symptoms. If it's not gone in a few, I get up. I do not try to go to bed at the same time. But, I can do that because I am not working. I sleep when I can, as long as I can - 15 minutes to ten hours, whatever I can get away with. As you noted, GBoomer, I find that if I am tired, I need sleep, so I don't limit myself. If I have the inkling that it's going to be a tough night, I just sleep on the couch - makes it easier to get up as I don't have to navigate the stairs in the dark, wake my husband, etc.

I also don't limit caffeine any longer. I used to - didn't drink any. Then my neuro told me to use it to help me be more awake. I didn't need much initially. Of course now that I've been having it for several years, I could drink a gallon and it wouldn't do much.

I do have a pre-bed ritual that I find helps. For me, any dryness or something irritating my skin will set off symptoms. I put lotion all over prior to sleep and I never sleep in PJ bottoms - anything restrictive is an issue. I also file any dry skin off of my feet and put on a special lotion. I often use a heating pad when I first go to sleep - helps with any residual symptoms.

I do not read when I wake up most time - reading is something I can do with one eye open, so it doesn't help me get back to sleep. I usually try cleaning, ironing, sewing, crocheting, watering plants, etc.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

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Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

Polar Bear
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Re: What is "Good Sleep Hygiene" RLS Style?

Postby Polar Bear » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:39 am

I do not read when I wake up most time - reading is something I can do with one eye open, so it doesn't help me get back to sleep. I usually try cleaning, ironing, sewing, crocheting, watering plants, etc.

Last night at/this morning at 4am - I was decorating a hammer. !!
Betty
http://www.willis-ekbom.org/about-rls-wed/publications
Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation

ViewsAskew
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Re: What is "Good Sleep Hygiene" RLS Style?

Postby ViewsAskew » Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:16 pm

Decorating a hammer??? Sounds like fun!
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest



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Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

Polar Bear
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Re: What is "Good Sleep Hygiene" RLS Style?

Postby Polar Bear » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:17 pm

It was an anniversary gift for my husband, the hardest man in the world to buy for. As he is a keen lawn bowls player, I appliqued the wooden handle of the hammer accordingly (amazing what motifs can be found on Amazon) sealed it with craft glue and then varnished it.
Betty
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Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation

Rustsmith
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Re: What is "Good Sleep Hygiene" RLS Style?

Postby Rustsmith » Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:49 pm

Now that makes sense. I was trying to imagine decorating the handle of a carpenter's hammer, which seemed like either a waste of time on something that would soon be damaged or else something that would insure that the hammer never got used.
Steve

Augmentation Evaluation http://bb.rls.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9005

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

sleepdancer2
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Re: What is "Good Sleep Hygiene" RLS Style?

Postby sleepdancer2 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:18 am

I too have adapted standard sleep hygiene suggestions to fit my own needs. I remember when at my worst I would provide myself the atmosphere conducive for sleep, then just hope for the best. I do still limit caffeine to earlier hours as I see the difference in my sleep when I have it in the late evening.Totally agree that those with RLS and/or PLMD have to get sleep when they can. I am primarily dealing with PLMD these days. Once I got off the DA's the RLS is not often an issue. The hardest thing for me when I'm having a rough night is waking myself enough to make myself get up. I seem to get stuck in my misery, dozing fitfully for hours. When I do wake up, I put my TENS Unit on my lower back and go back to bed. Quiets my legs. Turning the radio on an oldies station helps keep my brain moving without requiring thought. In fact, this proved to be a major help to me. Sounds wierd I know. I'm thinking this is related to circadian rhythms, but if I wait till maybe 3 or 4 am to even get in bed, my legs might not act up at all.
My Augmentation Sleep Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jE7WA_5c73c

legsbestill
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Re: What is "Good Sleep Hygiene" RLS Style?

Postby legsbestill » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:11 pm

My sleep consultant maintains that there is a reduction in rls symptoms towards dawn when the body temp starts to rise again after dropping earlier in the night. I can't remember all the science. Perhaps this is why you get better results with a much later bedtime. Unfortunately my rls has not heard the theory and will randomly put in an appearance any old time - yesterday it was creepy-crawling away at 9am. I think it doesn't like my sleep consultant - in any event it repeatedly tries to prove her theories wrong.

ViewsAskew
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Re: What is "Good Sleep Hygiene" RLS Style?

Postby ViewsAskew » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:22 am

Most of us find that there is a time of day that it is lessened....but when symptoms are close to (or are) all day and all night, lessened doesn't necessarily mean you can sleep!

Dr. B has maintained that it is part of the flawed circadian rhythm and that IF you continually go to bed later - say 4 AM for 6-8 months - that your rhythm will adjust and instead of the symptoms lessening around 3-5 AM that they will now lessen at, say 8 AM (I am making up these times). Not sure any of us have ever spent enough time doing this to see if that indeed happens. Generally speaking, mine definitely is worst in the 10 PM to 3 AM range even though I can have it any time. And, similar to sleepdancer2, I find that if I wait to sleep until 3 or 4 AM I can often stay asleep with minimal disruptions but I if I took the same amount of meds and tried to sleep at 11 PM that I'd awaken frequently and likely have to get up and stay up until 3 or 4 before everything calmed down.

Seems a good time to remind everyone who may read this- since there are other issues that look like RLS but are not, anytime some of the symptoms do not fit into the typical patterns, it is a possibility that there are multiple things going on. We have had too many people here who couldn't get their RLS under control only for them to find out that they either did NOT have RLS, or that they had RLS, but also had some kind of neuropathy or something else that can seem like RLS.

Hope this makes sense - am too sleepy and should not be typing...
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest



Managing Your RLS



Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

badnights
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Re: What is "Good Sleep Hygiene" RLS Style?

Postby badnights » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:32 am

I'll weigh in about the "sleep hygiene" theories. I keep meaning to check if any studies have actually been done on those suggestions. I am positive no studies have been done on WED/RLS sufferers and the dangerous suggestion to restrict sleep. I absolutely would never advise an RLS/WED sufferer to avoid naps; on the contrary take as many as you can get. As many as your body will handle.

As for the other stuff - - I have tried it all, I think, and any positive effect any of it may have had has been swamped by the grand negative effect of having severe WED. I did eventually tape dark garbage bags over my bedroom windows (summer sun in Yellowknife lasts most of the night) because I noticed I was waking up when the sun came up, if only briefly. The suggestions about light do actually have some research to back them up, so I am more keen on trying them. I tried the amber glasses in the evenings, programs that remove the blue light from your monitors at a certain time of day, ensuring no light from alarm clocks or anything else in your room; but these don't seem to help - maybe they help but I can't tell - all I can tell is when the WED is bad I can't sleep and when it backs off I sleep like the dead.

I am now a vampire. My day has shifted, and my symptoms have shifted with it. I go to bed easiest around 6 am but I usually try earlier. I sleep poorly for a few hours then well. (Lately symptoms have been waking me so I have been taking extra meds in the middle of the night. Works great, but if I keep it up I will soon be unable to have orgasms again and I really don't want that.... ) Today I got up - after 9 beautiful glorious hours broken only twice - at 3:45 PM. By the time I had shaken the cobwebs off and picked up the phone to make some calls I had to make - - everything was closed! Both places closed at 4! Also - this makes it hard to expose myself to natural light in the "morning", because the sun is setting here by that time.

I have always kept my bedroom for sleeping and sex only, but I imagine it might be distracting if I regularly used it for something else, so that's another suggestion I would probably support.

I try to avoid watching movies or anime or anything on the computer for an hour of so before bed; I think those things might make it harder for me to fall asleep, but I am not really sure.

I don't avoid eating. Once or twice I regretted it - I guess I had heartburn - but mostly, eating fills a hole in me and makes it easier for me to sleep. I am pretty scrawny anyway, and not hungry until later in the day, then I eat continuously until I go to bed - almost for real. I just get hungry right after I eat. It's nuts. So I don't follow the eating suggestion either. I think I would not be able to sleep if I was hungry.
Beth - Wishing you all restful sleep tonight
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