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advice needed for sleeping

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by allinthemind, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. allinthemind

    allinthemind Peer Supporter

    Some mornings I wake up pain free and feel like I've slept ok but most mornings I wake with lower back pain and feel terrible. I usually wake before my alarm due to the onset of pain in my lower back, I'm assuming the pain comes on during sleep causing me to not have great quality sleep most of the time. When I goto sleep I'm usually in a relaxed state with little pain.

    Is there anything I should try before going to sleep that can help with this,
    Many thanks.
  2. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi there,

    There are a few techniques that I've adopted, that I'd like to share:

    1) Write down all of your stressors of the current day (these will be the basis of your journalling tomorrow). I usually end it with a statement such as, I'm dealing with these stressors and I am completely in control of my well being.

    2) create a list of all the things you are grateful for, it doesn't have to be long, but focuss on all of the positive things in your life. I know it's silly, but we tend to go to sleep completely wired and focussed in the negative.

    3) practice sone relaxation techniques, I'd suggest mindfullness and incorporate a deep breathing exercises.

    The point of the exercises is to offload as many stressors within your day and shift your emotional state to a positive one. This is something I've been practicing daily.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
    breakfree and Ellen like this.
  3. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Hi Allinthemind,

    I can identify very much with your post. Nights and early mornings were always my worse time of day, so I'll share my thoughts and experiences on how I broke the habit, because that's all it is, an unconscious habit.

    • When we're asleep the conscious part of our mind isn't there to counter the unconscious, so you can easy become tense as you sleep. This can in turn disrupt your sleep and make you feel less rested, it can also add to the stress causing your TMS, because you worry about not sleeping.
    • Conditioning can also come into play; you tensely expect the pain, so it arrives on cue.
    So what helped me ?

    • 20 mins mindfulness meditation in the early evening.
    • No TV 30 mins before bed (to calm my brain down).
    • Listening to delta wave music as I was drifting off to sleep, while counting my blessings to create some positive energy.
    • I STOPPED WORRYING ABOUT THE MISSED SLEEP, IT WASN'T GOING TO KILL ME, there's no better way to stop yourself sleeping than worrying about it.
    • As soon as you are aware of the pain "ambush it !" Tell it it's just a stupid TMS habit that you're going to ignore, then FOCUS AWAY FROM IT to your emotions, try and think about how you feel about what you have planned for your day. I'll bet you get more pain when you wake up knowing you've got a particularly busy day ahead, I know I did.
    The "secret" of overcoming TMS pain is to TRULY lose your fear of it. Simple to say, but difficult to do I know. I used to wake up hurting all over, feeling like I'd built a house in my sleep ! As soon as I woke I'd immediately have an anxiey attack, fearing what tortures TMS had in mind for me that day and how I would cope. It takes dogged persistence to win out over this nonsense, but it can be done I promise you.

    This is my favourite "sleep music" I hope it helps.

  4. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, read this great article and change your mind about sleep. I sleep great! It's when I used to wake up in the middle of the night ruminating and staring at the ceiling that was the perceived problem. The modern view of what should be the collective sleep pattern is BS. We are all different and have different energies at different times. If I wake up I'll do something like posting to you about sleep. After a while I'll get tired and go back to sleep--or get in the heap and drive 'cross country through a blizzard to somewhere sunny, drop the top on the heap and hit some tennis balls. If the person's sleep next to me is disturbed by this, too bad, they can sleep on the couch--but they seem to have adjusted.

    It's only a problem if you allow your TMS mind to make it one! Here's a great article I'll post once again. I now look forward to waking up and doing productive or un-productive things when the world is quiet (except for 6.0 earthquakes like last night when I was awake reading about Lotus 7's, the car not the petal or the position, it was quite a ride, ready to bail and run). When I want to take an afternoon nap, I fix myself a nice warm cup of coffee and I'm out like a light.



    The Myth of the Eight-Hour Sleep

    Comments (321)
    By Stephanie Hegarty BBC World Service

    We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night - but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.
    In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month.
    It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects had settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep.
    Though sleep scientists were impressed by the study, among the general public the idea that we must sleep for eight consecutive hours persists.
    In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks.
    [​IMG] Roger Ekirch says this 1595 engraving by Jan Saenredam is evidence of activity at night
    His book At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, published four years later, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern - in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer's Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria.
    Much like the experience of Wehr's subjects, these references describe a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.
    "It's not just the number of references - it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge," Ekirch says.
    During this waking period people were quite active. They often got up, went to the toilet or smoked tobacco and some even visited neighbours. Most people stayed in bed, read, wrote and often prayed. Countless prayer manuals from the late 15th Century offered special prayers for the hours in between sleeps.
    And these hours weren't entirely solitary - people often chatted to bed-fellows or had sex.

    Between segments
    Some people:
    • Jog and take photographs
    • Practise yoga
    • Have dinner...
    A doctor's manual from 16th Century France even advised couples that the best time to conceive was not at the end of a long day's labour but "after the first sleep", when "they have more enjoyment" and "do it better".
    Ekirch found that references to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century. This started among the urban upper classes in northern Europe and over the course of the next 200 years filtered down to the rest of Western society.
    By the 1920s the idea of a first and second sleep had receded entirely from our social consciousness.
    He attributes the initial shift to improvements in street lighting, domestic lighting and a surge in coffee houses - which were sometimes open all night. As the night became a place for legitimate activity and as that activity increased, the length of time people could dedicate to rest dwindled.

    When segmented sleep was the norm
    • "He knew this, even in the horror with which he started from his first sleep, and threw up the window to dispel it by the presence of some object, beyond the room, which had not been, as it were, the witness of his dream." Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge (1840)
    • "Don Quixote followed nature, and being satisfied with his first sleep, did not solicit more. As for Sancho, he never wanted a second, for the first lasted him from night to morning." Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote (1615)
    • "And at the wakening of your first sleepe You shall have a hott drinke made, And at the wakening of your next sleepe Your sorrowes will have a slake." Early English ballad, Old Robin of Portingale
    • The Tiv tribe in Nigeria employ the terms "first sleep" and "second sleep" to refer to specific periods of the night
    Source: Roger Ekirch
    In his new book, Evening's Empire, historian Craig Koslofsky puts forward an account of how this happened.
    "Associations with night before the 17th Century were not good," he says. The night was a place populated by people of disrepute - criminals, prostitutes and drunks.
    "Even the wealthy, who could afford candlelight, had better things to spend their money on. There was no prestige or social value associated with staying up all night."
    That changed in the wake of the Reformation and the counter-Reformation. Protestants and Catholics became accustomed to holding secret services at night, during periods of persecution. If earlier the night had belonged to reprobates, now respectable people became accustomed to exploiting the hours of darkness.
    This trend migrated to the social sphere too, but only for those who could afford to live by candlelight. With the advent of street lighting, however, socialising at night began to filter down through the classes.
    In 1667, Paris became the first city in the world to light its streets, using wax candles in glass lamps. It was followed by Lille in the same year and Amsterdam two years later, where a much more efficient oil-powered lamp was developed.
    [​IMG] A small city like Leipzig in central Germany employed 100 men to tend to 700 lamps
    London didn't join their ranks until 1684 but by the end of the century, more than 50 of Europe's major towns and cities were lit at night.
    Night became fashionable and spending hours lying in bed was considered a waste of time.
    "People were becoming increasingly time-conscious and sensitive to efficiency, certainly before the 19th Century," says Roger Ekirch. "But the industrial revolution intensified that attitude by leaps and bounds."
    Strong evidence of this shifting attitude is contained in a medical journal from 1829 which urged parents to force their children out of a pattern of first and second sleep.
    "If no disease or accident there intervene, they will need no further repose than that obtained in their first sleep, which custom will have caused to terminate by itself just at the usual hour.
    "And then, if they turn upon their ear to take a second nap, they will be taught to look upon it as an intemperance not at all redounding to their credit."

    Stages of sleep
    Every 60-100 minutes we go through a cycle of four stages of sleep
    • Stage 1 is a drowsy, relaxed state between being awake and sleeping - breathing slows, muscles relax, heart rate drops
    • Stage 2 is slightly deeper sleep - you may feel awake and this means that, on many nights, you may be asleep and not know it
    • Stage 3 and Stage 4, or Deep Sleep - it is very hard to wake up from Deep Sleep because this is when there is the lowest amount of activity in your body
    • After Deep Sleep, we go back to Stage 2 for a few minutes, and then enter Dream Sleep - also called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep - which, as its name suggests, is when you dream
    In a full sleep cycle, a person goes through all the stages of sleep from one to four, then back down through stages three and two, before entering dream sleep
    Source: Gregg Jacobs
    Today, most people seem to have adapted quite well to the eight-hour sleep, but Ekirch believes many sleeping problems may have roots in the human body's natural preference for segmented sleep as well as the ubiquity of artificial light.
    This could be the root of a condition called sleep maintenance insomnia, where people wake during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep, he suggests.
    The condition first appears in literature at the end of the 19th Century, at the same time as accounts of segmented sleep disappear.
    "For most of evolution we slept a certain way," says sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobs. "Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology."
    The idea that we must sleep in a consolidated block could be damaging, he says, if it makes people who wake up at night anxious, as this anxiety can itself prohibit sleeps and is likely to seep into waking life too.
    Russell Foster, a professor of circadian [body clock] neuroscience at Oxford, shares this point of view.
    "Many people wake up at night and panic," he says. "I tell them that what they are experiencing is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern."
    But the majority of doctors still fail to acknowledge that a consolidated eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.

    More from the Magazine
    • Margaret Thatcher was famously said to get by on four hours sleep a night
    • That put her in a group of just 1% of the population
    "Over 30% of the medical problems that doctors are faced with stem directly or indirectly from sleep. But sleep has been ignored in medical training and there are very few centres where sleep is studied," he says.
    Jacobs suggests that the waking period between sleeps, when people were forced into periods of rest and relaxation, could have played an important part in the human capacity to regulate stress naturally.
    In many historic accounts, Ekirch found that people used the time to meditate on their dreams.
    "Today we spend less time doing those things," says Dr Jacobs. "It's not a coincidence that, in modern life, the number of people who report anxiety, stress, Depression, alcoholism and drug abuse has gone up."
    So the next time you wake up in the middle of the night, think of your pre-industrial ancestors and relax. Lying awake could be good for you.
    Craig Koslofsky and Russell Foster appeared on The Forum from the BBC World Service. Listen to the programme here.
    Do you sleep in segments? Send us your sleep stories.
    Last edited: May 22, 2014
    Tennis Tom, May 22, 2014Report
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  5. allinthemind

    allinthemind Peer Supporter

    Thx tom, mermaid and Mike for your responses. Will try those things out and see how my sleep improves. Would love to still feel fresh after 10 o clock each night.

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