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Sleepless Crip Night Circus: Tips for Peaceful Sleep with a Disability

Philippa yawns with a hand over her mouth with the words "So tired" behind her using a mixture of numbers and letters to spell it.
Yawn- Disabled Insomnia sucks!

Sleep? I wish! When you're dealing with a disability, it's like entering some surreal circus where you juggle restless muscles, flaming skin, night-time clowns tickling your nerves, and surprise toilet visits. Add your partner doing somersaults in their dreams, and it feels like you're trapped in a damn nightmare! Especially for me; I hate the routine circus with a passion I have a "clown" thing- don't worry about it.

The headliners of this bizarre show are muscle spasms, and they're breakdancing like it's New Year's Eve. Hot flashes make their appearance too, turning your bed into a furnace. Then comes the dazzling "Anxiety HOURS." That's right, hours of worries, uncertainties, and random thoughts all competing for the grand prize – your attention. Just when you think the show's over, your bladder decides to break world records for the number of trips to the bathroom per night.

But fear not, my fellow circus-goers, I've got a few more tricks up my sleeve that can transform your late-night circus into a peaceful slumber party... effectively making me the magic act of this whole nonsense. Look! I didn't choose this profession; it chose me!

Tip 1: Make Your Bedtime Routine a Celebration

🌟 Why not make going to bed a celebration? Slip into those gorgeous PJs, especially if it's been a pyjama-day (we've all had those). Grab some humor-packed books – serotonin in the center of the ring right there! And don't forget to sip on some hot beverage that makes you feel cozy and relaxed. My favourite book atm on Audible has always been Stardust. It's a dramatic retelling of Neil Gaiman's classic interspersed with instrumental bits and bobs which you can get here.

Creating a bedtime routine that you genuinely look forward to can help signal to your body that it's time to wind down. Whether it's putting on fresh, comfy pyjamas (these are my current faves!), reading something light-hearted, or enjoying a cup of herbal tea, these rituals can ease you into a state of relaxation, making it easier to transition into sleep. Serotonin and melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormones, appreciate these efforts. If you want to support this hot-crip, please use my affiliate link for opening your Audible account today!

Tip 2: Beat the Hot Flashes with an Igloo in Your Bedroom

🌟 To tackle those hot flashes, you need to create an igloo in your bedroom. Install detachable fans, opt for breathable sheets (and pillows!), and keep cool-packs in the freezer – these are lifesavers for behind the neck, knees, and ankles.

Hot flashes can be incredibly disruptive to sleep. By making your sleeping environment as cool and comfortable as possible, you can reduce the discomfort and increase your chances of uninterrupted rest. Detachable fans can help with air circulation, breathable bedding keeps you from overheating, and cool-packs provide quick relief when those flashes hit.

Tip 3: Build a Playlist for Your 3 AM Anxiety

🌟 The 3 AM anxiety club – we've all been members at some point. Have a collection of your favorite audiobooks and chill-out tracks ready. When the anxiety hits, be mindful of when you need to move and ground yourself. Staying in bed when you're not tired can make it worse, so get out of bed, read a book in low light, and try again in 10 minutes. Spend that 10 mins on the Calm app (not affiliated but I've got 5 FREE 30 day passes here for you to check out all their features!).

Anxiety is a common night-time visitor, and it can make falling back to sleep a real challenge. Having a playlist of calming audiobooks or soothing music can provide a comforting distraction when anxiety strikes. Remember, if you're tossing and turning for more than 20 minutes, it's best to get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.

A femme presenting person is wrapped in peaceful slumber around a full body support cushion.
Full-body support changes the game.

Tip 4: Embrace Adaptive Sleep Tech

🌟 Consider investing in adaptive sleep tech. Get a mattress that worships your comfort and a bed that can yoga (adjust to different positions). Supportive cushions for between the legs or for the lumbar area can help ease those twitching muscles.

Sleep technology has come a long way, and there are numerous options available to improve your sleep quality. Mattresses with adjustable firmness, adjustable beds that allow you to elevate your legs or upper body, and supportive pillows or cushions can help relieve discomfort and muscle spasms. Customizing your sleep environment to your unique needs can make a world of difference.

Tip 5: Make Your Bedtime Routine a Solo-Celebration 🌟 It's okay to ditch the acrobat. Seriously. Society does have us convinced that we need to share the bedtime-ring with our partners forever and ever til death do us part. If it is possible, you are absolutely allowed to sleep in separate beds from time to time if not permanently! There's actually science behind this! It allows both individuals to tailor their sleep environment to their personal preferences, which can lead to more restful and undisturbed sleep. You won't have to contend with snoring, restless tossing and turning, or differing temperature preferences. Plus, separate sleeping arrangements can reduce the potential for sleep disruptions, allowing you to wake up feeling more refreshed and better equipped to enjoy quality time together during waking hours.

Tip 6: Seek Professional Help

🌟 You don't have to fight those night-clowns alone. Consult a healthcare professional who can craft a personalized plan for your unique sleep struggles. Whether it's medication, a sleep study, or just someone to bounce your routine off of, having a professional on your side can make a world of difference.

Sometimes, despite all your efforts, sleep disturbances persist. In such cases, don't hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance, recommend appropriate treatments, and, if necessary, conduct a sleep study to identify the root causes of your sleep issues. Remember, you're not alone in this – there's help available.

Now, over to you. Have you tried any of these tips, or do you have your own sleep survival secrets? Let's turn this circus into a slumber party, one peaceful night at a time. Sleep may be a challenge, but with the right strategies and a bit of patience, you can improve your quality of rest and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

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