Posted by: Judy | November 16, 2017

Self Care 12 of 25

I want to take the same care going through these as the last group of statements, focusing on solutions. I’m not good at self care, but I am learning.

Original link:

12. Healthy eating and sleeping. 

My response:

I discussed in an earlier post about healthy eating:

Sleeping has been a battle all its own. Laying in bed for eight hours is not sleeping for eight hours. Yes, this had to be explained. Resting is better than not resting, but it still isn’t sleep.

Sleep is when your body repairs itself. Learning this helped me understand that sleep wasn’t simply a waste of eight hours or torture through nightmares. My body needed the sleep to repair itself.

There was an additional roadblock to sleep. When you go far enough into sleep deprivation, way past cranky, it becomes a tranquilizer. I was too tired to care what anyone did to me. Remembering was foggy. As my sleep improved, the tranquilizer effect wore off, and I hit cranky. Okay, not simply cranky but raging. I noticed how I was treated, and I remembered. Depression was safer than anger.

As I became healthier, I kept using my tranquilizer of little sleep. Unfortunately, as I became healthier, I recognized the problem. I knew I had to change, which meant I had to figure out a way to make sleep a blessing instead of using lack of sleep as an escape.

I read about how to improve my sleep and experimented. Some things worked. Some things didn’t. Some sort of worked, but I failed to make them into a habit.

Things that helped:

I need a routine. Everyone needs a routine. Something that tells your body it’s time to go to sleep. Mine is brushing and flossing my teeth.

I need a cool room. I like sleeping with a light blanket. If I’m too warm, I fidget and can’t settle.

I need to sleep on my left side. That’s compliments of a herniated back disc. It also means I need to keep my right leg elevated a bit. It’s all about keeping my back comfortable, i.e., positioned so I’m not pinching any nerves. It’s been twelve years since the epidural injection that started the healing process.

I need exercise, in order to sleep better at night. I walk every day, two-miles on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, one-mile on Tuesday and Thursday, and two or more miles on Saturday. On Sunday, my walk varies, usually home from church, about a half mile. I also do physical therapy created for me by my physical therapist to rehab my back. I’m married to those exercises for life. They make a difference. They also help with my back, hips, knees, and ankles.

I need a kinder way to wake up than a buzzing alarm clock. My stereo is set to turn on K-LOVE to wake me. I enjoy the gentle waking. I do have a buzzing alarm clock in case I sleep through the radio. It doesn’t happen often.

I need more than white noise to go to sleep. I have an air purifier that runs 24/7. It isn’t enough. I do need it for improving air quality. However, I needed a different sound. I’ve used CDs, streams, waves, storms. Unfortunately, they’d end and so would the sound. It wouldn’t wake me, but when I woke up in the middle of the night, it would be too quiet. My niece introduced me to Rainy Mood. 

The most recent change I’ve made to improve my sleep is I take a Benadryl every night. It helps me breathe. I’m allergic to mold, ragweed, and something that blooms between 80 and 90 degrees. A windy day is miserable, no matter what time of year it is. Benadryl makes it better. I’ve also used Claritin-D, but it’s more expensive.

Something I’ve noticed, when my sleep is doing good to okay my eating is easier to manage. Long ago, I learned to eat to stay awake. So my eating and sleeping are connected. I can pretend they aren’t but… Rule #1: Stop lying, especially to yourself.

There’s always room for improvement. An important lesson I learned: I cannot do huge changes and have them stick. I need to make little shifts, baby steps, a little here, a little there. A bunch of little changes add up to huge change. I’m improving and will continue to work on doing better.


  1. I’m right there with you on allergies, nighttime ritual, and noise when you go to sleep. I drink a glass of milk, take an Allegra, and then on my thunderstorm. I set my timer based on when my alarm clock will go off so it plays all night.

    • 🙂

  2. […] Judy’s perspective is here: […]

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