Hi everyone:

Here is a little humour/wisdom story (my favourite kind) to start off our week.

I am including sleeping tips here because sleep is a pillar of The Basics. Its importance cannot be dismissed.

We all need the basics:
1.    Sleep
2.    Nutritious food and water
3.    Exercise
4.    The company of others: friends, family and strangers
5.    A reason to get up in the morning

This week’s basic topic is sleep – I have gathered the best resources I could find. Your suggestions always welcome.

If sleep is no concern of yours please go ahead and scroll to the end where you will find Things To Do. (I tried to put a link but it didn’t work yet)


Guidelines for Getting A Good Night’s Sleep: (NIH)

    • Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. As creatures of habit, people have a hard time adjusting to changes in sleep patterns. Sleeping later on weekends won’t fully make up for a lack of sleep during the week and will make it harder to wake up early on Monday morning. (Note from Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep (Set an alarm for bedtime. Often we set an alarm for when it’s time to wake up but fail to do so when it’s time to go to sleep. If there is one piece of advice you remember and take from these twelve tips, this should be it.)
    • Exercise is great, but not too late in the day. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes on most days but not later than 2-3 hours before your bedtime.
    • Avoid caffeine and nicotine before bed. Coffee, colas, certain teas, and chocolate contain the stimulant caffeine, and its effects can take as long as 8 hours to wear off fully. Therefore, a cup of coffee in the late afternoon can make it hard for you to fall asleep at night. Nicotine is also a stimulant, often causing smokers to sleep only very lightly. In addition, smokers often wake up too early in the morning because of nicotine withdrawal.
    • Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. Having a “nightcap” or alcoholic beverage before sleep may help you relax, but heavy use robs you of deep sleep and REM sleep, keeping you in the lighter stages of sleep. Heavy alcohol ingestion also may contribute to breathing impairment at night. You also tend to wake up in the middle of the night when the effects of the alcohol have worn off.
    • Avoid large meals and beverages late at night. A light snack is okay, but a large meal can cause indigestion that interferes with sleep. Drinking too many fluids at night can cause frequent awakenings to urinate.
    • If possible, avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep. Some commonly prescribed heart, blood pressure, or asthma medications, as well as some over-the-counter and herbal remedies for coughs, colds, or allergies, can disrupt sleep patterns. If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to see whether any drugs you’re taking might be contributing to your insomnia and ask whether they can be taken at other times during the day or early in the evening.
    • Don’t take naps after 3 p.m. Naps can help make up for lost sleep, but late afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night.
    • Relax before bed. Don’t overschedule your day so that no time is left for unwinding. A relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music, should be part of your bedtime ritual.
    • Take a hot bath before bed. The drop in body temperature after getting out of the bath may help you feel sleepy, and the bath can help you relax and slow down so you’re more ready to sleep.
    • Have a good sleeping environment. Get rid of anything in your bedroom that might distract you from sleep, such as noises, bright lights, an uncomfortable bed, or warm temperatures. You sleep better if the temperature in the room is kept cool. A TV, cell phone, or computer in the bedroom can be a distraction and deprive you of needed sleep. Having a comfortable mattress and pillow can help promote a good night’s sleep. Individuals who have insomnia often watch the clock. Turn the clock’s face out of view so you don’t worry about the time while trying to fall asleep.
    • Have the right sunlight exposure. Daylight is key to regulating daily sleep patterns. Try to get outside in natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes each day. If possible, wake up with the sun or use bright room lights in the morning. Sleep experts recommend that, if you have problems falling asleep, you should get an hour of exposure to morning sunlight and turn down the lights before bedtime.
    • Don’t lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake after staying in bed for more than 30 minutes or if you are starting to feel anxious or worried, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. The anxiety of not being able to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep.
    • See a health professional if you continue to have trouble sleeping. If you consistently find it difficult to fall or stay asleep and/or feel tired or not well rested during the day despite spending enough time in bed at night, you may have a sleep disorder. Your family healthcare provider or a sleep specialist should be able to help you, and it is important to rule out other health or emotional problems that may be disturbing your sleep.

Reprinted from NIH Medline Plus (Internet) National Library of Medicine (US);  Summer 2015 Issue: Volume 10 Number 2 Page 22

Additional Resources:

Getting the sleep you need. Extra tips and suggestions here including short videos.  Harvard University 

Similar guidelines on the Harvard site but a few nuances. Check it out here.

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, Matthew Walker, PhD

Things to do:

Read: Grumpy Bird

Short Ted Talk: 3 Things I learned While my Plane Crashed     (notes: I see Ted now has a short 3 sec ad on this. Too bad. Secondly, to view full screen you click on the bottom right of the Ted video)

When we were together, we began the process of looking at some things that are important to each of us. Each week, I will give you a suggestion or two of something to do, in the form of an assignment. Treat the assignment as a guide and adapt it accordingly in your life. Each of us have different needs. Some people are in treatment, others like myself are post treatment, still others are facing a second or third round with cancer. Some are caregivers. What we have in common is that we have all been affected by cancer and we want to live a full and rich life.

A few suggestion’s that you can adapt to your particular circumstances, for this week, are as follows:

Cultivate a new habit: I would only choose two and focus on that. This isn’t meant to be a chore, rather a chance to experiment and enhance your love of life.

  • Pick a bed time and a wake up time and stick with it for one week. Note your experience. Did you learn anything?
  • Pick something important that you want to start doing and do it everyday. 5 minutes a day is a good start. 15 minutes seems to work best for me. Choose the time and put it in your calendar. Try see.
  • Do something deliberately for someone else everyday for this week.
  • Spend time outdoors everyday.
  • Keep your eyes and ears on the lookout for things that strike you funny. Let me know and I will share with others.

Thanks for showing up and I will be sending you a short email on Friday with something to think about and some music to listen to. Warm greetings, Trudy

PS If you want to send me a note you are welcome to do so at trudy@livingwellwithillness.com Please remind me if I have forgotten to do something. I hope you will make suggestions and if you have comments you want to share with the group, I am happy to post them.