To Sleep Perchance to Dream
So in my last piece I broached the subject that sleep may have a positive effect on asthma. If the theories are correct then ‘all’ I have to do is improve my night time routine and ‘voila!’ A healthier me. But, as a mum living with asthma, I find that ‘a good night’s sleep’ can be an elusive thing to come by.
Night-time change in symptoms
Many asthmatics find that their breathing becomes worse at night due to a dip in the levels of the Corticosteroids and Epinephrine hormones, (they have the effect of suppressing inflammation and helping to relax bronchial muscles, respectively). Thus, making us more susceptible to attacks and why it is essential that we establish a good medication routine at night.
Most of us already know our triggers and have adapted our homes accordingly. Perhaps you have replaced your carpet and covered your mattress, to reduce the occurrence of dust and dust mites; and have taken steps to keep your bedroom at comfortable temperature. But there are other things you can do to make sleep a priority.
The summers short nights, along with the constant bombardment of light from media devices, phones etc, means that our sleep is often disturbed; quite simply, our rooms aren’t dark enough. All these stimulants prevent the brain from producing Melatonin, the hormone that promotes healthy sleep. Even if we do manage to ‘drop off’ in a semi dark space, our brains risk becoming confused and, so, doesn’t produce enough of this sleep inducing hormone.
Darkness on it own won’t be very effective if our bedroom isn’t also a calm space, where we can relax and escape. Perhaps, it should be out with the TV and the treadmill and in with the peaceful colour scheme and relaxing smells. Changing the decor is doable, but there is little we can do about stimulants from outside. While we can’t do much about the neighbour’s cat or the cars that frequent the local neighbourhood at all hours; we can seek to reduce their impact by trying earplugs, a soothing CD on a player with an automatic cut out or even a white noise machine to cancel out their effect.
It is at this juncture I should point out, that mine is not the place of Zen that I promote. But I do see the efficacy in adopting one, if not all of the above and am planning to make my room darker and perhaps change my alarm clock to an analogue one … or maybe, even throw it out, all together.
Have you experienced a collapsed lung?