When I saw this photo it gave me a flash of inspiration. A mass of clocks all ticking at the same time. I think, as you grow older time seems to fly by; you sometimes find yourself wondering where the time goes…
Sometimes it’s easier to focus on others to put your own problems into perspective.
You may of read about Florence Nightingale as a student, but you may not be aware of her link to fibromyalgia or indeed Florence, Italy.
She was an inspiring person who despite illness and injury, lived an exceptional life.
Florence was quoted as saying
“There is no part of my life, upon which I can look back without pain”
Florence was born on May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy, after which she was named. She was the youngest of two children.
Florence was born into a wealthy family and was expected to get married and have a children. Florence rebelled against this stereotype. She had always helped to care for sick people and started working as a nurse.
Florence was sent to nurse injured soldiers during the Crimean War. She proved to be a very dedicated nurse; visiting the injured every evening on a regular basis which started the phrase ‘the Lady with the Lamp’.
Because of her influence in nursing practices unsanitary areas were improved which increased the survival rate of patients.
Florence wrote about her nursing techniques from experience, which formed the basics for standards in nursing care adopted for the profession.
During 1860 St Thomas’ Hospital and the Nightingale School for Nursing was opened.
Florence and fibromyalgia
Florence suffered from an invisible illness after she returned from nursing solders in the Crimea War.
Her symptoms are reminiscent of fibromyalgia; which was not a recognised condition at the time. Florence spent prolonged periods in bed, due to her illness. This was probably triggered by excessive stress carrying out her duties nursing in terrible conditions.
In recent years soldiers from the Gulf War have gone on to develop fibromyalgia after they returned from war. The unbearable stress they were exposed to at that time triggering fibromyalgia.
Florence died on August 13, 1910; she received the Order of Merit in 1907 for her contribution to modern nursing practices. Florence was an amazing woman who cared for others and put others health before her own.
A few simple changes can make a difference to your quality of sleep. I know this very well from first hand experience, having suffered from poor unrefreshing sleep for years.
After weeks of not sleeping the body’s functions become impaired making it extremely difficult to function in a normal way.(Whatever normal is for a fibromyalgia sufferer).
“If you’re thinking, I don’t have fibromyalgia, it’s still worth giving these suggestions a try.”
“Insomnia, fatigue and pain are all part of life if you live with fibromyalgia.” The symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as fatigue and pain are all made worse with poor quality sleep.
Over time I’ve found some solutions that have helped me get a better nights sleep. Obviously, there’s no one size fits all with these suggestions. That said, it’s still worth giving them a go. Just being aware what might work is useful.
On occasions I still find I have some problems sleeping but I can solve these more effectively than previously.
Common problems experienced range from:
getting to sleep
staying asleep until morning
waking during the night
getting back to sleep after waking up
Have a look at the following suggestions for improving your sleep
Go for regular exercise every morning, for example a walk
Check your bedroom temperature and lighting are beneficial for sleep
Adjust your bed and pillows to make it as comfy as possible
Invest in a electric blanket to warm the bed before you get in and help relax muscles
Avoid smoking, over eating or drinking caffeine directly before bedtime
My top tips for getting to sleep
Help your mind wind down for the day
Get into a regular sleep routine for adjusting your Circadian rhythm, try to get up at the same time every day
Turn off all devices that emit blue light an hour before bedtime
Read a relaxing book or listen to gentle music
Try a meditation, like yoga nidra or one for helping you to get to sleep
Use ear plugs and a eye mask to block unwanted noise and light
Get into a comfortable sleep position and then try a relaxation routine
Whilst you are asleep make sure your room doesn’t have anything that will wake you like a mobile phone.
A pet that sleeps in your bedroom and disturbs you in the night, should be encouraged to sleep elsewhere.
If you wake in the night and cannot get back to sleep get up and find something that makes you drowsy like reading or a yoga nidra sleep meditation then return to bed.
If you find by morning you have not had enough sleep go back to bed and sleep for a while longer. If you catch up with a couple of hours sleep every night you will see the difference after a few months.
I recently read several articles which mentioned vitamin D (sunlight) exposure daily in the morning shortly after rising can help and mindfulness meditation both improved the quality of sleep in fibromyalgia sufferers.
I believe this to be true because I usually get up and do a daily walk every morning and this regulates my circadian rhythm over the next 24 hours. It’s more important to get up at the same time every day than the time I go to sleep.
I’ve found improvements in my concentration and ability to switch off at night after practicing regular Meditation on a daily basis. Explore meditation apps for sessions covering mindfulness and sleep. Have a look at my Fibromyalgia Self Help pages on Meditation and Exercise
If you have insomnia and it’s not necessarily fibromyalgia related, get it checked out by your doctor or health professional. If they prescribe sleeping pills it would be advisable to be referred to see a specialist sleep consultant.
Have a look at theNHS sleep self assessment to determine how good your sleep is.From this link you will find some helpful information about sleep.