[bct] Sleep patterns

  • From: "jeff" <j1armstrong@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "blind cool tech mail list" <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 3 Nov 2005 17:12:34 -0600

Hi guys,

I've really been interested to know what other blind people like me experienced where sleep is concerned. I've always been a night owl, but about 10 years ago it really got bad, I would wake up so many times during the night that the night would seem to last forever. One of the best pieces of advise I ever heard on the subject was to make your bedroom the kind of place where sleep is encouraged. Televisions are great for some people, but were terrible for me. I removed the TV and the temptation to stay awake watching something. I have found that the more boring the program the better. I listen to some old time shows as well, but only because the ones I listen to knock me out. I also have a fan by my bed for additional noise and the breeze is nice too. Keeping nice smelling candles or other scented items in your room helps too. I haven't figured out the whole having sight versus not having sight thing where sleep cycles are concerned. A friend of mine has no eyes at all, she has wondered about this as well. She has been attending a sleep disorder clinic. I have been thinking that her work hours are the problem, she starts work at 4:00 AM. She gets up at about 3:00 AM. But, how does the body/brain recognize day and night? Is it possible that the body has some other mechanism for intaking sunlight? Is it just life experiences which makes depression so prevalent in the blind? Or could there be a relationship between less light making it to the optic nerve and so on? These days, I usually fall asleep around 12 o'clock midnight to 1:00 AM. I usually wake again around 4 or 5. Then sleep is full of tossing and turning until I get up at 7 or 8 to get ready for work. I, like Mary commented, notice that a day spent outdoors leads to a restful night and a better disposition in general. I assume that the additional sunlight exposure is the reason. Last year I purchased a "happy light", yeah, I know it's a stupid name, but it claims to be full spectrum and I would stare into it while I ate breakfast and listened to the morning radio prior to work and it actually seemed to help. I hear that one can not use this kind of light close to bed time or it will make it hard to sleep. A program I watched on public television a couple of years ago, stated that the brain releases a "cocktail" of hormones just prior to waking time. Maybe that part of the whole process could go wrong as well. It's a fascinating subject with indications that answers aren't far off. Caffeine is another culprit and I must say that I keep going off and on the use of it. When I don't use it, I feel tired and when using it sleep is more difficult. I think, I just need to get away from it and try to stay off it long enough for my body to really adjust and not feel tired. There are a ton of things that can effect sleep. If one consumes sugar close to bed time, the body will have a sugar rush and then a sugar crash later on, this could lead to early waking and bad dreams. The local radio show on medical issues recommended eating less sugar and more fats at night prior to bed. The idea is to get one's blood sugar level to remain very constant during the night. Well, that's about all I can think of right now.


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