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Lupus Can Make It Hard To Sleep. Can Tech Help?

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While everyone needs good sleep, for Lupus Warriors it is even more critical, but often elusive.

“My mom thinks I’m lazy but I told her most nights I don’t even sleep … I just lay there.”

Is there anything worse than being tired but unable to drift off? Sometimes it’s the pain that gets in the way. Other nights, it may be anxiety. But whatever the root cause, sleep issues are one of the top five lupus symptoms. It can even be a lupus flare trigger.

So what can you do to get better sleep?

 

Start with Tracking Your Sleep

While it might feel like every night is just awful, there may be more variation. Before you can determine what is helping you sleep, you need to be able to measure it. Fortunately, there are awesome apps and devices that are making that easier than ever.

Apps that measure and track sleep

Sleep Cycle (iOS). Sleep Cycle uses the microphone on your smartphone to analyze your sleep. It uses that data to determine the perfect time to wake you up. This helps  you feel more rested and relaxed (according to their website).

More importantly, it gives you a measure of your sleep quality. So what’s keeping you awake? Was it  dinner with the in-laws or a new medication?

 

SleepBot – Available for iOS or Android. SleepBot offers:

  • tracking
  • soothing sounds
  • smart wake up capabilities
  • great charts and graphs to help you find trends

It also lets you export all your data so you can bring your journal with you to the doctor.

Gadgets that measure and track sleep

If you really want to get serious about tracking and measuring your sleep, check out these advanced sleep tracking gadgets. However, they are more expensive

Beddit – For $150, you get a thin device that goes under your sheets. Beddit measures your sleep quality, heart rate, breathing, and snoring. Best part: Set it and forget it. Nothing to remember at night!

Withings Aura – For $300, you get everything that comes with the Beddit but you also get a color-changing light and speaker. This allows the Aura to create a simulated sunrise for a gradual wake up which they claim “leaves you feeling energized and refreshed.”

The best part. It connects to Spotify, which means you can stream your favorite playlists or listen to wake-up programs.

Okay, I am tracking… Now What?

Most of the apps and devices come with recommendation engines. So, while you are tracking, you will be given suggestions on other ways to improve your sleep hygiene.

Here are a few other things you can try:

 

Eye Mask and Ear Plugs. One of the best ways to get a good night sleep and fend off fatigue and lupus flares is to invest in an eye mask and some ear plugs. Light and noise make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. While it might take a little time to get used to, and it might seem like an overly simple solution, eye masks and ear plugs can make a world of a difference.

 

Don’t lie awake in bed. Thinking about not being able to sleep can actually make it harder to fall asleep. Instead of staying in bed and getting anxious, consider:

  • reading a book
  • practicing meditation/mindfulness
  • getting another (quiet) chore done

But, be sure to avoid blue light (smartphone/tv screens) as it can make getting to bed harder.

 

Create a bedtime routine. This is a lot easier said than done, but can make a huge difference. The apps and devices above can also make sure you are sticking to it. Try going to bed at the same time everyday and waking up at the same time everyday (yup, even the weekends). Do the same relaxing activity before you go to sleep. Read 30 pages of a book or take a warm bath. This is signal to your body it’s time to wind down. A warm bath can also go a long way to help the pain.

 

Talk to your doctor. If nothing is working, make sure to have an open and honest conversation with your doctor. Sleeping aids like melatonin can have a negative impact for people with autoimmune conditions, so it’s important to work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that is best for you.

Comments (7)

7 thoughts on “Lupus Can Make It Hard To Sleep. Can Tech Help?

  1. I get so tired no pun intended!) of people who comment about my inability to sleep like I’m just making bad choices. My absolute worse pain comes when I’m lying down.

    1. Absolutely! I go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every day. But some days I just can’t sleep! It happens for several nights at a time. Usually, it’s the pain keeping me awake. Sometimes I just lay there hoping, and of course nothing happens. Or my sleep is so horribly broken I get no REM at all. Thanks for the article.

  2. I have a ☕️ of SleepyTime herbal tea about an hour before going to bed. If unable to fall asleep, i read for an hour.

  3. I am on sleep medication and sometimes I sleep. Not all the time the pain wakes me up. Then I am up. The Best sleep I get is in the day time.

  4. I am awake 5 out of 7 nights a week. Some times I sleep during day sometimes I sleep 7 pm till 10 I have tried schedules do not work pain level high at night sleeping pills do not work finally doc says to me you will sleep when you are tired. So in English he means I have no idea what to do

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