Up All Night!
Posted by Martin Hewitt on November 17, 2020
Photo by FamVeld from iStock
A good night’s sleep is essential to keep healthy in both mind and body. Yet, many people suffer from serious sleep problems. Here are some hints and tips to help you get your quality 40 winks!
It’s not uncommon for people to go through periods of being unable to sleep, with many struggling to sleep over months. These sleep issues can accentuate certain symptoms and place an additional strain on our mental health.
Don’t take our word for it, though. This is the view of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center [RRTC] at the University of Washington. And it’s echoed across the medical and healthcare community, too. So, looking to improve your sleep pattern and overcome any sleep problems should be a priority.
Is there a link between disabilities and sleep problems?
According to RRTC research, 40% of people living with a disability report long-term sleep problems. Examples include those suffering from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress and Parkinson’s Disease. Among this part of the population, people are three times more likely to struggle with sleep than the average person.
As you can see from that list – which is far from comprehensive – sleep problems are often linked to a range of conditions including psychological, physiological and neurological.
The type of sleep issues people report vary wildly depending on the cause and contributing factors. Someone might struggle with delayed sleep phase, which means very irregular sleeping patterns or narcolepsy, which is another common issue, meaning you fall asleep unexpectedly and uncontrollably at any point during the day. Then, of course, there’s insomnia, the inability to sleep or stay asleep, which significantly impairs cognitive function.
There are a host of other more subtle conditions that may also make sleeping more challenging such as Restless Leg Syndrome, where you have an urge to move your legs in search of greater comfort, bruxism (grinding or clenching teeth), involuntary limb movement and sleepwalking.
What are sleeping aids?
Sleeping aids are a form of mobility aid as they help us be more able to perform a particular daily activity, in this case, they are designed to improve sleep. Fundamentally, sleeping aids come in two forms — devices or products, and medication.
There are many handy low-tech items you can try, which may help. Pillows are an obvious type of sleeping aid, and there’s far more to them than the choice between down and synthetic fibres. Contour Leg Pillows sit between the legs, and their hourglass shape can work wonders for those with issues with their hip alignment and some back conditions. It’s also worth remembering that specialised head and neck pillows can be great mobility aids, for example, this orthopaedic design, and these gel support cushions, neck rolls and V pillows.
For some people, a long-term health condition, mobility issue or disability can lead to poor stability when sleeping in a standard bed. Once asleep, there could be a danger of rolling off the mattress. This is where anti-roll side wedges and side bumpers may help. By guiding a night-time mover to remain in bed, they are far more likely to get a decent night’s sleep.
Mobility aids for the bedroom
Bed raisers work in a similar way to a chair raiser – that is they allow the bed to be raised, making it easier to get in and out. Hoists and ladders are mobility aids aimed at improving movement in and around the bed. Leg lifters and other positioning aids are particularly useful if it’s a struggle to move your legs up on to the bed. They help to ensure we get into the most comfortable position possible, again aiding a good night’s sleep.
Mattresses are the ultimate sleeping aids
Everybody knows that a bed is only as good as the mattress you place on top.
Harley Pressure-Tex Mattresses are one example of mattresses designed to improve comfort and sleep among people with bed care problems, mobility issues and disabilities. You may also want to consider a mattress topper, with several different designs available suited to varying needs — from the Harley Ripple to the Ehob Multi Care, which is inflated with a pump to help reduce pressure and improve temperature distribution.
The most important thing to remember is that we cannot function properly with prolonged bouts of poor or little sleep. Creating the most comfortable bedroom environment possible for rest and relaxation is vital.