Sleep deprivation is a common seizure trigger for those living with epilepsy. Getting good sleep has the potential to reduce or even prevent seizure activity.
According to the National Institute of Health, experts recommend that adults sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night.
The risks of not getting good sleep:
Sleep deprivation can disrupt the normal functioning of the brain, leading to an increase in abnormal electrical activity that can trigger seizures.
Tips to get good sleep:
Turn off the TV and electronics:
These devices produce blue light which is the part of the light spectrum most active in our sleep cycle. Stimulation of this part of the brain suppresses production of melatonin, making it difficult for many people to “turn off” their brains and fall asleep. Try turning off your TV and electronics 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime.
This includes such beverages as coffee, tea, and sodas. Research shows that doses of 100mg around bedtime reduce the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Some people may be more sensitive than others.
Be mindful of alcohol before bed:
Alcohol consumption within three hours of bedtime can suppress REM sleep, which is key to avoiding fatigue, waking up refreshed, and enhancing creativity and memory function.
Avoid late dinners:
It can be harder to fall asleep if your body is still digesting a big dinner. A small snack 30 to 40 minutes before bed is fine if you feel a little hungry.
Make your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool:
Try wearing a sleep mask, or use a white noise machine or fan to block out other sounds. Research shows that sleeping in a cooler room around 65 to 68 degrees helps avoid distraction throughout the night.
Practice relaxation techniques:
Stretching before bed can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, slow and deepen breathing, and create an increased sense of well-being.
If we want to fight epilepsy effectively, we must get adequate sleep. Make these tips a part of your nightly routine.