Reality check quiz: 5 questions to honestly assess your sleep

Carie ShermanBy Carie Sherman

Lupus presents differently in every person, but one symptom seems to be part of every Lupie’s nightmares: Fatigue.

I met with my rheumy yesterday and said—as usual: ”I’m tired.” To which he replied sympathetically: “I know.”

But then he did the unthinkable: He suggested a reality check.

He said I might never fully understand the whys and whats of the fatigue that seems inherent with autoimmune disorders, even when they’re not actively flaring. Also, my own physical factors (sleep apnea, GERD, arthritis) can all contribute to poor sleep.

Dr. M suggested I think about that which I can control. In essence, how my sleep habits impact the quality of rest I receive.

So I did some research. And according to the sleep disorder clinic at the University of Maryland Medical Center, there just might be a few things I could improve upon.

5 Questions; Honest Answers

1) Do you go to bed and wake up at the same time? 

Ummm, no. The general idea is there—I’m in bed not too long after my daughter falls asleep because I’m exhausted. But then I write. I read. I watch movies with my hubby. I wake up when my sleep mask falls off, or when my stomach aches, or when the coffee is ready at 5:30 because it’s my “alarm clock” when I’m behind on a deadline. Or when the cat is hungry (whichever comes first).

2) Do you avoid sugar, napping, caffeine, and alcohol 4-6 hours before bedtime?

(I won’t dignify this question with a response. Harrumph!)

3) Is your sleeping environment reserved for sleeping and sex? 

carie sherman lupus blogOf course! But it’s also reserved for work, breakfast, writing, movie-watching, 3-year old gymnastics time, yoga, Candy Crush binges, Skittles, breakfast…

4) Is your bedding comfortable? 

My cat thinks so. She doesn’t even move when I change positions. My 85-pound Rottie agrees.

5) Is your bedroom a comfortable temperature? 

Sure! But only when the outside temp is no lower than 50 degrees and no higher than 70. Otherwise, I’m offsetting an overly-active furnace or air conditioner.

So I guess the real question is: Am I doing all I can do “battle” my fatigue? Obviously, I have some thinking to do.

What’s your best advice for sleep hygiene?