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Getting Better Sleep With Lupus, With Christine Miserandino

05/04/2011

  • Christine Miserandino:

    Woo! OK. Lupus slumber party, girls! Get comfortable! OK, we have our blanket, we have our pajamas. Wait, do you have that snuggly blanket that you need?

  • Robin Daniel:

    Oh, this is mine. OK!

  • Christine:

    So if it is the lupus slumber party, is it daytime or is it nighttime? Who knows?

  • Robin Daniel:

    It’s whenever you can sleep time. (Laughter)

  • Christine:

    What do you guys do about noise, or hot and cold?  There's so many issues that affect my sleep.

  • Kim Schofield:

    Well, I sleep with a fan and that's --

  • Stacie Collett and Robin:

    So do I!

  • Kim:

    Because A, for the noise and also because it actually cools your body temperature down and it helps with flaring.

  • Christine:

    Where have you been my whole life?

  • Kim:

    TIRED! (Laughter)

  • Kim:

    I've also found that if I take a nice warm shower in the evening -- that kind of winds me down, and it starts to set me, that my body starts saying, "OK, It's time -- to go -- to bed."

  • Robin:

    Epsom salt also helps with the pain, and a warm Epsom salt bath helps and it will help relax you, and that's definitely helped me. And stretching -- stretching is BIG.

  • Kim:

    And I start to de-stress, I start to kind of breathe a little slowly. I kind of lay down and get myself in position, start moving a little bit to just calm me down a little bit, because stress is so overwhelming, and it keeps you tight, so I may put on a little jazz or some soft music ...

  • Robin:

    Dim the lights.

  • Christine:

    I'm going to go to your house to sleep. (Laughter) It sounds good over there. But I know that's like lupus joke of the day though -- try to de-stress.

  • Christine:

    So then you're going, "I will not stress, I will not stress, I will not stress."

  • Robin:

    Exactly!

  • Kim:

    I must sleep, I must sleep, I must sleep.

  • Stacie:

    You need to get sleeping right now.

  • Robin:

    That's what deep breathing does help ...

  • Christine:

    That’s good.

  • Robin:

    Slow, deep breathing.

  • Christine:

    And I for one, I learn to hide my clock, because that clock, it is evil, because you look at it and then all of a sudden you will go, "That's a half hour of less sleep I just got."

  • Robin:

    Exactly!

  • Christine:

    I have to wake up in five hours, in four hours, in three hours, and it's the countdown to evil wake up time. So I actually learn to put my clock somewhere that I can't see it, because if I can't see it ...

    (chorus) That's a good idea!

  • Christine:

    And I found that too an eye mask, it's the same idea of turning off your phone. Because if I can't see the shadows, or the dust on the fan, or all the things that are going to distract me, if I'm forced to close my eyes, I found, you know, blindfold me and put me to bed! (Laughter) Because if I can't see it it's not bothering me. And it might sound silly, but always -- you got to find what works for you, but these little things help so much.

  • Stacie:

    Well, for me, I have a lot of hip pain, and I have basically had to learn to sleep on my back.

  • Robin:

    Do you use a lot of pillows to kind of prop?

  • Stacie:

    Yes, I sleep on two pillows.

  • Kim:

    I'll sleep on my side because of my hips, so I kind of use a lot of pillows on my side.

  • Stacie:

    Yes.

  • Christine:

    Even from my breathing when I had swelling around my lungs, or whatever -- I found that when I was a little more propped up and not so flat, that helped me breathe better.

  • Kim:

    By putting pillows under your ankles helps, if ankles are swelling, I usually sleep with pillows.

  • Robin:

    Exactly. Exactly.

  • Christine:

    I didn’t know that! (Laughter) I’m so glad we did this because we’re over here going, oh, we’re going to lift our ankles! (Laughter)

  • Stacie:

    OK, girls, so I’ve heard that exercise is supposed to help you sleep at night.

  • Robin:

    Yeah.

  • Stacie:

    Really?

  • Kim:

    Yes! (Laughter)

  • Christine:

    We’re not buying it over here, so convince us.

  • Robin:

    Yoga -- stretching, calming kind of things -- definitely helps. Like I started doing the hot water class -- and it’s -- the water temperature is like 97 degrees and above, and you get in there, it feels so good. And water is just amazing for arthritis and -- especially warm water. And so I get in there and stretch, or even stretching on the bed like, I’ll just -- pulling your knees up to your chest.

  • Kim:

    That’s what I do. I kind of do the range of motion, move the joints back a little bit. I stretch a little bit. I bend and do a little light stretching.

  • Robin:

    Yeah.

  • Stacie:

    Do you do it in the morning or do you do it?

  • Kim:

    And right before I go to bed.

  • Robin:

    And in the morning.

  • Kim:

    And first thing in the morning.

  • Christine:

    And it helps you ...

  • Robin:

    Before you even get out of the bed.

  • Kim:

    Definitely.

  • Robin:

    I can't -- I have no range of motion as soon as I wake up, like I'll HAVE to stretch.

  • Christine:

    I feel like the tin man, like, OIL CAN!  I need to be oiled, so I get these things to help!

  • Kim:

    Yes, they do.

  • Robin:

    I know!

  • Christine:

    And I’ve heard that exercise during the daytime, you know, gets out that energy so at night you are thoroughly exhausted, and ready for sleep.

  • Stacie:

    Right.

  • Christine:

    All these things are so important. so if I can do like two or three of them -- I think that ...

  • Kim:

    You’ll see a difference.

  • Christine:

    I think that’s good, but I have to say -- well -- just talking about all this, I’m exhausted!

  • Robin:

    Seriously.

  • Christine:

    I think we need to go back to sleep!

  • Robin:

    Let’s go.

  • Christine:

    Let's go.

  • Robin:

    I'm down.

Guest Expert What is a guest expert?

Christine Miserandino is a lupus advocate who writes, blogs, and speaks about living with lupus.

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