Tag Archives: sleep

Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge – Day 2…

In keeping with my 5 day Gratitude Challenge, I’m to pick 3 things that I’m grateful for every day.  At the end of my 5 day challenge, I then pick 3 other people to take the challenge and keep the gratitude flowing.

I could keep this simple.  Just bullet point it, leave it at that and bam – I’m outta here.

But I’m not likely to.

It’s hard for me to see the worth in the time.  Because to be grateful, you’re supposed to spend a little time on that feeling, right?  Marinate a bit, let it sink in, and maybe let it transform your attitude a little.  And also because I’m starved for writing for the love of it.  (Someone please just hire me to write interest pieces like this all day long.)

Well, so here goes….

Today – after 19 hours of errands and work yesterday – I have some very specific things in mind to be thankful for.

1. Sleep Number Bed – I love you. 

Aberrant Crochet - I have a date tonight with my bed - Gratitude for Sleep

Truly.  Hook, line and sinker.  I wish there was a perk for me to write about this, because I’d absolutely take a new pillow top.  Hell yes.  But there’s not and the fact remains, I can sleep thanks to you and I’m grateful.

Back in 2005 I was in a terrible highway collision.  One of those events you aren’t supposed to walk away from and yet somehow you do.  I was on a road trip to see my grandparents.  Thank God I decided at the last minute to leave the kids home with my husband, because the entire backside of my car was destroyed.   Within two hours of being hit by a construction/demolition truck, with a demolition hitch on the front (which looks like the front of a snow plow), I was completely numb on my left side.  You never realize what a gift being able to have sensation in your hand is, until you don’t have it.  The truck was so big and so high up, it missed my bumper altogether.  It center punched and ran over the back-end of my car, slamming me into the guy ahead of me.  My air bag never deployed and my shoulder and neck sustained major injury.  And without a normal grate on the front of his truck, none of the energy was defrayed like it should have been.  It all channeled right through the center of my car to my body, which tried to fly out of my shoulder belt.

Two surgeons wanted me to have spinal surgery, but I’m allergic to a lot of the stuff used in the surgery, including most antibiotics.  One of my surgeons believed it was worth exploring other options.  So I spent over a year in physical therapy, chiropractic care and massage therapy just working to regain feeling and strength in my left arm and hand again.  I couldn’t crochet for months.  It hurt for my kids to lean on me, much less sit in my lap.  It sucked, in so very many ways.  Not to mention, my husband deployed for overseas duty right after it happened.  And I still have problems with my left shoulder and arm from it today.

But Sleep Number – you were there for me.  Towards the end of my therapy, I was blessed with a prescription for one of your beds.  I finally began to sleep, not just pass out.  And it still cradles me to sleep today.

2. Melatonin and the people who discovered you
– I salute you!

It’s probably because I’m exhausted, but I have to be grateful for the knowledge and availability of melatonin as an important factor in quality sleep.  Did you know that melatonin governs the quality of your sleep and has a relationship with serotonin?  That it may boost your immune system and help prevent/treat some cancers?  And that light destroys melatonin in your body, especially the blue spectrum of light?  Yeah.  All that late night computer work is not helpful.  So melatonin supplementation can be a very useful thing for someone like me.

You really need to be able to sleep at least 6 hours if you’re going to take melatonin though, because it helps you get into deep levels of sleep that you need time to wake from.  It’s not about making you sleep longer; it’s about regulating your cycle and getting to a deeper level of sleep, which is more effective than light sleep.  It also increases dreaming, especially if you haven’t dreamed (or recalled one) in awhile.

Melatonin supplementation is a modern convenience I am very grateful for.  And those people who study that stuff – you rock!

3. F.Lux – You are amazing!

F.lux™ is a computer app that helps your computer screen simulate sunlight according to the time of day, removing the blue spectrum for a warmer glow at night.  It gradually fades the light into a more relaxing warm tone and it definitely makes it easier for me to disconnect from my work and sleep better when I use the app.  It also has an option to delay its launch, say when you have graphic work to do, etc.. But it’s a great little tool, a free one at that and I’m grateful for it.  Again, I’m not gaining anything by telling you about this little invention, but I appreciate that someone thought it up!  Thank you! 🙂 

Oh, and F.Luxalso has a nice little page full of research articles about light and sleep here.  You should totally check it out.  I only just noticed it when I was grabbing links for this article, so I’m just looking through it too.  Sweet!

Sensing a theme here? 

Yeah, 4.5 hours of sleep last night is kind of on my mind.  (But hey, not only is the project done, but I rocked it.) And while in a perfect world I’d be sleeping 9 hours every day, these guys above help me along when I can’t.  What would I do without you?

So thanks Mr. Sleep Number Melatonin F.lux™ guy. I salute you!

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

Regulating Your Sleep Cycle

Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge



Filed under Uncategorized

Regulating Your Sleep Cycle

As someone who damaged their immune system in her early 20’s from sacrificing sleep, please take it from me and make this a priority if you have issues with your sleep cycle. Our immune system will successfully deal with many things until we sacrifice sleep, diet and sunlight. My sleep issues got worse after having kids and nursing and it took awhile to get my sleep cycles corrected.

I am not a doctor, and any decision you make is yours and yours alone. You should always consider seeing a doctor or another certified health professional. But these are natural ways that have helped me. (I’m allergic to many medications, so these are avenues my doctors have helped me find to do.)  I put this out there in case it might help others find a direction in solving this problem.

1. Melatonin. It’s an over the counter “vitamin” (synthetic hormone actually). Melatonin does not make you sleep per se, it will improve the quality of your sleep, help you get to that deeper REM and help regulate your internal clock again. If you have not dreamed in a while (as is the case for many exhausted people), the first few nights you will likely have a rush of wild dreams as your psyche downloads.  Some people may not experience this. A lot of people do.  Make sure you have plenty of time to sleep when you first start taking melatonin so there’s proper time to be at that deep level of sleep. Two hours will not work.

Melatonin is created from serotonin, so if you don’t have enough of one, you likely don’t have enough of the other. L-Tryptophan (an amino acid found in food like turkey) can also be found over the counter and is what the body uses to make serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin at night. If at any point you start waking up again in the middle of the night while taking melatonin, take a smaller dose or don’t take it. It does seem to build up in the system. Melatonin is processed through the liver, so keeping your liver healthy is also a good idea. Avoid alcohol for awhile, consider milk-thistle to support liver health. Also, low levels of serotonin are associated with increased carbohydrate cravings, depression, heightened sensitivity to pain, and troubled sleep patterns.

The smaller dosages (mcg) of melatonin did not work for me. But 5mg did. Don’t take it unless you are going to get at least 6 hours of sleep. And take it an hour before you want to go to bed. Today, I don’t need as much or as often (in fact I rarely take it) and I’m much less chronically exhausted.  But it was a life saver when my son started sleeping through the night and I still couldn’t.

I recommend you search some medical sites about melatonin to give you more information as well.

2. Light destroys melatonin in the body, especially the blue spectrum (though serotonin levels do increase during light exposure – sunlight being best). An hour before bed start turning off and dimming your lights. Also, no computer use during this time is also best, as the whole light issue is specific to your eyes. Staring at a computer screen is staring right into a source of light. The last lights you leave on should be yellow tone or even candle-light, avoid blue tone like the daylight bulbs you find. Do not leave a candle burning while you sleep. If you must use night lights, use red bulbs. Completely darken your room.

3. Go camping (tent, not cabin). Seriously, when you do not artificially extend your day with lights and the conveniences of modern life, your body will naturally try to sync up with the sun and other creatures around you. You’ll likely wake with dawn too. A night or two of camping have helped reset my internal clock.

4. Try not to eat a meal within 4 hours of going to bed. That being said, some people benefit from a simple glass of milk before bed. No sugar, caffeine or apples too close to bed. Apples contain a substance better than coffee for keeping you alert.  Whenever I have to drive for a trip, I take a bag of apples to eat while I drive. Works like a charm. Don’t eat them before bed.

5. Probiotics. Some people have trouble sleeping because something’s going on in their digestive track. Probiotics will help iron that out. And oddly, they do have a relationship to correcting in the gut whatever is decreasing proper serotonin/melatonin production.

Good luck, talk to a doctor and hope you get some sleep!


Personal experience
Book: Somer, Elizabeth, M.A., R.D. Food & Mood. Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 1999. (Page 144 on serotonin)


Filed under Health, NaBloPoMo