The Girl With The Five Lads is a Fibromyalgia blog started in 2015. It is all about my daily life with my five sons, our two dogs and our baby tortoise. I write a lot of health and illness, passions, holistic therapies, personal thoughts and our day to day life together.
Monday, 31 October 2016
"Awake at 3am" is no longer my Fibromyalgia spoonie problem
"Awake at 3 am #fibromyalgia #spoonieproblems "
I could post that on social media and lots of others would relate to the 3 am wake up. It seems that is our natural internal alarm with fibromyalgia.
So why do we wake at 3 am?
Here is the medical response.
The adrenal glands are absolutely vital to your wellbeing. We each have two of them, and they play a hugely important role in producing the hormones that we need. The inner part of our adrenals produces something called epinephrine and norepinephrine, or adrenaline, our “fight or flight” hormones.
These hormones kick in whenever there is a perceived threat, and gear us up for either fighting off the threat or fleeing from it. The outer cortex produces the hormone cortisol in a more gradual and consistent way, but also in response to stress, especially chronic stress.
A chronic illness with chronic fatigue and juggling life, in general, can be a cause of stress.
Healthy levels of cortisol hormone are secreted in a carefully orchestrated 24-hour (circadian) rhythm, starting out highest in the morning and falling to mid-range throughout the afternoon, and quite low during the night. The adrenal glands start the next day's cycle just before dawn so levels can be high enough to meet the demands of waking up and starting a new day.
A while back I decided enough was enough as it was draining the life out of me. I did not want to go down the lines of sleeping tablets so I viewed it more holistically.
I was becoming stressed with little energy and as Cortisol is secreted in response to stress, this cycle had to be broken. I do not do stress.
For the whole of this month I have changed my sleep pattern to best suit my bodies new needs and accommodate that cortisol hormone is highest in the morning, so I would utilize this energy better. Cortisol and its related compounds are vitally important hormones that we literally cannot live without. They control our sleep/waking cycle, they suppress inflammation, they help us generate energy from non-carbohydrate foods and they even regulate our blood pressure. Sometimes you have to have a complete change in order to function as a human being with a smile. I have a chronic illness, I have chronic fatigue and little energy but I do have contentment and a massive smile, this is what life being a Fibro Mum is all about.
There is no magic cure and often we never manage complete refreshing sleep but we can have our waking hours happier and more content.
As much as I adore my sons, I value time alone. For many years this has been the time after they have gone to bed. This was the time when I could catch up on some blogging and social networking or simply just knit with a mug of tea. Being up so early meant that by evening fibro fog was raging, pain levels were totally unbalanced and my "me-time" became feel sorry for myself time.
One of my biggest accolades as a woman is that I listen to my body's inner compass. I fully appreciate this is easier for me to do as I am a qualified holistic therapist but everyone has the ability to listen to their bodies requirements we just need to know how.
I firmly believe that we all need a block of proper sleep, some me time alone and a scheduled rest during the daytime in order to manage Fibromyalgia effectively.
What I have done recently is switched my timetable.
Instead of looking forward to me-time in the evening I have moved it to early morning. I now go to sleep with my younger children between 8:30 and 9:30 is our usual routine. I wake for the day between 3am and 4 am. My scheduled rest remains during lunch time. I have a few hours each day during school hours approx 11 am and have the alarm set on my phone for 2.15pm so I can collect the boys.
My day is still very much spent as a chronic ill Mum. I am either in my chair or in bed doing bits and bobs such as reading blogs, knitting, doing my journal, watching Netflix. This I can not change but I am happy, content and appreciating the small things in life.
Maybe you need to tweak your life and timetable to become happier?
This morning my "awake at 3 am" is not a spoonie problem as I am as happy as a pig in a mud bath. I had a beautiful seven-hour sleep. The house is silent besides the rain tapping on the windows and my fur babies snoring sweetly on the couch. I have a delicious mug of hot coffee. The candle the boys got me as a gift is filling the room with a wonderful uplifting aroma as the flame dances on the mantle. Yes, I have a chronic illness but life is so good.
Give a Mum some sleep and quality me-time and she will smile at the small stuff.