As we’ve been discussing on this blog , aging with HIV involves adapting to a great deal of change. One aspect of optimal aging with HIV is re-evaluating your coping strategies, to make sure they are meeting your changing needs.
This month we will be discussing Self Care. December can be a stressful month and you may want to make sure that you are doing everything you can to take the best care of yourself that you can.
Developing healthy sleep habits is an integral part of self care.
There are several things in life that could impact your sleep. Changes in medication, physical changes that accompany aging, stress, and environmental changes can all affect your ability to get a good night’s rest. The following are some recommendations for getting a good night’s sleep taken from Aging with HIV: A Gay Man’s Guide.
Many people’s sleep habits interfere with getting a good night’s sleep. For example, eating or drinking in bed, reading/playing cards in bed, and falling asleep with the TV on for background noise are just a few. These practices train your body to be awake in bed. If you are having sleep problems, try retraining yourself: go to sleep and get up at the same time every day, remove the TV from the bedroom, make your bedroom quiet and dark (use blackout shades if necessary), do not read in bed, and do not eat or drink in bed. The bed should be only for sleep (and sex). Establish a prebedtime ritual, such as turning off the TV and computer at least 30–60 minutes before bedtime, changing out of your day clothes, and flossing and brushing your teeth, to prepare your body for sleep. When you feel tired, go to bed. If you cannot sleep after 20 minutes, get up and leave the bedroom, but don’t turn on the TV or computer. Wait until you feel tired and try again. If you continue to have trouble sleeping, you should bring it up with your doctor.
Next post: Eating Well.
There is a good discussion started about sleep issues on a terrific HIV Aging Group on facebook, affectionately called HAG (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=79210965487) that has been running for almost two years with over 375 members that include aging HIVers, doctors and researchers.
Thanks, Lillian. I have just requested to become a member. It sounds like a great source of information sharing and community building.