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Selfcare is Healthcare, Part II: Sleep

Sufficient sleep is vital for everyone’s health, but many people struggle to get enough. Many rare disease patients live with chronic, debilitating pain which can make it nearly impossible to fall asleep or stay asleep. So what can be done to support rare disease patients’ efforts to get the sleep they require?


Controlling pain is an important step toward a restful night. In addition to prescription pain medications, there are a number of interventions that may alleviate discomfort. Depending on the source of pain, the right exercise and physical therapy can make a significant difference in controlling pain, and your doctor can guide you in finding the treatments or exercises that will work for your problems. There have also been many interesting studies on acupuncture as a method to control pain. Many physicians include acupuncture in their recommendations for pain patients.


Stress can increase pain and interfere with sleep, so stress management is an important part of getting good sleep. Many people have found activities like yoga, meditation and deep breathing effective for relieving stress and promoting sleep. Other people find distractions such as listening to music or watching favorite movies helpful.


Another method to promote sleep is a bedtime ritual to help you wind down. Repeating the ritual each night signals the body that it is time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Make your sleep a priority, an integral part of caring for yourself.



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