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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I change my sleep patterns to manage my various health conditions?

    I am considering completely changing my sleep pattern as my current one isn't working, as it is affected by my c-PTSD and caffeine and seroquel usage. As my mood is very similar to bipolar I have a lot of trouble sleeping and maintaining any sort of regularity. At the moment I have been taking my meds at nighttime and going to sleep for around 5-7 hrs, but waking up extremely groggy and cognitive function out the window.

    I have in the past tried sleeping in smaller blocks during the day, but more like 2 or 3 hour sleep then other small regular naps during the day, which left me feeling less afraid to go to sleep, more awake once I woke up, and was easier for me to take my seroquel ( if possible I should take it in small regular dosage during the day) I was however wondering if it was likely to be unsustainable long term, cause more health problems or make my mental health worse. I should also note that I have frontal lobe seizures.

    What should I do?
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  • 2

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    Established in 1952, Epilepsy Action Australia provides education and support for people with epilepsy, their families and community, and professional groups. These services promote self-management … View Profile

    Sleep disturbance can be a trigger for seizures although you did not mention whether your seizures are well controlled nor the antiepileptic medications you are taking.
     
    Here are some suggestions:
     

    • Reduce your caffeine and other stimulant intake during the day but especially prior to bed time.
    • Try to maintain a sleep routine of going to bed at a similar time each night and waking around the same time each day.
    • Remain active during the day to increase the possibility of needing sleep at the end of the day.
    • Use relaxation strategies to get to sleep such as breathing awareness techniques or relaxation CD’s.
    • Consult with a Psychologist about relaxation techniques that will best suit you.
    • Take your medications as your doctor(s) have prescribed.
    • Discuss with your doctor(s) about whether the medications you are taking could be affecting your ability to sleep or if they are not agreeing with you.
    • Keep a diary of your sleep patterns and seizure frequency and discuss these with your doctor(s).
    • If you think you may have had a seizure whilst asleep include this possibility in your diary.
     
    Please call Epilepsy Action Australia on 1300 376 45 37 and ask to speak to an Epilepsy Nurse Educator if you would like to discuss your epilepsy or seizure management.

  • 1

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    Renee Mill

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Empowering people is my passion and life work. I have been working as a Clinical Psychologist in private practice for over thirty years. I have … View Profile

    7 hours of sleep is a good place to start. It is sufficient to keep you going until you have perfected the pattern of sleep that you want. 

    1. Take notice of the time that you fall aleep for the next three nights. If it is around a specific time, then choose that time as your regular bedtime.

    2. Lets say 9pm is the chosen time. For the next 3 nights go to bed at 9pm and enjoy 7 hours of sleep. Do not nap during the day.

    3. On the fourth night, go to bed at 9.15pm and repeat for 3 nights. Slowly go to sleep later every 3 nights by an increment of fifteen minutes. 

    4. When you reach 11pm, 7 hours sleep will mean that you will wake at 6am which is a healthy time to wake up.

    5. If you require more sleep, then reverse the process in fifteen minute increments until you fall asleep and obtain the number of hours that you require. 8 hours of sleep is average for adutls.

    Sleep  can be regulated if you are consistent and allow time for your biological rythms to  kick in.Maintaining consistency will maintain the pattern that  you have acheived. 

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    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    One thing which has helped me is what is called sleep hygiene - what that means is learning good habits in preparation for a good night's sleep.

    You might find these two links helpful:

    http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Sleep_hygiene

    http://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/sleep-hygiene

     

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