At the end of the day, especially when you’re tired, it can be difficult to make changes to your routine, but I will work on establishing an evening routine to prepare myself for a restful evening. I feel sleeping through the night is one of my biggest challenges.

Lupe & Brian:     Welcome to another episode of Sjogren’s Strong.

Brian:    This is Brian

Lupe:     And this is Lupe

Brian:    And this is your weekly podcast discussing living an active and healthy lifestyle despite having a diagnosis of Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Lupe:     And today I’m so excited because we are going to talk about my favorite thing to do.

Brian:    And what’s that?


Lupe:     Sleep!

Brian:    Now you’re not a great sleeper.

Lupe:     Sometimes, when I get to do it.

Lupe:     So, as you all know, I am not the best sleeper. It comes and it goes. Sometimes I fall asleep on command, but most of the time it’s really hard for me to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. S

Lupe:     So, what we’re going to talk about is a few tips and tricks, that will hopefully help you, help me, help us sleep better,

Brian:    I hope they work. So next time I grab the vacuum cleaner, you’re not like, oh, I’m tired, I’m going to go rest.

Lupe:     No, no, no. That has nothing to do with sleep. That has something to do with my back starts hurting.

Lupe:     Whatever excuse it is, but don’t tell him.

Brian:    So we are going to talk about a few things that hopefully will help Lupe and you sleep a little better at night.

Brian:    It should go without saying, but we’re going to say it to make sure the bed, the bedroom is a quiet, cool, comfortable place to be.

Lupe:     Or whatever it is that you sleep. Because I, I do not sleep in the bedroom. I sleep on my recliner, I cannot sleep in bed because after about 10 minutes of lying flat, my lower back starts killing me, so I can’t do it. So, I personally sleep in the living room, on the recliner almost, in a sitting position.

Brian:    So, the next thing we want to talk about is setting a pattern of what time do you go to bed, what time do you get up? Now, depending on work and children and all of that, this might fluctuate a little bit, but if we choose that 9:00 PM is bedtime and we turn TVs off and put our cell phones down.

Lupe:     Why you’re looking at me like that?

Brian:    And prepare our minds and bodies for sleep, it can help. And then setting an alarm and getting up at a regular time, as well.

Lupe:     For the record, my cell phone is my woobie and I need it in my hands in order to be able to fall asleep.

Brian:    Literally, I take it out of her hands and put it on her charger.

Lupe:     After I fall asleep. But you know what? Sometimes I think that’s what keeps me up. The bright light is what keeps me up and a listener, Kristi, hi Kristi, I’m talking about you. She actually recommended that I use the dimmer on the, what is it called, the night dimmer or it’s a setting on your phone. And so, I did do that because it was really bright and when I did that, I don’t know, it worked – it worked for me.

Brian:    Yeah, there’s actually screen protectors you can put over, that gets rid of the blue light, I think it is. I’ve read about them, I’ve never used one, but apparently it’s whatever frequency of light or however they measure it, just stimulates the brain. And by turning things off and giving yourself 20 – 30 minutes with nothing bright in your eye can help you fall asleep better. And that includes TVs.

Lupe:     I actually did try the screen protector, that goes on your phone and it’s black and people can’t see, what is it? What was it called? I don’t remember what the security screen. Yeah. And you people behind you on the side of you, they can’t see your screen, which I thought was pretty cool, but it was really dark and I was actually straining my eyes. So that didn’t work for me.

Brian:    Maybe you should try one of these other protectors that uh,

Lupe:     But I dim the light, which it seems to be working. So I like that. Thank you Kristi.

Brian:    And the funny thing is, she’ll fall asleep and then her phone’s blaring this light and it’s distracting me. I look over every once in a while, like what’s going on over there? And it’s another Instagram like

Lupe:     That’s funny. Or my sister, sometimes they go crazy texting at night.

Brian:    So, a bedtime and a time to wake up, setting those and sticking to those and turning them into a habit and the wake-up time is there, so you’re not oversleeping and being awake the following evening. So getting up, having that routine is recommended.

Brian:    Now obviously planning out enough sleep. For me, my average, if I’m rocking it, my average is 6 – 6 1/2 hours of sleep at night. Some nights I get 7, some nights I’ll get 9 and 9 seems to be too much for me. I have a hard time the next day. But where are you at, Lupe?

Lupe:     Um, my average is about 4 – 5 hours.

Brian:    Which isn’t enough.

Lupe:     But that’s my average. So I don’t really know any better. A few weeks ago I got about 10 hours sleep and I woke up feeling really good, but that’s not normal for me.

Lupe:     So planning an 8 hour window or an 8 1/2 hour window for sleep and trying to make that habit and routine, is what we are suggesting here.

Brian:    And this is something she doesn’t do and I don’t really have one, but I don’t know, I typically don’t have a hard time falling asleep other than two or three nights a week. So I don’t think it’s as much of a concern for me as it is, Lupe, but having a nighttime routine, getting up, washing your face, applying moisturizers and lotions, calming the mind. Creating that ritual I think could help you, Lupe.

Lupe:     Yeah.

Brian:    And just, cause it’s, it’s bedtime. It’s like when we were kids, get your pj’s on, brush your teeth, give kisses, get a book read to you.

Lupe:     Well, I’m always tired, so for me it’s kind of always bedtime.

Lupe:     No, actually I don’t really have a ritual, if you could call it a ritual, what I do when I get home is, I make sure I do everything that I need to do before I sit down, place my buttock in my recliner. Because once I sit down, I am not getting up. There is nothing in this world that is going to get me up, unless I have to go to the peeps.

Brian:    It’s true.

Lupe:     So, I keep everything close to me. I keep the humidifier really the close to me. Sometimes I find that I can’t fall asleep. For example, Saturday night I kind of took a nap, I don’t remember what we did Saturday during the day, but, um, I took a nap and I woke up at about 10 – 10:30 and I was awake from 10:30 that evening to whenever I fell asleep Sunday night. So, cause I don’t sleep really.

Lupe:     So, I keep the humidifier. The humidifier helps me sleep, so I turn it on. I keep it really handy. I try to always make sure it has water in it and if it doesn’t, you know, sometimes I ask Brian to fill it for me. Cause like I said, once I sit. But I have everything close to me. Everything that I feel I will need and I know I’ll be too lazy to get up and grab like my Surface Pro, my laptop. Um, stuff like that.

Brian:    Cell phone, flashlight, chap stick lotion, tooth picks. What else?

Lupe:     Uh, dental floss. That’s true. Um, my books, everything that I want at an arm’s reach because I, I am not getting up.

Lupe:     Also, what really helps me is a heating pad for my back. And the heating pad that I use right now, it has three settings. I set it to medium or sometimes high. It really helps my back.

Lupe:     But lately I’ve been using heated blanket because I’ve been really cold lately and I thought that would help me with my back, but it doesn’t because the blanket doesn’t get hot enough. So it helps keep me warm but it doesn’t help my back.

Lupe:     So, I’m going to I need to get back to the heating pad. And I actually ordered one on Amazon. Um, I think it was a triple x. I don’t know how large that is.

Brian:    So avoiding alcohol, avoiding caffeine are great tips a few hours before bedtime. Just let the body cleanse itself of any and everything that might keep you awake and thing. A

Brian:    And the last topic that we’re going to point out, this is something that I do, is I’m the type of guy that if I think of something, I need to do it or write it down so I don’t forget to do it.

Lupe:     Do you have Sjogren’s by proxy cause you forget.

Brian:    No, I just forget. I used to keep pen and paper and now I’m training myself to use Notes on my phone and just so I have it with me everywhere I go.

Brian:    For example, we go grocery shopping on the weekends. And I needed things, so I made notes and I got to pull my list out and make sure I bought the things I needed to get. But there’s something I need to do the next morning. So. and I’m already in the recliner or in bed, so I’ll just grab my phone really quick and add it to the note.

Lupe:     I don’t like adding a grocery list to my phone because then I’m that girl that’s walking around the grocery store looking at herself, tripping over people. You were that guy.

Brian:    She’ll write her list out on paper and then forget it. At least I have my list with me.

Lupe:     There you go, airing my dirty laundry.

Brian:    Hey, did we have this on the list? Oh, I forgot the list.

Lupe:     Guilty, as charged.

Brian:    Yeah, and then we ended up, okay. Anyway, we won’t even go down that road.

Lupe:     But you did mention, avoid alcohol and avoid caffeine. I personally, we actually, we haven’t had alcohol since September 2018 ,that was the last time. That was, I believe, what caused a major flare that I had and I was in flare for weeks and we realized that it was alcohol and I just, I won’t touch it. I don’t even crave it because I never want to feel that way again.

Brian:    Yeah. We actually came to that realization after that fundraising event we went to when we had a few cocktails.

Lupe:     Yeah.

Brian:    And the next day, when we kind of put two and two together, we threw all the alcohol that we had in the house away. We haven’t had a drink.

Lupe:     Haven’t touched it. Not in a family functions or social gatherings, nothing. So thank you Brian for supporting me that way.

Brian:    Of course.

Lupe:     Um, and caffeine. As far as caffeine, I don’t really drink it. I stopped drinking coke. Once in a while I’ll have it, if we go out to a restaurant, maybe. Maybe, that’s really iffy.

Lupe:     Coffee, I don’t really drink coffee. Once in a while, Starbucks. Um, I think it has more sugar than coffee, to be honest. If I go to my sister’s or my mom’s, they’re always drinking coffee. And I think I add coffee to my sugar because it’s really sugar that I like, I think.

Lupe:     But yes, uh, stay away from coffee and alcohol.

Lupe:     I think as long it’s warm from me, it kind of helps me fall asleep. Tea, hot cocoa, you know, adding coffee to my sugar. As long as it’s warm, it might help.

Brian:    Yup.

Lupe:     At the end of the day, especially when you’re tired, it can be difficult to make changes to your routine, but I will work on establishing an evening routine to prepare myself for a restful evening. I feel sleeping through the night is one of my biggest challenges. So if you have a routine to share that you feel might help me or other listeners, please let us know.

Lupe:     Until next time, sip constantly and stay hydrated.

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