Sleep better at night

Many people with Huntington’s disease have trouble sleeping. Managing or treating the problems directly may be beneficial. Find some simple tips on how to improve sleep below.

Short-term sleep deprivation has no lasting damage, but it impacts mood. Without enough sleep, people become irritable, unreasonable and short-tempered.

At HDBuzz we can read that people with Huntington frequently suffer from sleep abnormalities and that this dysfunction may actually be part of the range of symptoms in Huntington’s disease.

However, a significant percentage of the population suffers sleep disruption due to personal habits. We stay up too late, we take drugs that interfere with sleep and we over-stimulate ourselves with late-night activities.

But there is good news: there are already well-established treatments for sleep disturbance.

1) TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR


Many medications can cause sleeplessness as a side effect. Ask your doctor if the medication you are taking can lead to this. However, it’s important that you don’t stop taking the medication without seeking the advice of your doctor.

Other times drug treatment might help. Sometimes your doctor will prescribe sleep medicine that will help you. This does not have to be a long-term treatment. Sometimes a short period of treatment is enough to help reestablish good sleeping patterns.

As well as drug treatments, there are recognized, scientifically sound self-help strategies for improving sleep:

2) SELF-HELP STRATEGIES

BEFORE BEDTIME

1) Exercise during the day (get simple exercising tips at our Active Huntingtons resource).
2) Avoid taking naps during the day.
If you feel sleepy, do something else. Go for a walk, do the dishes, take a shower. If you must take a nap, limit it to 30-40 minutes and set your alarm clock to wake you up.

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BEDTIME

1) Set a bedtime and go to bed within this time.
2) Fix a ‘wake-up’ time. Get out of bed when the alarm goes off, even if you still feel tired.
3) Stick to your going-to-bed and wake-up times, even at the weekends.
4) Establish going-to-bed rituals. For example: switch off your phone, walk the dog, clean your teeth, have a bath, read a book for a few minutes.

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FALLING ASLEEP


If you don’t fall asleep within 15-30 minutes, try getting up and go into another room. Sit quietly, read, listen to the radio, have a drink or a light snack, do a quiet activity such as a crossword puzzle, or take a bath. Do not use your computer or watch television.

After 20 minutes or so, go back to bed.

Remember that your sleeping time starts at your chosen bedtime. If you don’t sleep, you shouldn’t roll your wake-up time forward to compensate. You should get up 8 hours after you went to bed.

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YOUR BED Should be..

1) Used only for sleeping, reading and sex! No working, no television, no computer games.
2) Comfortable. This may sounds obvious, but if your bed is too hard, or too soft, you will not sleep well.

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YOUR BEDROOM Should be..

1) Cool (but not cold)
2) Well-ventilated
3) As dark as possible
4) As quiet as possible

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