Epilepsy Talk

12 sleep tricks… | February 27, 2023

We all know that sleep deprivation can trigger seizures.

Some people’s seizures are tied very closely with their sleep. You may have all of your seizures while sleeping, when falling asleep or waking up.

Lot of things can affect your sleep and make you more likely to have seizures. Here are a few factors to consider:

Not getting enough sleep
Not getting ‘good quality’ sleep 
Having seizures at night
Depression and anxiety
Stimulants taken prior to sleep
Medication side-effects 
Sleep disorders

It’s definitely a vicious cycle. And so I searched for some sleep tips. Some may be familiar to you and some may be new…

1.) Try changing your sleeping position
Sleep on your side, not your back. It’s the best position for relaxing, and allows all your internal organs to rest properly. This may be due to the effects of gravity, which cause your throat to narrow when you lie on your back and allows more oxygen in when you sleep on your side. Special pillows can help maintain this position.

2.) Squeeze and relax
Lying on your back, breathe slowly and tense your toes tightly as if you are trying to curl them under your foot, then relax them. On another slow breath, curl your foot up toward your knee, then release. Breathe again, contract your calf muscles, then your thighs, buttocks, belly, chest, arms, and neck until you have moved all the way up your body, squeezing and releasing the muscles one by one. When you have gone from head to toe, your breathing should be steady and you should feel ready for sleep.

3.) Pressure points
There are special points in the body which promote sleep when pressed gently but firmly. Put your thumb on the point between your eyebrows at the top of your nose, where there’s a slight indent. Hold for 20 seconds, release briefly and repeat twice more. Next, sit on the edge of the bed and put your right foot across your left knee. Find the slight indent between your big toe and second toe and press in the same way. Finally, while still supporting your right foot, find the point just below the nail on the upper side of your second toe. Using the thumb and forefinger of your right hand, gently squeeze the toe.

4.) Deep breathing
I breath in through my nostrils and hold my breath for ten seconds — although, some people do it for 5 seconds — and then exhale from my mouth to the count of ten, through pursed lips. (Think of blowing out birthday candles!)

5.) Inhale through your left nostril
This yoga method is thought to reduce blood pressure and calm you. Lie on your left side, resting a finger on your right nostril to close it. Start slow, deep breathing in the left nostril.

6.) Visualize
Imagine yourself in a situation where you feel content — a tropical paradise, sailing on calm waters, walking in flower fields. Imagine smelling flowers, feeling grass or sand under your feet and hearing water lap against the boat. You should soon feel relaxed and drift off.

7.) Turn off all electronics
Say no to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Email, Texting, and any other social media outlet you participate in at least an hour before sleeping. Besides the bright light from the screens, social media outlets (like on your phone and computer) can cause stress and raise anxiety levels.

8.) Reduce unwanted noise
Turn on a white noise generator or a recording of sounds from nature. The constant, low-level sound drowns out other noises that may prevent you from falling asleep. You could also listen to soft, relaxing music.

9.) Keep it dark
Bright lights, not just from electronics, can be an enemy to falling asleep. They trick your body into thinking it’s too early in the day for sleep, and prevent an increase in hormones responsible for sleepiness. Turn off all overhead lights, night lights, and lamps to fall asleep faster. Don’t forget to close your blinds too! Light-blocking curtains can be extra beneficial when combined with closed blinds for improved sleep speed.

10.) Avoid illuminated bedroom clocks
Try to keep your bedroom as dark as possible. An illuminated bedroom clock is a source of light that can be extremely annoying if you’re having a hard time getting to sleep. If you can’t replace the clock, at least block its light with something.

11.) Roll your eyes
Closing your eyes and rolling the balls up three times can do the job. It simulates what you do naturally when you fall asleep and may help trigger the release of your sleepy hormone, melatonin.

12.) Hum to yourself (I’m sure your partner will love it!)
Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes, drop your shoulders, relax your jaw, but keep your mouth gently closed. Breathe in through your nose as deeply as is comfortable, ensuring your stomach, not chest, rises. Breathe gently out of your mouth — lips together — so you hum. Try to hum for the whole out-breath. Notice how it vibrates in your chest. Focus fully on this vibration over six breaths then sit quietly for a moment.

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  1. Last night I tried the aroma by only inhaling the herb ”Valerien”. I had 1 of the soundness nights of sleep for a long time, but wait until SPRING to the middle of FALL season, when the birds will make their noises plus in less than 2 week the clocks go forward 1 hour. It’s been know that all months with NO R’s in them, you’ll get less sleep. You forgot to mention the 1 trick that everyone needs to remember before bed, which is, remember & say to yourself a few bible verses & ”Count Your Blessings” ( there is a hymn by that title) & Thank God for them”.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by James D — February 27, 2023 @ 7:03 PM

  2. James, people of faiths other than Christianity (and atheists) also can get epilepsy and insomnia. I don’t think your well intended advice to repeat a few bible verses will be of much use to them! Meditation, mindfulness and a cool dark bedroom might help though.
    For anyone interested in the science of sleep I recommend “Why we Sleep” by Matthew Walker, a Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at UC Berkley.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Michael H — February 27, 2023 @ 7:47 PM

  3. I live in the city with round the clock construction going on. There are loud machines and flood lights. I’m going on year 3 of this. I sleep with construction grade ear plugs and I took one of my masks and put it across my eyes.

    I found out once I moved here I live on a EMS route to the hospitals. So about every 20 minutes Fire, Ambulance and police fly by.
    Then there is the Apartment Fire Alarm that goes off when a neighbor burns something. It’s so loud it can drop you to the floor and flashing lights that are built into the apartment are wicked !!
    But affordable housing on disability just doesn’t happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Bonnie — February 28, 2023 @ 12:59 AM

  4. While I noticed that sleep irregularities seem to trigger my seizures, having seizures while I’m sleeping in my bed seems to be far more safer than having seizures in public places while I’m carrying out daily activities.
    The whole seizure process taking place in my deep sleep, I wake up in the morning knowing nothing about the seizure I had in my sleep, void off stressful questions from Doctors & nurses in hospital environments.
    Therefore, while having no seizures at all is a whole lot better, having seizures in my sleep & comfort zone seem to feel safer than having seizures in public places.
    That’s why I instruct my family, friends & neighbors not to call for EMT & Ambulance.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Gerrie — February 28, 2023 @ 5:54 AM

  5. Thank you! Your posts are always so helpful !

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Nancy — February 28, 2023 @ 7:38 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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