Treating Sleep Deprivation Part 4 – Music Therapy

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As I explained previously in this blog series, living with the daily consequences of a sleep disorder is harsh. The sleep disorder causes chronic sleep deprivation as well as a host of cognitive and physical ailments. I also have a Circadian Rhythm Disorder, which makes things worse.

I use a variety of techniques to treat the daytime effects of sleep deprivation and reset my circadian rhythm. I have covered each technique in previous blogs:

Part 1 discussed the use of caffeine
Part 2 discussed Light Therapy
Part 3 discussed the use of Aromatherapy.

This final blog in the series covers how I use the power of music alongside the other techniques to treat the effects of sleep deprivation and improve my mood and concentration.

“Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people outside of themselves for a few hours.” ~ Elton John

Music can stir the soul; it can energise the soul and also arouse emotions. It can create whatever ambience you want to suit your mood at the time using upbeat, downbeat, soothing, thought-provoking or emotion-stirring sound or lyrics. I prefer instrumental music in the mornings. Particular favourites are Medwyn Goodall, Mike Oldfield, Chopin, or Amythestium.

music-791631_640While I am sitting drinking coffee in front of my light therapy lamp inhaling aromatherapy, I listen to one of my favourite artists; I really listen, with my eyes open (or I would fall asleep again!) and pay attention to each instrument. I will listen to all of the notes and rhythms and imagine me playing those instruments. It is a bit like mindfulness music, I suppose. I focus entirely on the music.

I find doing this, stimulates and awakens my concentration. I can manage to maintain this level of focus for about 15 minutes before taking a break and doing something different. I then repeat for another 15 minutes with a different artist.

So, my personal music therapy is stimulating my hearing sense, while the coffee stimulates taste, the light stimulates sight, and the aromatherapy stimulates through smell. By bombarding my brain through all the senses at the same time does help fight the overwhelming symptoms of sleep deprivation.

It’s not perfect; it only keeps me awake for about two and a half hours before I need my morning nap, but at least it helps me stay awake, rather than falling back into bed and giving up!

I hope this series has helped give readers some ideas to try for themselves if they too are suffering from sleep deprivation. Any of these techniques combined help tackle the overwhelming desire to sleep after getting up in the morning!

If Life Seems Jolly Rotten

There’s something you’ve forgotten,
and that’s to laugh and dance,
and smile and sing!

Good old Monty Python. I am going to laugh in the shower, sing while cleaning the house and dance while mowing the grass. Or, at least, that is what will be happening in my head – my body might protest!

Have a lovely day, everyone, wherever you are in the world 🙂

 

Life Seems Jolly Rotten

The Morning That Night Remained in Control

Mac Keyboard

She had four morning nectars but night tries to remain in control. Her bed is luring her back; she can hear its haunting song whispering in her ear and drifting around her head, like a breeze caressing leaves on a tree.

Her eyes drift in and out of focus as she stares at the laptop screen. Fingers move with caution across the keyboard. Each finger tiptoes around, taking care to touch the correct keys. These modest black keys transform the words forming in her mind into the sentences on the screen, and a new blog is born.

Eyes struggle to stay open; the lids hang limp as their tiny muscles try to take the strain. The weight overpowers them, and the screen is gone from sight again. Soon, this weight is felt in the neck, and her head is too heavy to hold. It teeters to the left, then to the right, finally coming to a halt upright again.

Muscles moan in protest as her mind fights on so the blog can flow. It has a journey to make into the wonderful world of words that is the blogosphere. Fingers continue cautiously across the keyboard because corrections will interrupt the flow of words, and pay the price with wasted energy.

Her brain screams for sleep, but the words keep flowing. Her mind refuses to give up and allow sleep to shut it down. She resists with a large intake of breath and a deep, lingering sigh. Still the brain screams. Yet another morning nectar, but still the brain screams. Her limited energy supply is draining fast; her mind must race to allow all the words to flow into their new home in the blogosphere.

The haunting song of the bed puffs like a fresh brewing storm, swirling around her head. It moves her hair like branches on a tree swaying in the wind. Muscles can no longer take the strain. Eyelids hang closed, and the screen is blacked out. Her head now slumped against the back of the couch, has succumbed to the weight and rests on a cushion.

In spite of this, the blog breaks through the storm as those fingers continue to tiptoe around the keyboard. So slow; oh, how slow they move. But in an act of defiance, the words still form, and the blog swells in pride. “You can huff, and you can puff, but you can’t blow me down” bellowed the blog, who was now fully grown.

As the blog strides off to claim his rightful place in the blogosphere, those loyal fingers finally lie still on the keys. The brain has stopped screaming for sleep, and muscles stopped moaning. The storm has calmed, and the wind whispers again. The haunting song of the bed has slowed her mind to a gentle hum and sleep consumes her. Night has regained control.

Morning Nectar Coffee

Even after four morning Coffees I couldn’t wake up!

Photo Credit: (c) Can Stock Photo
Slogan – Mine.

Treating Sleep Deprivation Part 3 – Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy Oils

As I explained previously in this blog series, living with the daily consequences of a sleep disorder is harsh. The sleep disorder causes chronic sleep deprivation as well as a host of cognitive and physical ailments. I also have a Circadian Rhythm Disorder, which makes things worse.

I use a variety of techniques to treat the daytime effects of sleep deprivation and reset my circadian rhythm. Part 1 of this blog series discussed the use of caffeine; Part 2 discussed Light Therapy and Part 3 is discussing how I stimulate my brain with smell using Aromatherapy.

“Aromatherapy, also referred to as Essential Oil therapy, can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process.”

Lavender FlowerLavender is probably the most famous of all essential oils and most familiar for helping people get to sleep. There are hundreds of essential oils, though, and they have been used for thousands of years for their healing properties. The oils all have different properties that provide a variety of potential healing abilities.

I know many sceptics still call aromatherapy ‘pseudoscience,’ but ask anyone who has treated burns with lavender and fungal infections with tea tree oil if it works and in many cases, the answer is yes! Science might not be able to explain why, but if it works, do we need to be so critical? After all, antidepressants are used to treat a variety of mental illnesses, but scientists still can’t explain exactly why they work in some cases, but not for others!

The essential oil properties I am most interested in for waking me up, are those with stimulant properties such as peppermint. It is recognised that Peppermint can energise and help us stay alert. It is described as ‘uplifting and invigorating,’ and I certainly have to agree! Peppermint is my favourite, but it is down to personal preference. There are other many stimulant oils such as; Grapefruit, Bergamot, Rosemary, Basil and Ginger available to use.

Peppermint oil is a natural stimulant that is included in hundreds of products for it’s fresh, uplifting scent and taste. The oil can increase your ability to concentrate during times of mental fatigue or stress and boost your energy levels. Perfect for the morning sleep deprivation crisis!

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I use the aroma of the oil to stimulate my brain, by burning it in a specially designed oil burner for about an hour, and it fills the room with its wonderful scent. I also put some on a cotton ball and sniff this periodically. I have found it does cut through the foggy brain sleep deprivation causes and helps me feel more awake each morning. I can concentrate more effectively also. I can feel my eyes beginning to stay open instead of half shut and out of focus!

It is also has a fresh, pleasant sweet smell. I wouldn’t be without peppermint oil in the mornings now!

Please note, essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin as neat essential oil, though; they must be mixed with a carrier oil first. (Lavender and Tea Tree Oils are the exceptions to this rule). Also, the essential oils must never be consumed.

So, far we have discussed how I use my senses each morning to stimulate my brain through taste with the caffeine, sight with the light therapy, and smell with the aromatherapy. Coming up: I will be writing about stimulating my brain through sound using music therapy. These previous blogs are:

Treating Sleep Deprivation – Part 1: Caffeine
Treating Sleep Deprivation – Part 2: Light Therapy
Photo Credit: (c) Can Stock Photo

Don’t Give up The Fight!

I am exhausted today and have been in bed most of the day with my beautiful cat, Charlie. It was a huge day yesterday; my Support Worker took me out. I have been housebound for almost a year due to illness, and I’m only just getting out and about again. My local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) arranged for a Support Worker to take me out and get used to using busy public transport again.

I am not allowed to drive because of the sleep disorder, so public transport is the only way for me to get around now. I got too anxious on overcrowded buses, so stopped using them. I am getting used to it now, though, having been on a bus to town a few times in the last month.

Yesterday’s trip was to a local college so I could learn the route to get there and pick up a timetable for their art courses. It was a freezing, wet day, so not ideal circumstances for a trip out. We had a fifteen-minute bus ride, followed by a fifteen-minute walk to get there. When we walked back to the bus stop, there was a thirty-five-minute wait for the next bus; I was not impressed! By the time I got home, I was frozen, exhausted and in much need of a nap.

I am still exhausted today and have been using the cold weather as an excuse to stay in bed. I have to find a way to motivate myself to get up, as there are tasks I must complete today. So, using the lyrics from Bob Marley: ‘Get up, Stand up: don’t give up the fight’ I am going to get out of bed now!

Dont Give Up The Fight
Photo Credit: (c) Can Stock Photo