Having recently moved from Japan to America, I can attest to the misery of weeklong jetlag. Functioning in social settings was unwelcome; completing job tasks was painstaking; and applying critical thinking skills was laborious, if at all possible. Knowing that many people who are blind have circadian rhythm sleep disorders that feel like bouts of jetlag, I knew I needed to address the struggle.
I recognize the recurring or constant battle you may face in falling asleep, staying asleep through the night, and sleeping until morning. Consequently, I recognize the struggle of exhaustion at work, the fight to stay awake and alert in the afternoon, and the emotional grind of fatigue. I wanted to scour research in order to find hope and answers.
Tips I found to improve sleep disorders and/ or alleviate related symptoms:
According to JVIB’s article: Circadian-Rhythm Sleep Disorders in Persons Who Are Totally Blind,
- Studies show taking 5mg of Melatonin before falling asleep helps communicate “sleepy time” to your brain. I can personally attest to the positive effects of Melatonin during jet-lagged induced insomnia.
- Of course, moderate caffeine use is suggested to alleviate daytime sleepiness.
- Certain individuals who are blind or significantly visually impaired find it easier to sleep regularly when exercising regularly.
- Certain individuals who are blind or significantly visually impaired find it easier to sleep regularly when they follow a strict sleep/wake schedule, forcing themselves awake at the same time even if they slept poorly during the night.
- On the other hand, certain individuals who have the flexibility report better quality sleep when they sleep when tired, regardless of the time of day. These individuals do report social difficulty because of their irregular sleeping patterns, which is why I would recommend this sleep pattern as temporary relief.
According to JVIB’s article: Sleep Disturbances among Persons Who Are Visually Impaired: Survey of Dog Guide Users,
- Alcohol consumption can improve your quality of sleep. If you are of legal age with no history of alcoholism, you may consider a glass of wine before bedtime when you are in a bout of insomnia.
- With sleeplessness comes an increased risk of depression. I recommend professional counseling and exercise for depression symptoms.
According to the Mayo Health Clinic’s Sleep tips: 7 steps to better sleep,
- Don’t drink caffeine too late in the afternoon.
- Create a bedtime ritual.
- Limit daytime naps.
- Manage your stress. (Teachers and rehabilitation counselors, utilize the related Stress Management lesson series.)
In my personal battles with sleeplessness, I have found moving around key to staying awake throughout the day. Walk whenever possible, incorporate mini exercise sessions into your daily routine, and squeeze a stress ball during a monotonous meeting. Additionally, I vote you should keep phones, tablets, televisions, books, and game consoles out of the bedroom. If you have found methods for alleviating insomnia, please share your suggestions.
Rooting for you,