Everyone needs quality sleep, but for those with COPD, it’s a catch-22 situation. Rest is required to function correctly the next day, but chronic wheezing and coughing can lead to a restless night, exacerbating the condition. And so, the cycle continues. To break the loop, consider some of these measures to support a healthy sleep pattern.
Alter your sleeping position
Sleeping slightly upright, with the head elevated, is known to take the stress off the lungs and ease breathing. It is also considered an excellent measure to prevent acid reflux which can affect sleep.
Ditch the electronics
About 30 to 60 minutes before sleeping, unplug from all electronic devices to minimize mental stimulation, making it hard for the brain to shut down. Instead, dim the lights, listen to soothing music, or read with night mode on.
Bedroom as a haven
Turn the bedroom into a safe space for sleep. Try to make it dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature for falling asleep (around 65 F). Consider the use of eye masks and earplugs to shut out unnecessary light and sound.
Set up a sleep routine
Go to bed and wake up every day at around the same time to establish a pattern. This will accustom the body to get the required amount of sleep. Erratic patterns can throw bodily rhythms out of whack, confuse the system, and deprive it of necessary rest.
The more active you are throughout the day, the more energy you expend and the easier it should be to sleep at night. It’s okay to start small, and always be sure to consult a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise regime. Yoga is an excellent way stress-busting starting point, as are breathing exercises.
Avoid long naps
A short nap, e.g., 20-30 minutes, can energize and invigorate the body. But longer naps can be counterproductive and impact sleep at night. Try to keep engaged in the afternoon by planning around a hobby, chore, or social activity.
Consult a professional
If your difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep persist, talk to a healthcare professional. Your doctor can look at the whole picture and help you find the right solution for your body.