6 Tips to Getting Sleep When You Have Dysautonomia
Difficulty sleeping is a common symptom people with dysautonomia or POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) often report. Rapid heart rate and dizziness can make falling to sleep and staying asleep difficult. We also know that many people with dysautonomia are chronically dehydrated which can make a restful night of sleep tricky (hello nighttime bathroom visits!).
We are here to help you find a pattern and establish a routine that can help spoonies get better sleep. First, let’s find out what’s going on.
Keep a Sleep Journal
A great way to determine what could be happening while you sleep is to keep a sleep journal for two weeks. Keep track of the following:
- Caffeine intake (if any)
- Alcohol intake (if any)
- Time you go to sleep
- Time you wake up
- Exercise completed through the day
- How long it took to fall asleep
- Number of times you woke in the night
- How many oral rehydration salts you took through the day
Anything associated with your sleep habits should be documented. From there you will start to notice a pattern in daytime activities, hydration level, and the quality of sleep you experience. This can help you find a pattern related to your activities throughout the day.
We also have a list of ideas for getting a better sleep immediately:
- Weighted Blanket. Research has shown that weighted blankets can help people with insomnia get a more restful sleep. The bonus is that it also helps people who have depression and anxiety reduce symptoms.
- Keep your room cool. Cold rooms can help with melatonin production, the hormone responsible for that sleepy feeling you get before bed. To achieve this, your room should be 60 to 68 degrees.
- Talk to your doctor. Some medications that people with dysautonomia could have side effects that will cause insomnia. Asking your pharmacist or doctor about medication side effects will help you understand how to battle the problem.
- Try melatonin supplements. Some potsies swear by this. Others say that it’s not helpful at all. Just be cautious and talk to your doctor before starting any new supplements.
- Get an oral rehydration salt before bed. You may be sick of hearing that you have to keep your electrolytes up, but it’s so important for people with dysautonomia. We suggest taking one NormaLyte stick before bed. This will help your body keep hydrated for the long wait between water intake. You may find that you wake up with more spoons after a few days of doing this.
- Avoid naps and get exercise. Don’t hate us. We love naps too, and exercise has an important role in managing your dysautonomia, but it doesn’t have to be overly hard or complicated. Check out our blog giving exercise tips for people with POTS.