The Great Sleep Experiment

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

August 23rd, 2009 • Living with Chronic PainPrint Print

I did not sleep well this past year.  For a long stretch of time, there were plenty of obvious reasons I could identify.  But once things calmed down, and I still had a hard time sleeping, I began looking at other factors — light, noise, temperature, air quality, covers, bed, pillows.

I started off with the latter three, questioning whether I needed to buy a new bed.  I decided to start by changing my pillows — buying a hypoallergenic feather pillow, changing my covers — buying a heavier hypoallergenic feather comforter (so that I would not need multiple covers), and adding a memory foam mattress on top of my bed. 

Immediately after making these changes, I slept much better.  But then I went to visit my mom, and I slept 10 or 11 delicious hours of uninterrupted, blissful sleep.  When I came back home, I returned to my pattern of a few hours of solid sleep, followed by fits and spurts of half-asleep, half-awake misery.

I live in a densely populated area, with a lot of noise starting early in the morning.  But I don’t think that’s as much of a factor as the changing temperature.  I keep having to take on and take off covers, and sometimes I’m just too damn tired to do it — leaving me too hot or too cold and unable to sleep well.

So I have decided that as environmentally unfriendly as it may be, I’m going to sleep tonight with the air conditioner on.  I did that at my mom’s as well, so I’m wondering if that was a factor in my ability to sleep.  I may just need consistent temperature until I wake up. Of course, the guest bed at her home is a brand-new orthopedic one that I hand-picked, so that may have something to do with it too. 

The bottom line is that I’m taking a proactive approach to my sleep — controlling variables one at a time, in an attempt to determine what I need to sleep uninterrupted, like a baby, every single night. If all else fails, I may determine that it’s time to whip out the plastic and acquire a fabulous new bed.


Diana Lee August 23rd, 2009

Temperature is definitely an issue for me. I just can’t sleep well without being in a nice, cool room. But sometimes it seems no matter what I do I just can’t get comfortable.

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