I can’t imagine that there isn’t a person in the world who hasn’t woken up at 3am, counting down the hours until their alarm goes off. Or those of us who have laid in bed tossing and turning and counting sheep trying to get to sleep. But let’s add sleep and hidradenitis suppurativa into the picture and nourishing sleep can be an even harder battle.
Thomas Dekker said that “Sleep is the golden chain that binds our health and bodies together” and many of us who have HS will surely agree.
There are in my experience, several reasons for why sleep and hidradenitis suppurativa can be hard. Firstly, there is pain. If pain levels aren’t controlled this can make good sleep difficult or even impossible. I will explore this in more detail below. Secondly there is comfort. If your HS is flaring up and your dressings are uncomfortable then this too can prevent a good night’s sleep. The third element that might stop you having a good night’s sleep is routine. Us humans are essentially creatures of habit, so a good routine is a key part of sleep hygiene.
So firstly pain.
I have found that by having good, absorbent dressings, my pain level can be reduced. This alone might not be enough, and you may need medication to alleviate your pain further. Additionally, I have found that things like mindfulness (which I will discuss in a further blog) can help you to psychologically manage your pain to make sleep more of a possibility.
Now for comfort.
I have tried and tested lots of dressings to help manage my HS and finding ones that are comfortable and absorbent can help massively and definitely help you to get a more nourishing nights sleep. Loose nightwear can also help you to get comfortable, and who doesn’t love fresh bedlinen?! Sleep and hidradenitis suppurativa doesn’t have to be challenging.
by this I mean routine in everything. Having a good sleep hygiene routine is key to a good refreshing nights sleep. For me, this means a shower, apply dressings, get into comfortable loose pyjamas, take any medications and sleep in a dark room.
Each of us will need to test out various elements that will help us to gain a good night’s sleep. There are for some people other factors that may need to be considered but I have found that these three elements are the key to a good night’s sleep – try it out and see!
About the Author
Clare Knighton is a Peer support worker from Worcester, England. Clare lives with HS and has done so for the past ten years. She is passionate about helping others to talk more openly about the condition and about improving our mental wellbeing.