As you try to change your lifestyle you will find that you do well for a while and then something out of the ordinary happens and you fall back to your old ways. This is true whether you are changing you sleep routine, getting used to PAP therapy or trying to lose weight. Any change comes with setbacks. It is when you look at those setbacks and decide to move past them and start again that you really are making progress.
With PAP it usually comes this time of year when you get a cold or the flu and you just can bot wear your mask. You usually go about 7-10 days which is how long a cold usually takes to pass. Now there is no reason you cannot wear your PAP and turn up the humidifier or maybe use a full face mask instead of a nasal mask or pillows to get through this tough time. But most people just decide to go without and then forget to go back to using their mask. What I can tell you is that it is up to you to start using it again and if you need encouragement ask for it. If not from your family than from a friend or a coach than someone who will be your best cheerleader so you will feel the encouragement of getting healthy. Another trick is to write it down. Journaling during any behavior change will always help you. It gives you visual encouragement but it will also show you the triggers you have when you are not making the change you want.
Holiday season and the children being on vacation are notorious times when sleep routines go out the window. I will never say you should always follow your sleep routine but remember that vacations will be much more fun if everyone is well rested and out brains do not know the difference between holidays and school or work days. There is one thing you can take advantage of during this time. Find out what your natural wake up time is. If my alarm is not set and I go to bed at 10pm I will naturally wake up at 6:30am. If I worked out really hard the day before I will naturally wake up at 7:30am. This allows me to adjust my sleep times to make sure I get the amount of sleep I need. I usually want to wake at 5:30am so I can exercise before work, than I know I need to go to bed at 9pm. This has forced me to learn how to use my DVR so I can record those shows I will miss but want to see.
One of the ways to change your health is to lose weight. This will affect your sleep and if you are on PAP it might help to reduce your pressure or maybe not need it at all. No matter what it will help you to sleep better if you are eating healthier and exercising more. This time of year is brutal on food plans and I will be the first to admit my plan has fallen to the wayside. But making a lifestyle change is as much about the failures and how we handle them as it is about the successes. I have learned through this failure that I tend to want to eat more when I am over tired or when I am experiencing pain. This falls right into the research that is coming out almost weekly about sleep. The problem with the research is they offer no solutions. My solution is simple I turn to friends and I journal so I can see not only what I was craving and eating but if there was a specific activity that triggered the behavior or was there a specific food that trigger the behavior. Then it is right back to what I know makes my body feel healthy.
I find that the more natural the food the better I feel. I also find that I am healthier with a high protein, low processed carb diet. I like apples and yogurt and tomatoes and cucumber as my go to foods. I could probably live on egg whites and chicken given the opportunity. But that is my body and I am sure that others have suggestions as to what makes their body feel like it is working optimally. I would love for you to share your ideas about what you do to feel optimally healthy. Do you do certain exercises, eat a certain way, or get a specific amount of sleep? Any habit that works for you may give someone else an idea to trial. We are a community of people working for optimal health. My goal is to help you add sleep to that routine but any changes that help are always welcome.