Waking Up When You Have Fatigue and Endometriosis: Part 2
Jessica has endometriosis, and Chris is her partner. Together, they battle endometriosis as a team. In the final installment of this two-part series, Chris and Jessica reflect on their morning routine and how it's now improved, and what's helped Jessica to wake up with energy once again.
What’s helped the transition from exhausted mornings to where you are today?
From Jess: There are a few key things, really. First off, I really established that I need much more sleep than the average person, and often Chris and I weren’t getting to bed as early as I’d like anyway, so I was already getting under 7 hours and I need about 10, ideally. I don’t get that now as I have sleep problems, but I do get about 7-8. So Chris and I started committing to going to bed earlier.
We also cleaned up our sleep hygiene. We now use blue blocking technology, and use low-lighting and candles in the evening, so we can set ourselves up for restorative sleep. A big game changer was how I wake up. Instead of a shrill alarm on my phone, I now use a sunlight alarm clock that wakes me up with gradually increasing light, and kicks my body clock into gear. I also use a radio alarm clock, which starts my day with soothing classical music. I keep these a little way from the bed too, so I have to actually move to turn them off.
Finally, I did Rachel Hollis’s Last 90 Days Challenge and got up an hour to half an hour earlier for three months, and that really helped me to reestablish my circadian rhythm.
I also try to get light to my eyes as soon as possible, and dim the lights once it’s dark, so my body clock can stay on schedule.There’s still so much I can do, but everything so far has made a huge difference.
From Chris: Jess being direct with me and telling me that we were going to bed too late and that it needed to be earlier for her health really helped me understand how my bad habits were affecting her health.
Also seeing the benefits that a better night’s sleep have on my health has helped me take it seriously, which makes it easier for Jess and I to stick to a routine.
What advice would you give to couples struggling with endo and their morning routine?
From Jess: Get to bed earlier. Really! Read Matthew Walker’s book ‘Why We Sleep’. I challenge anyone to not take sleep seriously after reading that! Block blue light from your phones and laptops with apps and blue lighting blocking glasses, and get off tech at least an hour before bed.
Turn the lights down low after dark and up high in the morning! A light alarm clock is so helpful here, especially if you live in a gloomy country!
From Chris: Listen to your partner. If they are struggling with the amount of sleep that you are getting, it is also your responsibility to make change to your routine – not only for your partner's health, but for your own.
Have you altered your diet to try and reduce your endometriosis symptoms? If so, did it help?