By Nina L. Paul, PhD from "Living with Hepatitis C For Dummies"
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for everyone, but for folks facing an illness like hepatitis C, his nightly revitalization is even more important. Unfortunately, the physical and emotional stresses and complications that folks with hep C face can wreak havoc with getting a good night’s sleep. To help get the rest you need, use these tips:
Get exercise and air: Make sure that your body is good and tired and ready for bed by moving it during the day. But don’t exercise for a few hours right before bedtime, because doing so can keep you awake. You can also get some fresh air by using deep-breathing techniques, getting some outdoor exercise during the day, or opening your windows at night.
Avoid certain food and drink: By avoiding stimulants and increasing foods that contribute to good sleep, you can help your body start yawning. Ingestibles to avoid include caffeine, nicotine (it’s a stimulant), and large meals withing four hours of bedtime.
Include certain food and drink: Make sure that your diet includes enough carbohydrates, calcium, and magnesium (which help you sleep). Tryptophan, an amino acid in milk, also helps induce sleep, so try drinking milk — cold or hot —near bedtime.
Take naps: Naps are the holy grail for some people with hep C. If you’re dealing with fatigue and low energy, you may absolutely need your naps. Try to have your naps earlier in the day, and don’t nap for hours and hours if you find that doing so disturbs your nighttime sleep.
Sleep on a schedule: Establish a regular schedule for going to bed and waking up each day.
Create a bedroom for sleeping: Having a calm and comfy bedroom is important if you have trouble sleeping.
Relax before bedtime: Set your body up for delicious sleep by setting the stage with relaxation. Take a bath, read a relaxing book (not an exciting book that’ll keep you up all night finishing it), or meditate or do relaxation exercises.
Try aromatherapy: Certain scents, such as lavender, jasmine, neroli, rose, sandalwood, and chamomile, may help you to relax into a blissful sleep. A little scent can go a long way. Start with a little bit; if you use too much, it can disturb you or your sleeping partner.
Listen to tapes: When you’re focused on the relaxing music, sounds, or words on the tape, your mind won’t be focused on worries.
Wear comfortable bedclothes: Wear clothing that isn’t tight fitting so that you can move your body with ease. Also try wearing cotton clothing if you have night sweats, which can happen with hepatitis C.
Don’t take any over-the-counter sleeping remedies unless they’re recommended by a healthcare practitioner who’s knowledgeable about liver disease. Some products contain substances that could hurt your liver.