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Get a Better Sleep
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As you probably know by now if you're a regular reader of our site, we consider good pelvic health to be a major factor in overall health, and that includes the ability to get good sleep. Porch.com writer David De la Mora found me when researching one piece of the overall sleep puzzle, namely how to get a better sleep when dealing with the symptoms of endometriosis. Here are some excerpts from the article with my comments. A link to the original article which covers a number of non-endo related topics is included below.

Heather Jeffcoat, DPT

How to Minimize Endometriosis Symptoms and Get a Better Sleep

The article begins:

There’s no doubt that sleeping is good for you. Who doesn’t enjoy waking up after a good night of sleep? Your body goes through a number of changes as you sleep, allowing you to get the rest you need for general health. Sleeping helps the body and brain to calm down and participate in healing processes, improving physical and mental performance both over the long term and immediately thereafter.

As we mention in this article entitled "Endometriosis and Sleep Blog: Improving Melatonin Levels", with chronic pain conditions, such as endometriosis, sleep quality can be impaired. Sleep is essential for cognitive function, immune function, and overall health. The relationship between pain and sleep is a vicious cycle as pain can lead to poor sleep, but at the same time, poor sleep can increase sensitivity to pain and worsen depressive thoughts and thus experience a poorer quality of life. In fact, sleep disorders and changes in your melatonin level can have an effect on the reproductive system, not making it any easier to conceive. 

With this in mind, the article continues:

So what can yo do to get a great quality of sleep? Do you count sheep or meditate? May be you drink a chamomile or lavender tisane; or perhaps you’ve heard that taking a hot tub bath or stretching before going to bed might be helpful for sleeping deeply…

David breaks the subject down into a number of sleep related quesitons, including:

  • Can you share some tips to set a bedroom mood that promotes falling asleep faster?
  • Please briefly explain what Circadian Rhythms are, and provide some tips to improve them for better sleep.
  • Could you provide some tips to manage the symptoms and minimize the impact of narcolepsy at home?
  • Regardless of the location or weather, what would you advice for sleeping better while tent or RV camping?
  • What are the most common causes of nightmares or terrors and how can they be prevented?
  • Please provide some tips to help new parents and newborns get more and better sleep.
  • What should I look for in a mattress for children?
  • How can people who work too many hours in front of a screen get more and a better/deeper sleep?
  • Is CBD oil recommended to help achieve better sleep? Who can use this?
  • Can you mention a few ways to detox a bedroom for a better quality of sleep?

The answers to the above can be found in the full article (link below), but for now we will concentrate on one question asked of yours truly regarding endo and sleep:

What advice can you provide to manage the endometriosis symptoms and minimize their impact on sleep?

Here's what I had to say:

Endometriosis is a chronic pain condition that results in peripheral pain signals from the endometriosis lesions becoming amplified by the central nervous system (ultimately, by our brain). With poor sleep habits, there will be an effect on melatonin production, which will disrupt the circadian rhythm. Melatonin is essential for those that suffer from chronic pain, as it acts as an analgesic, sleep inducer, antioxidant, immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory agent. Some research propose that improving melatonin can help reduce the symptoms of endometriosis, such as painful periods, bladder pain, painful bowel movements and other daily pains these patients often have such as low back pain.

Diet is another important discussion around improving sleep, too, but can be complex, as many patients with endometriosis have dietary restrictions. One study found that when women incorporate a diet rich in dairy products and fruits they had improved sleep quality compared to those that did not follow that diet. However, dairy is not a part of an anti-inflammatory diet, which has also been shown to help endometriosis patients. As everyone’s body is different, it’s best to work with a Gastroenterologist and a registered dietician to determine your best nutrition plan to minimize symptoms and improve sleep.

Exercise has also been shown to improve sleep through it’s effects on melatonin. Endometriosis is associated with insulin resistance, and regular exercise has been shown to increase cellular insulin sensitivity. This means that insulin resistance is decreased with exercise, however keep your exercise reasonable and moderate. I recommend activities such as hill walking, pilates, swimming or yoga to incorporate into your daily routine.

Pelvic health physical therapists are uniquely positioned to prescribe exercises specific to your tolerance levels. They also evaluate the need for additional interventions, such as hands-on therapies, corrective exercises, nervous system down regulation exercises and more.

Go here for the full article at Porch on how to get a better sleep.

Navigate here for a wealth of information we have published on issues related to pelvic health and sleep.

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What Our Patients Have to Say


Testimonial by Jackie W.

I was in multiple car accidents a decade ago, and I have been to many physical therapists through the years without success. They found the root of my lower back pain problems and after nearly a decade of barely being able to walk I finally can again without pain. They are also the best pelvic floor pts and the only ones who found the connection between my pelvic floor and lower back problems. If you need help with physical pain, they are your answer.

-- Jackie W., 1/19/17 via Yelp!

Testimonial by A.W., age 32

I wanted to let you know that my pelvic floor held strong and gave me no trouble whatsoever in my trail race this morning (12 miles)! In a way, I felt like I ran better than ever because my core feels so rock solid from all the exercises you have me doing. That was especially valuable on the technical downhill - I just flew down the trail because I had confidence in my balance and form. Thank you for helping me get back to doing what I love.

-- A.W., age 32
(completed Post-partum Renewal Program using the InTone biofeedback/stim unit)

Testimonial by Fritzette H.

I went to Heather after the birth of my third child. It was lucky, really, that I was referred to her, because my doctor had referred me to a surgeon for a possible hysterectomy or pelvic wall rebuild. Thankfully, I went to Heather before undergoing either surgery, she was able to fix the problem. She has studied extensively in women's health--even written a book about it--and was able to diagnose my problem, suggest a course of treatment (6 weeks), and then follow through with said treatment. By the end, as she said, I was as good as gold. Boy, was it worth it! Though uncomfortable to talk about, much less write about, it is worth getting the word out there. If you have painful intercourse, especially after birth or other trauma, the treatment may be as simple as Physical Therapy (with Heather, of course). I highly recommend her.

-- Fritzette H., 3/24/16 via Yelp!

Testimonial by Alexandra B.

Heather is without exaggerating AMAZING! After years of trouble with a certain part of my body, in no time, she made everything change back to equilibrium and to what would be considered normal. She explains everything in detail and therefore gives you a better understanding of why things are the way they are, and how you can work towards turning things around. I would highly recommend Heather for any type of Physical Therapy. She has created her own "Method/Therapy" through years of studying (with some of the greatest practitioners), practice and breaking down the issues of her past patients, enabling her to fine tune her own system. I'm so thankful to have found her, and I'm especially grateful for the quick recovery I've achieved, after years of distress. If you cannot afford her, I recommend you purchase her book. Although it may not be Heather in person, it can still help you to get on the right path to recovery!

-- Alexandra B., 5/20/2015 via Yelp!

Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

I can’t speak highly enough of the theapists at Femina Physical Therapy and how much they have helped me grow, discover, and love my body. I had had painful sex for my entire life, and didn’t know that there was anything that could be done about it. It was at the point where my husband and I were not having sex for MONTHs, because it was just too frustrating, and I hated feeling like I was the ONLY woman out there who had this problem, especially at my age. I finally brought it up to my doctor because I was turning 40 and my husband and I were barely having enough sex to conceive. And she brought up pelvic floor, PT. I didn’t even know this was a “thing”.

Read more: Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

Testimonial by Mary L.

I started seeing Heather to treat my Interstitial Cystitis in November 2016. At this time, I was extremely miserable, in constant pain, and felt as though no one was listening or understood what was going on with my body. I have just finished my last appointment and I can honestly say that my life has completely changed for the better because of Heather and her team of PTs! I live almost completely pain free, and when I do have flare ups, I am able to treat them at home on my own. I am so grateful that this office was recommended to me a honestly cannot recommend them enough!

Read more: Testimonial by Mary L.

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