Karen Hoyt is a blogger who has a story about hepatitis C, cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, liver cancer, and liver transplantation. This excerpt first appeared on Karen’s I Help C blog.

Sleep is a struggle for me.  I don’t know what it’s like to doze off quickly, or sleep all night.  I’ve tried everything and here are my top 3 tips for better sleep. New studies are showing that 8  – 10 hours are need for our body to get the restoration it needs, not to mention giving our brain power a boost. Try the 3 tips for better sleep and see if you snooze more quickly, and wake up refreshed.

1) Comfy – Whether you love high thread count, fancy, flannel, or microfiber – make sure the fabric of your sheets are comfy. I prefer prints. That is because food, and other stuff, doesn’t show like it does on solid sheets. Sometimes I sleep with those softy softy blankets right on top of my skin. Other times, it’s just a sheet. If temperatures, or hot flashes, are a problem – just go with layered bedding. (sticking your foot outside the covers helps with hot flashes) I personally like a top and bottom sheet. On top of that is a heavy cotton bedspread, which is quilted and cozy. BUT – at the foot of my bed is my softy blankie that can go in and out depending on the temperature, or comfort level needed. Sometimes I just need to feel something so so soft next to my skin in order to relax, don’t you? Pillows are a whole other blog and it will get written eventually because it involves posture and neck pain. By watching for sales and choosing bedding carefully you can make your cocoon a cozy next for sweet rest.  

2) Cave – Our brain works with a circadian rhythm and will signal us when it’s time to sleep….. sometimes. With illness …. and lights from televisions, phones, and computers, our wiring can get crossed. That’s when we have to trick out brain into hibernation. Sadly, with years of liver cirrhosis from Hepatitis C, I had to use every trick in the book. My number 2 tip is to create a cave. For me, that means dark. You may want to use room darkening blinds or curtain to help block the morning sun. Black eye masks can help to create a dark space for your eyes to slow down, and with it your thoughts. (lay a dark sock over your eyes if you don’t have a mask) Another thing that creates a cave-like atmosphere is a cold room. We basically sleep in a refrigerated room. Year round, we like it about 68 Fahrenheit at bedtime. It helps with the slowing down and getting still part that leads to good sleep. 

Click here to read Karen’s third tip for better sleep, and the rest of this blog.