In my first true 24-hour eye pressure monitoring period (back in 2007), where supine eye pressure measurements were taken, I found out that my eye pressure is much higher at night than expected. I also found out that my blood pressure is much lower. That's a bad combination of pressures for the health of the optic nerve.
Last night my eye pressure was even higher than what I reported in the prior blog post. Last night I measured a peak IOP of 26 mm Hg while sleeping without a pillow. My eye pressure was 11 mm Hg before I went to sleep, so that is quite a large increase. In addition, my blood pressure was once again low at 106/63 (and I don't think that reading represents the lowest value my BP reached).
Here are my first thoughts about additional things I can do to help my blood pressure and my eye pressure while sleeping. I'll experiment and refine this program as I learn more.
My program to sleep better and maintain proper blood pressure and eye pressure while sleeping:
- Stop work earlier. Don't work late at night.
- Go to sleep on time every night.
- Massage feet with brahmi oil before sleep. Consider massaging head and hair if I find a way to deal with the oiliness while sleeping.
- Take a warm relaxing shower (or Epsom salt bath) before sleep. Measure BP to be sure it isn't greatly reduced by this activity.
- Do more extensive oral care routine in the evenings.
- Do Serene Impulse meditation practice in the evenings (as well as during the day like I currently do).
- Drink relaxing herbal tea in the evening.
- Don't eat after dark.
- Manage stress during the day -- and laugh as much as possible. Continue doing what I'm doing, but be even more diligent about managing my emotions.
- Drink plenty of good water throughout the day.
- Exercise every day.
- Eat more beets. (See recipe below.) Consider using raw beet juice too.
- Eat more salt. (Natural rock salt.)
- Sleep with a normal pillow. I found out that sleeping without a pillow increases my eye pressure. I'm not going to elevate my head, but I'm not going to let it be too low either.
- Play quiet Gandharva Veda music at night.
Try taking Xalatan around 3 PM instead of right before sleep. One study indicated that Xalatan may become most effective starting 12 hours after administration. I know from my home eye pressure measurements that Xalatan takes about 6 hours before it even starts to reduce my eye pressure. Therefore, if my peak eye pressure occurs around 3-4 AM (or even later) it doesn't make sense to take Xalatan around midnight or later. Taking it earlier might be better. I'm going to try to take it 12 hours before the time of my peak eye pressure.This is not recommended. Take prostaglandin eye drops around 8pm for best 24-hour IOP management.
- Take more B-Complex vitamins, including pantothenic acid. In addition to being important for the nerve and for combating stress, these are mentioned as helping low blood pressure.
- Take more B-12 (methyl-cobalamin). This helps both sleep and the optic nerve, but I also saw one mention that it might help low blood pressure.
- Add magnesium supplements at night. While magnesium can help manage high blood pressure, there are also reports that it can help normalize low blood pressure. It can also help promote good sleep.
- Continue using ashwagandha. In addition to the reasons I already use it, ashwagandha is said to correct low blood pressure.
- Milk is said to be good if you have low blood pressure, but milk isn't for everyone.
- Consider adding a little fish or poultry to my diet (just a little, since I am vegan). This is said to help with low blood pressure. Fish is also a source of DHA which can be important for glaucoma.
- Increase DHA supplements.
- Add Nardostachys Jatamamsi (such as http://www.ayurveda-herbs.com/10.htm). Jatamamsi serves several purposes including increasing low blood pressure, promoting sleep and strengthening the nerves (including the optic nerve and visual centers in the brain, I assume).
- Soak some almonds in water over night. Grind the almonds with herbs and consume. This is said to be good for low blood pressure.
- Soak some raisins in water over night. Chew them one-by-one in the morning. This is said to be good for low blood pressure.
- Add Coenzyme-Q10. This not only helps prevent the side effects of timolol and strengthens the heart, it potentially helps glaucoma by protecting against optic nerve cell death. I suspect that its positive bioenergetic properties may help low blood pressure too - but that's a guess. (Use the pure trans isomer such as manufactured by Kaneka Corporation of Osaka, Japan.)
I already eat a very healthy organic diet (with lots of fruit, vegetables and grains), exercise, practice stress reduction techniques, take herb and vitamins (including a lot of Vitamin C), practice yoga and/or tai chi, use health-promoting spices in my foods, and many other things. I'm also using a good natural Talalay latex mattress, good pillows, etc. The above items are in addition to what I already do.
Beets are probably one of the most powerful vegetables available. They are said to help circulatory problems, low blood pressure, and eye fatigue, among other things. Choose firm and smooth beets. Avoid beets that are either soft or shriveled.
Ayurvedic Recipe: Sweet Steamed Beets
* 4 c. raw beets (5 or 6 medium beets)
* 2T ghee
* 2T lemon juice (or lime juice)
* 1T coriander powder
Wash and slice the beets into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices. Pour one inch of water into a heavy, medium-sized pot. Put in stainless steel steamer. Bring water to a boil. Place sliced beets in steamer and cook until tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain. Put in a serving dish.
Melt the ghee in a small sauce pan. Don't heat above 300 degree F. Add coriander powder to ghee and mix well, then remove quickly from the heat. Drizzle melted ghee and lemon juice over the beets. Serve.
Recipe adapted from The Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amadea Morningstar, Lotus Press, P.O. Box 325, Twin Lakes, WI 53181.
Nardostachys Jatamamsi (Indian Valerian root, a.k.a, Indian Spikenard) promotes awareness, relaxation and strengthens the mind. Jatamamsi is one of the best herbs for the nerves, sleeplessness, dizziness, etc. Jatamamsi is used to balance low or high blood pressure.