09 May 2012 12 Comments
Sleeping has always been one of my favorite things to do. I would say it ranks right up there with shopping and some other fun activities. And like all of my favorite things to do I was very good at it. Once upon a time, I could easily sleep ten hours a night. That is until about the age of forty. That’s when my beloved sleep cycle started to change.
At first, I really didn’t mind getting a little less sleep. I was able to stay up pretty late and wake fairly early in the morning…without feeling like I needed to climb back under the covers. But as the years progressed my ability to sleep decreased, until it got to the point where I’m at now: insomnia.
I’m not only having a very hard time falling asleep most nights, but staying asleep as well. When I do finally fall asleep, I wake up frequently throughout the night. Sometimes I even have to get back up and stay up for a while before I can fall back to sleep. This is not only driving me crazy, but it is seriously NOT funny! Like I said, I love sleeping. So I decided to try to figure out what was going on.
It turns out that insomnia is a common symptom of menopause. One of the reasons for this is that the decline in hormones that our bodies are experiencing causes changes in our sleep cycles. Another reason is that hot flashes and night sweats not only throw off our comfort level in the middle of sleep but also create an adrenaline surge in our bodies, which wakes us up. That happened quite often to me before I started taking Remifemin Menopause Herbal Supplements for my hot flashes. Also many middle-aged women experience menopausal related depression, mood swings, and stress. All of which making a restful night difficult.
So what are we to do?
If you’re anything like me, you don’t believe in running to the Dr. for a little pill to make you sleep. Instead, I prefer using natural methods whenever possible. And luckily there are a ton of them to pick and choose from.
Probably the most important thing to do first is to limit or cut out caffeine, sugar, and alcohol in the evenings. For the most part, I gave up my nighttime coffee quite a while back. And when I do occasionally go out to Starbucks in the evening and have a cup of coffee, I definitely pay for it.
If just cutting those out doesn’t do the trick (which it didn’t for me) you can try taking natural herbs to help you fall and stay asleep. Herbs such as Valerian Root, Hops, Californian Poppy, St Johns Wart, or Chamomile can help you relax and start to feel sleepy. Personally, I decided that a nice cup of chamomile would be a great way to end the evening.
You can use relaxation technique like deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, meditation, prayer, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization. I’ve decided I’m going to try some yoga in the evening. I have a great yoga video The All-Day Yoga Workout – A.M., Stress Relief, and P.M. Yoga for Beginners. I haven’t used it in quite a while and really want to get back into doing some yoga, and this video has a few different workouts to choose from, including one for nighttime relaxation. Plus it’s for beginners…like me.
Some other things you can do to help yourself get a better night’s sleep are to make sure you’re getting enough magnesium in your diet. You can try some aromatherapy (lavender is great for making a person sleepy). Make sure you’re getting enough sunlight during the day and that the room is nice and dark when you are ready for sleep. Playing soft music or white noise in the background works for some people. Exercising regularly during the day can be very helpful; though, exercising at night, besides yoga, can actually make it harder to fall asleep. And finally, some people find taking melatonin (a hormone that aids in regulating your internal clock) helps them.
So the next time you find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night, jump on the computer, pull up this article, and consider giving some of these ideas a try.
I’m just starting to make changes in my nighttime habits. I know…it took me long enough to finally get around to doing something about it. I’ve chosen a few of these ideas to try first and see how well they work. Hopefully SOON I’ll be able to get back to doing what I love: Sleeping!
Have you been having trouble sleeping since you hit midlife? What have you been doing to try to get a better night’s sleep?