Okay, ladies, I think it is a problem that bothers all of us. And we really can’t always blame the hot flashes. Of course it’s a bother to wake up because of them. Every time I think about the time I slept, seconds before my head hit the pillow, I’m getting nostalgic. Those were the days! But isn’t it true it is also our own fault? If I look at myself I have to confess: I worried too much. I moved too little. And I refused to adjust my food pattern to the changes in my body. So, for whatever it’s worth, here are my two cents on it. Or three actually. Three tips that helped me sleep better. Even now the menopause is trying to ruin my good night sleep. Because the days, I mean years, leading up to menopause, can seem endless if we can’t get a decent night sleep.
- No Caffeine
At my number 1 is an advice that can not be unfamiliar with you: no caffeine. This was an advice that I, for a long time, refused to follow. I usually drank coffee until late at night, sometimes after eleven and I always felt those “I can’t sleep if I drink coffee so late.” were total nonsense. But eventually, if the period of broken sleep is long enough, the despair can lead to drastic measures. Even abstenation of my daily dose of caffeine. I was so used to to all those cups of coffee that kept me upright all day, that I didn’t realize, that my body deals differently with the caffeine in this stage of my life.
FunFact: Symptoms of caffeine poisoning are being impatient, bad concentration, insomnia, restlessness, palpitation.
Right now, with my hormones running amok in my body, my body can’t take the caffeine any more. The palpitations that are getting worse and worse? Caffeine! Just as alcohol does, by the way. The body has to work hard to cool down after the heating up because of the caffeine. That’s what the sweating is for, you know? If you drink coffee too late in the day, the body doesn’t get time to adjust. So I gave in. I switched to tea for the night. Herbal tea, no theine or caffeine. Sleepy Time of Celestial Seasonings is what works best for me. Especially the extra fusion with Valerian works miracles. Another advantage: the hot flashes decreased noticeably since I lessened my intake of caffeine.
Worrying is another cause for insomnia. It’s no fun to lie awake and overthinking everything. We toss and we turn. And to be honest, we are in a place of our life that we worry faster about things we wouldn’t loose sleep over in our younger years. It doesn’t help your mental health if you can’t sleep fitfully. I know it doesn’t help me! To sleep two hours to be awake the rest of the night? Tossing and turning and worrying? I can’t recommend it to anyone! And if it happens over a long period of time it is even more devastating for your health.
FunFact: Symptoms caused by insomnia: fatigue, problems with concentrating, memory loss, easily irritated, moody.
It happened to be during one of those nights that YouTube presented me with a solution. A whole playlist with sleep meditation. Eureka! It is kind of like counting sheep. But then different. Ever since I found the Honest Guys and Michael Sealey I always have my tablet with me, ready to go on my nightstand. If I feel a bad night coming on, or if notice that I’m worrying, I find a playlist, put in my earphones and guaranteed I’m asleep within 10 minutes. No lying!
Videos with wind, rain, ocean, forest sounds
Videos with guided meditation to sleep
Videos with sleep hypnoses
Videos from 20 minutes to 8 hour films
All of these videos have but one purpose: to distract you from your worrying, to concentrate on your breathing and make sure you wake up fit the next morning. And if you handle it smart, the voices will also guide you to cheerfulness in your sleep. It had been a long time since I woke up smiling! Another advantage: I tend to notice my palpitations less if the sounds or voices distract me.
- Move, move, move
We get ailments, the general practitioner is our best friend, so the last thing we’re probably thinking about is moving. Get your butt off that chair. But girls, it really is the best advice anyone can give us. And not just walking from the
coffee machinetea kettle back to our desk. Get out there, go for a walk! Get on a bike and enjoy the outside. You don’t have to work out in a gym, if you don’t feel comfortable there. On the contrary, research shows that you sleep better if you are outside for longer than 30 minutes a day. People tend to confuse moving with working out, doing sports. But working out sounds like a chore. It shouldn’t be! You can pick up your grand children and visit the zoo. Or walk at the park. As long as you’re out there for 30 minutes or more.
FunFact: A research of the Northwestern University from August 2013, shows that women of 50 years and older slept remarkably better if they spent at least 4 times a week doing aerobic exercises for 30 minutes or longer.
You don’t have to run a marathon! Just don’t expect it to work after you walked one day in the park. Your body needs time to adjust for a longer period than that. Women who suffer from insomnia have a heightened brain activity. It takes time to adjust to the new regimen. Sadly the research didn’t mention how long. I noticed a difference after a week. It doesn’t hurt to try, does it? Another advantage: it strengthens your bones!
TL;DR: Three things helped me sleep better: take time for 30 minutes or more per day to go outside, no caffeine after 8 pm and sleep meditation videos. Do you have your own tips? I’d love to know! Please share them with me below!