Question: How did you sleep last night? Did you have trouble falling asleep? Staying asleep?
For the past 15 years or so, I have dealt with poor sleep. I never have an issue with falling asleep because I go, go, go all day so once I get horizontal I pass out. Just ask my husband- I rarely make it through a movie and– poor guy, he has to rewatch many episodes of our latest Netflix obsession so I can get caught up. But, for years I tossed and turned in the middle of the night until I started making some changes.
Our entire life suffers if we aren’t sleeping well. It’s time to start snoozing better and losing the daytime crankiness, cortisol imbalance which can lead to weight gain, anxiety, brain fog, back pain and even wrinkles.
Here are the changes I made that have transformed my sleep:
1.WHITE NOISE: The sound of white noise mimics the “swishing” sound when we were in the womb. It’s comforting and gets us into a state of relaxation. Luckily, Aaron also loves to sleep with the sound of white noise. We have a small Vornado fan that does the trick and doesn’t take up much space. When I travel, I use a sound app. ITunes has a free white noise app I play on my iPad.
2. CREATE A NIGHTIME ROUTINE: Is your nightly routine scrolling through social media on your phone while you’re laying in bed? No wonder you can’t sleep well. You may read a controversial tweet that upsets you or your friend posts an eyebrow raising Instagram photo that sets you off. I started a rule many years ago after I got married that the phone does not go to bed with us. Yes, we have it plugged in to charge in our room, but I turn it to silent the moment Aaron and I start winding down for the day. It’s important to me to be present with my man and he reciprocates. I know you moms need to have your phone on when your kids are out, but just limit your time texting and reading emails on your phone when you’re preparing for bed. A long hot bath is a better choice! I also pray and/or think of things during the day to give gratitude for when my head hits the pillow.
3. DARK ROOM: I am very sensitive to light and cannot sleep unless it’s pitch black. We have heavy dark drapes to block out all light including street lamps, the moon and early morning sunlight. When I travel, I carry a cute eye mask for the plane or hotel room without a blackout shade.
4. GET CUDDLY & COMFY: I deal with lower back pain due to scoliosis and being flat footed. About 5 years ago, I began sleeping with a super soft pillow between my knees. This has transformed the way I sleep! I call that pillow my “Huggy”. Yes, at 45 I named my pillow. LOL! But, that’s exactly what I do to it. As a side sleeper, I hug it all night long. Plus, I’m a bit knock-kneed and the pillow keeps them from resting against each other. Ouch! Also, pay attention to your mattress and how old it is. An old mattress or the wrong mattress is usually the first culprit to poor sleep. Make sure you’re wearing comfy PJ’s too. Natural fabrics like cotton breath better and looser items are less constricting. [via Victoria’s Secret]
5. BALANCE HORMONES: Many women opt for a sleep RX when what they really need is to get their hormones balanced. Remember sleeping like a baby in our 20’s and early 30’s?! Ahhh, that was glorious until our hormones started changing. Insomnia in perimenopausal women makes us even more cranky and foggy brained during the day. When I haven’t slept well, I actually feel slightly depressed. I am a girlie who needs lots of sleep! I cannot function on minimal sleep and you certainly do not want to be around me either. I have been known to bite off a few heads or two when I’m sleepy and/or hungry. Just keepin’ it real! As you know, this past August I got Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy and one of the first things my practitioner, Heather Newman at Etre Belle told me was I would start sleeping better with both the Progesterone and Testosterone supplements. YeeHaw! She was right. Before the hormone therapy, I would wake up 4-5 times a night. Of course, I would get up to pee then get back in bed and toss and turn and think about everything from walking the dog, that load of laundry that had piled up, the blog idea I needed to write and WHY THE HELL CAN’T I GO BACK TO SLEEP!!!! When I finally did get out of bed in the morning, I was exhausted. Now, I wake up about once to pee and then sleep through the whole night. I wake feeling refreshed, clear headed and in a better mood. Hallellujahhhhhh!!!
Remember, our body is healing while we sleep. Sleep builds our immune system, tissue regrows (less wrinkles) and our organs reset.
Take care of yourself, sista!
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Go kick butt this week,