One of the things I think I’ve more or less nailed is my sleep hygiene! (HOORAY!!) Being on my own ‘3rd Age Rewilding’ journey, I’ve been able to dig deeper beneath the surface and take control of my controllables surrounding sleep….and it is working!
I see and hear almost on a daily basis certainly weekly is midlife women talking about how their sleep is disrupted and insomnia is ruining their lives. They feel at a loss due to an overwhelm of information, a lot of different viewpoints and experiences from others, and wishing away this transitional stage of life.
I believe that if we can become truly informed about sleep and understand the root cause of what is causing the lack of deep restorative sleep, then we could be onto a winner.
I don’t believe there is one single magic ‘thing’ that will make it all ok but working out YOUR strategy by removing the things that no longer serve us and putting a number of tools into action is what will make a marked difference, which so self-empowering in my view.
Of course, there are common themes including the fact that a decline in reproductive hormones affects so many functions. For example, a hot flash indicates an increase in stress hormone cortisol levels. Now it could be the trigger to wake you up or it could be the ruminating at the thought of a hot flash that is keeping you awake. Either way, it is not conducive to sweet sleep and therefore if we are to transition through menopause happily and healthily, something needs to change.
Why is sleep so important, especially at the peri to post-menopause (P2PM) life phase?
Well for all of us, sleep is the time for our bodies to detoxify, restore and recuperate. This includes your amazing brain. Did you know that sleeping on your left-hand side could support your brain and deep clean it every night? This is our glymphatic system clearing out what isn’t needed and giving our amazing brains a better chase to keep the dementias at bay namely Alzheimer’s disease which disproportionately affects more women than men. As our hormones change and are in even more flux than usual we naturally become more inflamed systemically. Ample rest and restoration are an imperative part of our tool kit in helping to keep this to a minimum.
With great sleep hygiene, your global health both short term as well as further down the line could be positively effected.
It’s not only the length and quantity of sleep but also the quality of sleep, the different types of sleep, your sleep environment (bedroom set up), hormones and stress management, diet and digestion, how active/inactive you are, state of mood, and health that all play a part too. This list is not exhaustive! These can be broken down further and really examined and when you know better, you can do better. The clues are there. Time spent on working out what is right for you could make the world difference and give you the sweet sleep you desire and need for flourishing health throughout midlife and beyond.
There are things that we CAN absolutely do to help aid our sleep for example some adaptogenic herbs or the type of lighting you use in the evening which can help. There is no blanket fix for everyone and this is why getting to the root once and for all will step you towards the results you’re looking for. Take the time to work out what does or doesn’t work for you. I would start by doing the simplest things like setting a wake-up time in the morning. By the way, we are individuals and some need more sleep, some less sleep. It is said to get eight hours of sleep every night but this doesn’t work for everyone and we can take pointers from the wisdom in our own bodies that are constantly communicating with us.
What would be the simplest thing for you to take action and change for the better? My advice is to avoid becoming overwhelmed by it but to view it as self-advocating and taking control of your controllables. Stsrt with one thing. Do that very well and then add in another layer. Brick by brick to make it stick. Perhaps take a pen and paper or type how you’d could inspire better sleep. What would that look like? What are your actual barriers to making the changes and which ones are only perceived?
Here is one tip to start with. A great night’s sleep starts in the morning. Get the soft morning daylight into your eyes, preferably within a couple of hours of waking up. Allow the light to reach the back of your eyes to reset your body clock each day, indicating that it’ll be bedtime in about 12 hours. If you can spend 10 to 20 mins on a walk or have your first-morning cup of something warm, outside or even at the back door in the fresh air allowing the gentle light to soothe you awake, your brain, body and hormones will love it!
I am running an online group this month to help women with this. It’ll run over 5 weeks at a one-off great price. If you need support or guidance surrounding your sleep at perimenopause and want one if the limited spaces, respond by sending me an email and I’ll give you more details and to book. You could be sleeping much better within 5 weeks with simple ways you can take back control.
There are a whole host of areas I cover to do with perimenopause and beyond. I begin with sleep because unless we are well rested how can we efficiently function or even contemplate all the other information. No let’s get calm, rest, and sleep first then our brain can absorb AND put into action this vital foundation.
The outcomes of the course will be that you’ll have a better understanding about you might be struggling to get a decent night sleep and more to the point what you CAN do to make the most positive impact to change it. I’ll also share what has worked for me.
Are you yearning for nourishing sleep? Get in touch if you feel the call to.
“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”–Thomas Dekker