Sleep. For many Meno-She’s (women aged over 40) difficulties getting to sleep or staying asleep can be one of the first signs of perimenopause and it’s a killer.
Don’t we all know how important a good night’s sleep is for our sanity? A-huh I hear you agree! But what you may not know is it’s also key to productivity, brain function and a healthy weight. Oh, and it’s crucial to your best perimenopause / menopause experience. But it can be a tall order, we’re not denying that for a second.
So here’s seven tips to help you try to get – and stay – in the land of nod for a life-boosting seven or so hours:
1. Go to bed early
I know, I know. This can be difficult when you’ve got a TV programme or book you’re hooked on. You might be a Netflix addict(!) or have much to do and not enough hours in the day (hello 21st Century). Truly, lights out at about 9.30-10pm can make all the difference to how you look, feel and function. Indeed, it’s not called beauty sleep for nothing. We should also call it wellness sleep – it doesn’t sound quite so good though does it?
Seriously though, the body rejuvenates at a cellular level between 10pm and 2am so it’s a crucial time of healing and re-jigging. It takes discipline at first, but try it for three weeks and feel the difference it makes.
2. Change the way you look at sleep
Sleep is one of the most underrated life tools in the world, and sleep issues are reaching epidemic proportions. Instead of looking at sleep as something we just ‘do’ (if we can) we need to look at it as crucial to our quality of life.
Putting sleep on our priority list might just make you more effective, productive and…well…it has to be said…nicer. If you’re tired it’s easy to be bitchy isn’t it?
3. Get rid of artificial light
Hallelujah! We’re so blessed to live in a time of simply flicking on a switch for light. BUT it does tend to play havoc with our circadian rhythm, which sets our genetic clocks for things like energy and cellular repair. One way to trick your brain into turning to sleep mode is to dim the lights and load software onto your phone and computer that nixes blue light. It’s well documented how using your devices at night can interfere with your sleep. I use F.lux – it’s great.
4. Take an Epsom salts bath
I can’t rave about this one enough because it’s simple and so darn good.
So, Epsom salts are technically magnesium sulfate and magnesium is a mineral we all need. With that said, a lot of us are lacking in magnesium due to depleted soil levels and lifestyle factors such as processed foods and prescription meds. Soaking in the salts helps you absorb magnesium topically and the bath also acts as a detox plus it relieves pain and joint inflammation. (Tick, tick, tick, tick!) In addition, it can help with your circulatory system, cardiovascular health and blood sugar so it should on the must-do list of all midlife women.
For good measure why not add a few drops of a good lavender essential oil – a well-known relaxant. Inexpensive and simple.An Epsom salts bath should be on the must-do list for all midlife women. Click To Tweet
If you’re anything like me, you’re an over-thinker and it’s difficult to shut your brain off at night. A racing mind and a very loud inner critic (read: negativity bias) are also both lesser-known signs of perimenopause. One trick I’ve found is to write out the experiences of the day and a to-do list for tomorrow in order of priority. Then it’s all ‘out’ on the page so to speak and I can let it go from my brain. It’s called a ‘brain dump’. Plus the feeling of ticking off the list with a ‘done’ is brilliant.
6. Seek out a Yoga Nidra or Deep Relaxation yoga class
There’s a whole lot of hoopla out there about yoga right now, but it’s not all about svelte, ultra-flexible bodies dressed in Lululemon. Yoga is actually about relaxation and aligning our energies for wellness through postures and breathing.
Yoga Nidra and Deep Relaxation (aka Deep Restore) are incredible. They’re like having the deepest sleep without actually being asleep. (Although many participants do start snoring!) This is a good sign. Scientifically, they say it’s even better for us than sleep and it’s a proven stress reliever. It’s magic, anyone can do it and it can make all the difference to not just your sleep, but also your midlife transition and menopause journey. In fact, it’s a no-brainer for your entire life.
7. Take a good supplement
The affron® saffron, fenurgreek and sage have been used in folk medicine to help support the mind and body symptoms of the menopause years. And affron® saffron has been found to make a huge difference to sleep by increasing production of melatonin.
So let’s hone in on affron® shall we? In fact, over four weeks it was shown to significantly improve sleep quality and that’s a biggie. Because there’s sleep and there’s sleep and some of it’s pretty intermittent so we don’t wake refreshed. However, experts say that affron® helps support a good quality sleep-wake cycle, thereby promoting restorative sleep. The kind we all want and need. What’s more, it can also be helpful for mood, reducing irritability, anxiety and hot flushes.
Also, if you’re a smoothie lover add a teaspoon of magnesium powder.
Chamomile tea is another goody for helping you go off to the land of nod.
I’d love to know how you get on. Don’t hesitate to drop me a line here if you have something to share.