I love my bed, I love my soft duvet, my pillows and I love the draft that comes in the window in the night from my velux window. I’d love all of these things so much more if I could sleep the WHOLE night. Just for one night would be great, I’d settle for that at the moment.
I seem to have joined the ‘women of a certain age’ 4am sleep club, ..and whilst the menopause comes with some benefits (can’t think of any off the top of my head but..) sleep deprivation is definitely not one of them.
I thought I’d tried everything but as a desperate measure I bought this little book, and realised I haven’t really given everything a go. It doesn’t come with the guarantee that I wanted, and a lot of it is obvious stuff that I’d do anyway, but thought the rest of the mothers meeting might be interested in a synopsis of it. Plus other bits of info I’ve acquired from reading magazine articles, talking to people who want to impart advice (always gratefully received), and googling ‘help! I can’t sleep’ in the middle of the night.
So, ladies, I’m assuming if you’re reading this you’re a lady! ┬áHere is a long list of all the top tips to help us get through the night without tossing and turning, reaching for Facebook (totally the wrong thing to do), getting up and making cups of tea, and whatever else you choose to do when sleep won’t come.
1. No caffeine after 2pm, it’s too stimulating.
2. Reduce light exposure at least an hour before going to bed., turn them down, or use candle light.
3. Burn relaxing aromatherapy oils like lavender or chamomile – I use a diffuser (see my website www.bebalanced.madebypi.co.uk, under Neals Yard)
4. Do some yoga or meditation to calm your mind.
5. Do a brain ‘dump’, write down all your worries, all your things to do etc, on a sheet of paper to clear your mind.
6. Have a warm bath, it sounds wrong but it will actually cool you down afterwards.
7. Sleep naked, helps with hot flushes in the night.
8. Have an evening schedule that you stick to, whenever possible. The mind and body like routine.
9. Try a “Chillow” pillow (www.chillow.co.uk) to sleep on. It fits under your regular pillow case and keeps your head and neck cool. Not tried this but I do intend to.
10. Keep your bedroom free of clutter, tidy, calm. and with no bright lights.
11. Listen to ambient/repetitive music to fall asleep to.
12. Keep your phone totally off, or better still out of the room. No temptation when a message comes through to pick it up! Or to go on FB in the night!
13. Manage your stress – easier said than done, but at least avoid contentious issues with people in the evening, and doing the brain dump can help with stressful issues. A challenge is always worse in the middle of the night.
14. Aim to sleep with the back of your head, and neck roughly straight.
15. Use Chillicious – a delicious product made by Temple Spa, it’s like a cooling gel, and this is something I’ve been using for a while.I keep it handy and slap it on when I have a hot flush. My friend Maria sells it, so contact me if you’d like some and I can pass on her details.
16. Only go to bed when you’re tired!
17.Do nothing in your bed apart from sleep and have sex!
18. Have a routine to wake up in the morning – like I said earlier your body likes routine. No lie ins at the weekend, until you have this thing cracked.
19.Don’t clock watch – if you can’t get back to sleep get up, go read a book in the lounge, but do not turn on a bright light.
20. Try taking 15 minutes out of your day to think about stuff, get your worrying out of the way during the day!
21.Listen to a Chakra balancing CD – to calm and centre you – as an Energy 4 Life Wellness Coach this is something we incorporate into a clients coaching course. My tutor Caroline Shola Arewa recorded an excellent CD that I listen to every day. Contact me for details.
22. Learn to breathe properly – again something we do in Wellness Coaching. Most of us shallow breathe; learning Ocean Breath can slow breathing down and calm the mind and body. Go to Youtube for demonstrations , it’s easier than me attempting to describe it.
23. Don’t drink alcohol in the evening – no really! This is one of the worst offenders for a good nights sleep.
24. Don’t smoke!
25. Eat protein rich foods, good carbohydrates, bananas are great for both serotonin and melatonin production. Cherries are excellent. Nuts help melatonin rise so have a handful as an evening or afternoon snack.
26. Exercise each day even if it’s only a brisk walk (fresh air helps you sleep). You’ll feel better physically and mentally, honest, and the endorphins released will help relieve the stress of the day and so help you relax into sleep.
27. Don’t nap, it’ll make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
28.Sleep prefers cold temperatures (don’t we all when hot flushes take over!!), so keep the heating off in your bedroom.
29. Always have your window open slightly so you’re not breathing in ‘stale’ air, i.e. the air you’ve breathed out.
30. If your partner snores send them to the chemist to get something to fix it!!! or consider earplugs, or the spare room. For them, obviously.
31.Paint the walls in your bedroom a neutral colour, whites, greys, creams. Blue and pale green can also be calming.
32. Buy a new bed, if your current one is uncomfortable you’ll stand no chance of a good night’s sleep. Ask for advice when you buy one, it’s one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make.
33. Remove noisy, bright alarm clocks from your bedroom.
34. If you wake having a hot flush, have some homeopathy tablets you can take immediately, kept by the side of the bed, to help it subside fast. I have some from my friend in Harrogate, she makes them up herself. Again, contact me if you’re interested.
35. Don’t panic! This is the worst thing you can do.
36. For 15 minutes or so, lie on the floor with your legs up against the wall. This is apparently a very calming exercise to do before bed, and if you do it every evening your body will come to recognise it as part of your bedtime routine (just don’t watch TV whilst you’re doing it – I made that mistake!)
I hope some or all of this has been helpful, or will be when you implement it!
My emergency pack by the side of my bed I consists of : chillicious, my homeopathy tablets, a large glass of iced water with lemon, my mini CD player to put on some meditation music- and when I get my CHILLOW this will be on the bed.
Looking forward to NOT talking to you in the middle of the night any more!!!