October 31, 2009

#8 A Good Night's Sleep

Insomnia is an issue for many women during perimenopause. Insomnia caused by hot flashes will resolve with hot flash treatment (see solution #9). Anxiety is another source of insomnia. Sleep disturbances are magnified by the fact that, like teenagers, we suddenly require greater amounts of sleep due to the transitions taking place in our bodies.

Here are some tips for a better night’s sleep:
  • Don’t go to bed on a full stomach. A healthy snack before bedtime can be helpful. The snack should be high in protein and low in carbohydrates – fresh fruit, cheese, lean meat, cottage cheese.
  • Antioxidants, Magnesium and Calcium supplements once or twice a day can also support refreshing sleep. Too little magnesium is common, and can cause you to wake up repeatedly during the night.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Sleep in the dark, cover mirrors in your bedroom, remove the TV.
  • Develop and adhere to a going to bed ritual. Sleep the same time on weekends as weekdays. Change into your jammies and complete bedtime hygiene ½ hour before bedtime to signal your body it’s time to wind down.
  • Be your own editor: don’t read, watch or discuss anything disturbing just before bedtime.
  • Get the ‘gerbil wheel’ out of your head! When you have trouble turning your brain off from the worries of the day, things said, things undone or the to do list for tomorrow – start with a few deep breaths and a prayer. Another way to tame the brain is to write down everything that is bothering you. You’ll have a fresh perspective to tackle the list in the morning.
  • If you’re still having trouble sleeping, get out of bed and take a natural sleep aid, like valerian root to help re-establish good sleep patterns.

Now I lay me down to sleep . . . good night!

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