Insomnia's always the worst, but it for many women over 40, it can increase with perimenopause and menopause.
After months of experiencing restless sleep, night sweats, and other symptoms of hormonal imbalance, I dug into the research to free myself from this awful cycle.
Below, you'll find a few lifestyle shifts and magic tricks that have me (and my clients) reclaim our sleep.
You’re tired, so you lay down and go to sleep.
In the middle of the night, for whatever reason (a child, a storm, a dream, a noise, the room temperature), you wake up.
Suddenly, your entire life “To Do List” floods into the forefront of your mind.
Your heartbeat speeds up, you feel hot, uncomfortable, and now you’re WIDE awake.
As soon as that happens, you know: it’s all over.
You can’t sleep, you have a really big day tomorrow, and now you’re going to be exhausted, and then that fearful, awful cycle repeats itself for the next few hours.
Do you know what’s actually happening when we’re experiencing insomnia?
The causes of primary insomnia are unknown, but the causes of secondary (chronic) insomnia can be everything from various health issues and diseases, to menopause, hormones, thyroid issues, pregnancy, depression, and anxiety.
Behaviors that can contribute to insomnia include caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, a poor sleep environment, travel, screentime before bed, stress, and more.
So, how do we cure insomnia?
I know this isn't what we want to hear, but there's no miracle cure. Like all real solutions, it’s a multi-pronged, holistic approach that reduces insomnia slowly but surely over time.
That said, there's a couple of magic tricks that can help you when you're experiencing insomnia. I’ll share the more in-depth lifestyle changes you can make at the bottom of this post, but I’ll start with the "magic tricks" first.
When you wake up in the middle of the night and your mind becomes flooded with fears, anxieties, “To-Do’s,” and frustrations— it’s time to flip the script.
You know going down that downward spiral isn't going to help anything. So unless you are putting effort into a different mind frame, more fear, anxiety, and frustration will be your default setting.
What's a different frame of mind? Keep reading to find out.
Quiet some of those fears, anxieties and "To Do's" that arise when you can't sleep, by taking a moment to write them all down (pen and paper, since the blue light from your phone can disrupt your circadian rhythms and keep you awake longer).
But go ahead, write down all the thoughts in your head and everything you have to do tomorrow.
After that, put the pen and paper down.
Here's an example:
“I am grateful for my sleep. Regardless of how long it takes to fall asleep, how many times I wake up, what I dream about, how tired or overwhelmed I feel right now. When I wake up, I will energetically spring out of bed tomorrow morning when my alarm goes off to create the most extraordinary life I can imagine—the life I deserve to live.”
Adjust to fit your needs.
By focusing our thoughts on a positive mantra, we can calm our emotional state and proactively avoid the downward spiral mentioned in Tip #1.
You can also try chanting (in your head) simple, positive words like love or peace, to achieve a similar result.
If you’re experiencing next-level insomnia, and the above didn’t lull you back to sleep, keep a good (positive) book by your bed.
Read it for as long as you need to— until your mind is distracted from your stress/anxiety/to-do list, and into a calmer state.
Finish your book and you’re still not asleep?
Forgive your body.
You can still have a great day on no sleep.
Of course, it’s not ideal, but your attitude is POWERFUL. Tell yourself you’re still going to have a great day and try to laugh about it.
Admittedly, that last bullet is the hardest.
Trust me, the vast majority of women I know and clients I see are suffering from a similar set of challenges.
You’re not alone on this, but I promise you that hope is around the corner as soon as you make the decision to change.
As always, I’m here to talk to for a complimentary consultation.