14 Ways to Improve Sleep Now!
Sleep disturbance or insomnia is not uncommon
in women starting at midlife. While this may be due to a physical
concern, usually it's not. Let's discuss some things you can
do NOW to improve your sleep.
Good sleep is a component of good health. Things that
you do for good health are essential and will directly impact
your quality of sleep. This means eating a healthy diet, regular
exercise and good daily multivitamin/mineral supplements.
A healthy diet that is high in phytoestrogens such
as fruits and vegetables may help if the cause of your sleep
disturbance happens to be related to being perimenopausal.
Apples, carrots, cherries, green beans, oats, peas, potatoes,
soybeans and sprouts - just to mention a few!
Avoid stimulating agents such as nicotine and caffeine
that includes coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate.
Even one cup of coffee in the morning can affect sleep quality
hours later. We, as women, tend to metabolize caffeine much
slower than men. If you smoke or chew tobacco
of that, avoid smoking/chewing within a few hours of going
Sleep in a dark room. (How bright is your illuminated
Develop a sleep routine: going to bed at the same time;
rituals such as having a cup of relaxing tea and then washing
up, and the like.
Avoid taking naps.
Is your sleeping space comfortable? Look at light,
noise and temperature. How about your bed? Is it too firm
or too soft?
Avoid late night heavy meals. However, a light snack
at bedtime may be helpful.
Try relaxation mediate, take a bath, listen
to soft music, read a gentle book, get a massage.
Avoid the news and other violent or emotional stimulation
before bed! It's hardly relaxing!
Avoid alcohol late in the day. It can cause waking
in the night and impairs sleep quality.
Limit your bed activities to sleep and sex.
If you cannot sleep get up and do something
until you can sleep.
If worries are keeping you awake, try journaling
it may provide a way for you to release the worry
onto paper and thus relax and sleep.
There are natural supplements that can be tried. If you are
a milk drinker, consider having a glass of warm milk. Milk
when it is warm releases tryptophan, the same substance that
was in that Thanksgiving turkey that had you napping. On the
other hand, I recently read that warm milk also has substances
that can keep you awake. Let your own body tell you what it
likes about milk.
Other suggestions include valerian root, melatonin, passion
flower and of course the chamomile, catnip, anise or fennel
teas. Some companies package teas in their own formulations
for sleep, such as "Sleepy Time". Your local herbalist
or health food store may also be able to give you suggestions.
As with anything else, the key to try different things and
see what you respond to.
If none of these suggestions work, I would recommend the
following. First of all, see your see your health care provider
to ensure there is nothing physical that needs to be attended
to. Keep a sleep diary for 3 months with the goal to see if
there is some sort of pattern. Keep track of the time you
go to bed, awaken, how often you are awake and/or up at night.
Are you tired when you awaken in the morning? What time are
you getting up? Is there something that is on your mind? Does
any of this correlate with your cycles (if you still have
Use of sleeping medication is something that can sometimes
be used to get your body back on track, but it's not for long
term use, and should only be used when other remedies have
About the Author:
For over 26 years, Barbara C. Phillips, MN, NP has been involved
in health care. Now, as the founder of OlderWiserWomen, LLC,
that experience and passion is focused on Women who want to
experience the freedom, magic and wisdom of successful aging.
She invites you to visit her at http://www.OlderWiserWomen.com