Sleep is something that, for most of my life, I have taken for granted. Throughout the decades, I would sleep at night, wake up every morning, jump out of bed, and get on with my day no matter what was going on in my life.
That was until I entered my 50s.
No longer could I take a solid night’s sleep for granted. What disrupted me from sleeping well in my mature years?
At 50, I decided it was time to turn my life around, get serious about losing some weight and regain my youthful figure. Yes, a midlife crisis! I became a ‘gym junkie’ and subsequently a fitness professional, working hard in a new industry and environment. My marriage came to an end, and I was in a situation where I had to make a living, promoting and providing my services in a whole new career. It was stressful at times but exciting, and I loved the challenge.
Apart from working and constantly studying in a new profession, I was a single woman again after a long time (this wasn’t for very long, I’m happy to add), and I started to enjoy more social activities, including late nights with alcoholic drinks. With all of this going on, I was also going through menopause.
My experience of menopause was, luckily for me, relatively mild, probably due to having a procedure called uterine fibroid embolisation in my late 40s. I had no pronounced hot flashes, mood swings or weight gain. Just the more apparent inability to fall asleep during the night after waking from a ‘night sweat’ or the need to pee.
Many people go through an event in their lives that disrupts their physiological and psychological balance
Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each night; some need more.
Lack of quality sleep can be so debilitating and detrimental to your health and productivity. Through awareness and mindful choices it is possible to restore what you used to take for granted and again enjoy the benefits of a good nights sleep.
Here are some tips to help you fall asleep more quickly, sleep sounder and avoid waking during the night:
- Cut out alcohol, if not altogether, then abstain from drinking alcohol 4 to 5 days every week
- Eat your main meal early in the evening. We usually eat our evening meal between 6 pm and 6:30 pm. Eating earlier gives the food time to move from the stomach and into the small intestine (depending on the meal’s contents) before going to bed for the night.
- Go for a gentle walk after dinner
- Avoid strong caffeine drinks after midday. If I am fatigued in the afternoon, I’ll make a cup of Healthy Chef Match Green Tea. It contains some caffeine for a boost and is rich in antioxidants for vitality
- Avoid overly stimulating screen entertainment and, if possible, turn off all screens before bed or read on a tablet with night mode switched on
- Create a comforting sleeping environment with a soft colour palette and gentle mood lighting, and remove stimulating lights such as television screens and mobile phones
- Invest in a good bed. We spend around one-third of our lives in bed, so it’s an expense worth putting to the top of the list!
- Bathe or shower just before bedtime
- Form a habit of lights out and waking up at the same time every day
- If you have a lot on your mind, keep a notepad and pen by your bed so that if you wake during the night, you can scribble a few words to clear your mind and drift off to sleep again.
Sleep is a vital part of everyone’s general health and wellness. Without good sleep, we cannot function well and enjoy our lives to the fullest. Sleep is up there with good nutrition and daily exercise so enjoy your hibernation to rest and restore with blissful sleep.
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