My mind and body can’t take it anymore…..the lack of sleep. Menopause night sweats waking me up, worry over my teens and whatever drama they have going on this week, yummy iced coffee at 5pm, the terrible decision to download Tiktok to see what all the fuss is about and endlessly scrolling my phone in the comfort of bed in the silence of night. So many reasons to not get enough zzzz’s. Mostly preventable….Get better sleep – stop sabotaging your routine. Try these simple tips tonight to help you get a full night’s sleep.
A new study by the National Institute of Health (NHS) shows that under 6 hours a night of sleep during middle age can lead to dementia in old age. Read the article HERE. Their recommendation goes back to what we already know, but mostly ignore, adults age 50-60 should get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night sounds like a fairy tale full of indulgent behavior that a parent could scarcely dare to try accomplishing. If scary tales from the NHS are to be believed, I better heed their advice and start getting at least a few full nights of sleep a week. I have to change my behaviors quickly.
For those of you in the same sleepless boat I find myself in, try these tips tonight:
- Set a bedtime – keep it as consistent as possible even on weekends. I know, I know. This is tough. I’ll give it my best effort.
- Don’t go to bed if you’re not tired. Get up if you can’t fall asleep after 30 minutes. We’ve all had many nights where we toss and turn, checking the clock and panicking as we fail to relax and fall asleep. Better idea is to get up and try a calming activity elsewhere and going back to bed when you start to really feel sleepy.
- Don’t eat a big meal right before bedtime. Opt instead for your last meal to be earlier and if necessary a small healthy snack near bedtime.
- Don’t worry. Hahaha! That’s easy for me to recommend! Hate it when people tell you “not to worry” about something? It’s great advice, but for most of us, worry will keep us up for hours in the most unproductive state of anxiety. It’s important to remember that rarely are solutions found in the middle of the night. A better idea may be to jot down your worries and set the note aside. Get out your feelings about it and commit to leaving it alone until morning.
- Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening. Surely this is easier said than done, especially for me. Make caffeine a morning til midday event.
- Limit screen time in bed – avoid it altogether if possible. Use your bed for sex and sleep. It’s a great commitment to make!
- Regulate the temperature. Make sure your room is the temperature you feel most comfortable sleeping in whether that means opening a window, adding a fan for noise and cooling, or an extra blanket if you’re chilly.
- Add a white noise machine if you can’t sleep in silence. Many have several sounds, timer and nightlight options.
- Be active during the day with regular exercise, it’s healthy for your body and will help you sleep at night. Remember how we used to work hard at tiring out our children. Do the same for yourself!
- Try some calming fragrances or oils. Deep Sleep Pillow Spray with Lavender or Dr. Teals Sleep Lotion with melatonin and essential oils have calming effects.
- Learn meditation techniques. There are plenty of online resources to help you get started. Here are 2 good articles to check: Three Ways to Meditate for Better Sleep or Meditation for Sleep
- Try not to nap if keeps you from falling and staying asleep at night. Break that cycle.
- Practice deep breathing – by yourself…. take a deep breath in while counting to 4 and slowly let out while counting to 6. Concentrate on nothing but the breathing.
- Set a social media app limit. Lordy how we can waste a lot of time laughing our way through the night with apps like TikTok and Instagram. Set a time limit during the day for these apps and don’t even think about opening them from bed.
- Find helpful sleep apps like that will help you wind down at the end of the day. Search Sleep Help into the Apple App Store and several options will show up