It is said that one of the best things you can do for your health is to get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately for most of us, with the transitions associated with menopause, sleep often gets hampered. According to research, menopausal women are two or three times more likely to have sleep apnea which often goes undiagnosed, also hot flashes can trigger us to wake up or at the very least they disturb the quality of our sleep. On top of that, unhealthy daytime habits and lifestyle choices, work stress and family responsibilities, as well as unexpected challenges, such as illnesses, make everything even more complicated.
However, growing older isn’t necessarily a sentence to restless sleep for the rest of your life. While you may not be able to change the way your natural sleep rhythms and tendencies have shifted, you can try many simple techniques and rituals to limit disruptors and improve your quality of sleep.
Indeed, sleep is a process. Getting a good night’s sleep also depends also on how much physical activity you get, what you eat and drink, and how mentally stimulated you are, especially in the hours before you crawl into bed. A nightly routine helps you relax, fall asleep more easily and be better prepared for the next day. By experimenting with the following tips, you can have a better rest at night, boost your health, and improve how you feel ‘tomorrow’.
Ritual of Letting Go
- Dedicate half an hour in the evening to vigorous exercise; 15 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), followed by 10 minutes of slow stretches and 5 minutes of slow diaphragmatic breathing should be helpful. Wind down with stretches and calm breathing.
- Eat a smallish dinner, preferably early. Steer away from alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants.
- Fix a time, when you will let go of work and start transitioning into the activities that bring a smile to your face. Change the music to something soothing, soften the lighting, and possibly use a calming lavender and sandalwood essential oil blend. Follow this ritual during weekends as well. Regularity is important. We are creatures of habit.
Ritual of Happiness
- Make time to connect and play. Especially if working from home, we seem to lose the ability to disconnect from work and divide the day to engage in more playful and intimate moments. Set clear boundaries for your working hours.
- Indulge in long hugs and cuddles with any of your family members. After 2-3 minutes your breath and body rhythms should start to be in sync. This cues comfort and safety for the brain.
- Drink valerian root tea, Magnolia bark tea, Chamomile flower tea or Licorice tea. They are often recommended due to their ability to reduce discomfort and promote sleep. The soothing compounds are phytoestrogens, flavonoids, GABA ((Gamma-aminobutyric acid) boosters or adrenalin-lowering ones. Teas often need a month to show stable results. Banana tea has become rather popular these days.
- Massage your skull with a warmed-up blend of castor oil and coconut oil in circles to the front and sides of the skull – it will get you yawning in less than 5 minutes. The same goes for a foot rub that focuses on the toes and the heels. When using oils, make sure you wash them off with lukewarm water and a mild shampoo. It is not recommended to leave the oil on the scalp overnight.
Ritual of Trust
- Set the intention to get a good night’s rest as you enter your haven of sleep.
- Practice slow breathing or box breathing to wind down.
- Listen to good sleep whispers that soothe you, train you to relax the body and then help your mind to drift into slumber.
- Make sure your bedroom is not equipped with TVs, phones or other screens. Keep the room as dark as you comfortably can. A temperature of 24C° is ideal and proper ventilation is necessary.
- Ensure you have clean and comfortable linen and mattress. A 7-year-old mattress often has 16 million colonies forming bacteria per square inch apart from dust mites, fungus etc. Often sleep problems have been solved by changing the mattress, linen and carpets and by reducing spore-promoting factors such as moisture.
- Use a good sleep and hormone blend of essential oils for your bedroom. It starts to take a noticeable effect in less than 5 days.
Do’s & Don’t Of Sleep
Resting well at night time also depends on the way you manage the situation when you crawl to bed and what you do when you wake up in the middle of the night. Don’t panic; take a breath and just follow these recommendations.
- It takes time to fall asleep. Do not give up on the rituals, stick to them with regularity and you will see a difference within a month.
- It is ok to wake up in the night. Sometimes we may be awake for a few minutes but may imagine it to be much longer than it really is. Do not look at the clock. Do not worry, judge or calculate. Restart the breath work and the sleep whispers.
- If you feel you are bright awake in the middle of the night, do not lie there and toss and turn, instead get out of bed and restart from the ritual of happiness. Stretch gently, read a book, drink tea, meditate and wait till sleep comes back to you.
- Cut yourself some slack – none of us will have amazing sleep every night. There will be some days of lousy sleep. It is ok. But do take time to understand if worries are keeping you up. In this case, engage in stress reduction methods.
Customize a routine for yourself, make it yours, make it sacred, you deserve a restful night of sleep and it is necessary for a long and healthful life.
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