Sleeplessness can be a real issue when we reach midlife and in the years afterwards.
With fluctuations and then decline in hormone levels. Together with often having too much to do and high stress levels our sleep can really suffer.
Having regular quality and quantity of sleep is one of the fundamentals of self care. This is because in the process of sleep our body and mind goes through repair and recovery and important bodily functions.
Lack of sleep over the long term has also been said to contribute to chronic health conditions too. We also need good sleep to think clearly and make the best decisions. It’s no wonder really that we have difficulty deciding what we want if we’re having poor sleep. So we want to make sure we get a good night’s sleep.
The problem I have found is this. When we regularly lie awake at night, we can develop a pattern of sleeplessness. And the longer we lie awake, we can often become anxious about not sleeping. Then the anxiousness keeps us awake for even longer.
It becomes a vicious non-sleep cycle, but it can be changed
Before I personally learned how to sleep well again, I had experienced 12 months of 4 hours sleep a night. It is unsustainable and I know of many women who are still tolerating this.
If this is you, then you don’t have to put up with this. There is a way to build a good sleep pattern again.
Technology is the enemy of good sleep
Sorry to say this, but it is true. If you are checking your emails, texts or social media feeds in the evening, it can keep you awake. It’s the same issue if you’re working late on your computer.
Firstly, the blue light fools our body into thinking it is daytime. And even if we have some fancy technology that cancels out the blue light, it doesn’t always fix it. This is because when we check our phone or computer it can make our mind busy. So has strong potential to keep us awake.
It’s also important not to take your phone into the bedroom either, even if you use it as an alarm.
Making things regular creates expectations
Going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning makes things regular. By doing this you create good expectations for both your body and mind. These can become triggers for sleep.
Making sure that you are in bed before 10pm is also important when retraining yourself. This is because after 10 you get a second wind that can keep you awake for hours.
Giving your body and mind signals allows you to wind down
Having a good bedtime routine gives your mind and body signals that it is time to go to sleep. If you have been having difficulty sleeping for some time, this may even need to be a 2 hour wind down process.
Putting away electronic devices gives a shutting down signal for work and social. Also shut down the TV too. This will allow your mind and body to begin chilling out. It’s the same with having a shower or bath and putting on your pyjamas. Then slowly sipping a cup of warm chamomile tea and reading a nice relaxing book.
It sounds very simple and that’s why it works. When life becomes too complex is when bad sleep patterns emerge.
Offloading a busy mind allows you to let go of concerns
Journaling can be fantastic for offloading if you have a habit of worrying or over thinking. You could talk this over with a partner or friend, but the problem here is this. Their opinion could make you think about it more or even increase the worrying.
By offloading into your own journal you can see, hear and feel your own thoughts and emotions. This more often than not helps you work things out for yourself. Allowing you to relax, let go of concerns and be ready for sleep.
Breathing deeply helps you sink into sleep
The power of breath is king for getting to sleep as far as I am concerned. But remember that retraining ourselves to sleep after a long period of sleepless nights is holistic. It’s about finding the combination that is right for you.
In a complex world where we have lots to do we generally breath from the top of our lungs. This is because we are in beta brainwave frequency and our sympathetic nervous system is triggered. In this response we feel compelled to hold on and keep going. Over time this can cause or increase anxiety and continue to keep us awake.
When we consciously breathe using our whole lungs, it slows our breath down. This shuts down the sympathetic nervous system and triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the response that allows us to let go and sink into sleep.
Using sleep remedies can help too
There are many remedies on the market that can help us drop off to sleep. They all work to a certain extent, but on their own can be just a quick fix. I personally only use the natural remedies. This is because it’s sustainable and doesn’t seem to cause any other nasty side effects that medications do.
It also means that you are going to learn how to have a good night’s sleep again naturally too. And not be reliant on medication for this.
Essential oils are fabulous for this, as are certain supplements and herbal teas. More recently I’ve discovered some crystal patches too. These work through phototherapy and bio modulation. I’m sure I’ll have more feedback on those for you soon.
And finally food and drink can make or break a good night’s sleep.
The types of food we eat close to bedtime can keep us awake, disturb us during the night or help us sleep soundly. I discovered this years ago when I read a book written by Dr James Wilson on Adrenal Fatigue.
If we have foods and drinks that contain a lot of sugar and other carbs, we could lie awake for hours. We could also wake up far too early and find it difficult to get back to sleep. This is because these foods affect our blood sugar levels.
Blood sugar levels that are too high make it difficult for us to drop off. Low blood sugar levels can do the same thing, but also cause us to wake too early as well.
We need balanced blood sugar to get a good night’s sleep. This can be achieved just by having a very small protein rich and unprocessed snack before bed. My go to is a small handful (about 10) of raw natural almonds.
Re training takes time
To begin with you might want to play with a few tips and remedies. Over time you will find what works for you. Your expectations will play a big role on how each solution works for you or not.
Always remember how long it took you to develop a bad sleep pattern. It’s normally an accumulation over the years of habits and behaviours. This is now about retraining your mind and your body. So it’s important to give the tips and practices time to do their thing.
The road from habitual sleeplessness to regular quality sleep can take time. But it is most definitely is possible. If I can do it anyone can. It is holistic, so find the combination that works for you.
If you want to know more about combatting those sleeplessness nights for good, visit my YouTube channel Here. And please remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel so I can continue to bring more free information like this to you.
Much love to you xx