With World Sleep Day on Friday (19th March), I’d like to share my experience of difficulty sleeping due to perimenopause and give you some of my own tips for a good night’s sleep.
We all know that sleep is fundamental to our health and wellness, there’s no doubt about that. But a lack of sleep runs much deeper that just feeling tired the next day. It can impact every aspect of health and wellbeing as I know only too well. If I lose a night’s sleep, I get real brain fog the next day and that can affect everything I do. I just feel as if I’m doing everything on auto-pilot.
As a result, I now maintain a regular bedtime schedule, sometimes going to bed shortly after my four-year-old son, C and I have cut down on my caffeine intake, drinking decaf more often.
From impacting our immune system to a greater risk of depression, research from Puressentiel shows that 83% of us have suffered with sleep issues at some point in our lives. And I know exactly how it feels to not to be firing on all cylinders!
In fact, research shows that the immediate effects are felt by most, with three quarters saying sleepless nights makes it difficult to deal with daily life and half saying they are grumpy. It’s important to remember that it’s not all about the length of sleep. Quality of sleep is crucial. During the deepest part of the sleep cycle, the body works to repair and nourish itself.
We also have to remember that with the COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, we’ve all experienced a change in our sleep pattern – be it getting more sleep because of no commute, getting less sleep because of increasing stress and anxiety, or interrupted sleep as our minds don’t seem to want to switch off – or simply for no unreason.
But what can we do to maximise our chances of getting a good night’s sleep? Here are my top 5 tips to help get some sweet slumber.
Don’t force it!
This is a strange period we are living through, and I have experienced a difference in sleep as a consequence. I have had vivid dreams, I have woken in a panic, I have even suffered with sleep deprivation at times. The more I tell myself to get to sleep the more it just doesn’t happen. The trick is if you have been lying in bed for a while and haven’t fallen asleep, don’t force it. Get up, get a hot drink and distract yourself by doing something relaxing like reading, then try again.
I’ve taken to drinking Pukka’s Night Time Berry Tea. It’s a lovely tasting tea with a really nice fruity flavour and very relaxing before bedtime. I sleep very well with Pukka sleep teas!
Get a helping hand from nature
We all might need a little help getting to sleep as we go back to normal life. Either with our sleeping pattern or being able to switch off and fall asleep. Lavender has been used as a sleep aid for centuries, and it is acknowledged as a soporific and relaxant by both the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization. Try Puressentiel Rest & Relax Air Spray, a combination of 12 pure essential oils including True Lavender, Rosewood and Roman Chamomile. Alternatively, you could opt to add some essential oils to your bath. Base Formula has a beautiful range of relaxing essential oils to choose from. If you suffer from insomnia (like me) Base Formula’s Sweet Dreams essential oil will bring relaxation.
With French lavender, chamomile, valerian, cedarwood and mandarin, this oil has a subtle floral scent that alleviates my headaches and puts my mind at ease. The Relaxing blend contains frankincense, cedarwood, mandarin and yarrow and helps reduce anxiety. It’s an earthy oil that certainly acts as an overall healing agent.
There’s no better way to help with relaxation and stress than some exercise. When we exercise, we release happy hormones called endorphins which makes us feel positive. We also expend energy which will help us feel naturally tired and ready for sleep. Exercising also gives our mind some time to work through things, which will help with worries. Lockdown has been a problem for me because I love group exercise classes at the gym and really don’t like cycling or running, it’s just not for me. So our weekend walks have been the only exercise I’ve done since New Year’s Eve and I can’t wait to get back to the gym.
Make time to relax
The day can be full on, and even if it is manageable my mind might still be working overtime with different thoughts. As a result, I put aside some time for myself each day, even if only 30 minutes in the bath. I try to incorporate something I love into each day. I try to do one thing that’s good for me per day, whether it’s taking some vitamins, drinking saffron tea or making a smoothie.
Talking or sharing our concerns can help us deal with them. Friends may have advice, or simply just airing feelings can make you feel better. Sometimes I feel very alone, but I’ve found there are always others who share the same views or worries.