Sleep is a powerful thing. If it is restful and restorative we wake up feeling like we can conquer the world, or at least the busy day ahead of us. At times when we don’t get enough or we have poor quality sleep, we can feel exhausted and less confident about our own abilities. The day seems to drag on and all we can think about is crawling under the covers at the end of our day.
There are a number of things that can impact the quality of our sleep. A busy mind, menopause and stress are the top three that people often talk to their counsellors about.
Perimenopause or menopause is something that is whispered about in the lunch room. The change in hormone levels can bring hot flashes, irritability, anxiety and insomnia. Interrupted sleep at this time in a woman’s life is very common. Author Sheryl Kraft, Is Menopause Playing Havoc With Your Sleep? addresses the fact that there is no one size fits all solution. We are all uniquely different and trying different solutions will help you have a more restful night. Suggestions she makes are to avoid caffeine after 2:00 p.m, keep your bedroom dark, incoporate some exercise in your day and eat a high carbohydrate snack such as a whole grain cracker with a small amount of healthy protein before bed.
If after trying a few of these changes you do no find success you may wish to speak to a naturopathic doctor and they will listen to your specific concerns and will tailor a plan just for you. Many benefit plans now cover naturopathic appointments.
A busy mind is common in menopause and also when under stress. In an article from Pick the Brain they provide 5 Strategies to Empty Your Mind Before Bed. Keeping a notebook beside your bed can become a nighttime ritual that will help you prepare for your new day tomorrow but also to free yourself from the perpetual “to do” list. Write down what is on your mind whether it is your grocery list or the things that might be bothering you. Think about them and then release them for the day and you can pick them up again the next day if you need to.
In 12 Ways to Shut Off Your Brain Before Bedtime they suggest practicing relaxation exercises. Visualization exercises, meditation or a short evening yoga practice can help set the stage for sleep. If stress if still a barrier to catching the rest you need, then seeing a counsellor to help explore what the issues further and create a plan together.
Try making the last thought before bed one thing you are grateful for from your day. Set your intention to be a positive one for the next day.
Tools to Help Sleep
Yoga Nidra for Sleep, A 22 Minute guided meditation for sleep.
Bedtime Yoga for Deep Sleep, 6:36 minutes of bedtime yoga flow that can done on your bed.
Yoga for Better Sleep, 10 minute yoga routine for better sleep.
Into Sleep, A 10 minute guided meditation from Quiet Mind Cafe to promote a deep restorative sleep
Free Guided Meditations from UCLA Health, Try the mindful body scan
Naturopaths in Niagara
Dr. Stephen Tripodi, ND Optimal Wellness Niagara
Dr. Jane Lauermeier, 905-935-6460
Dr. Laura Imola, WIN Health Solutions
Dr. Charlene Kush, Niagara’s Elite Wellness Spa