Tools for rest when sleep doesn’t come.
Friday was world sleep day. And, whilst it’s always good to have a ‘day’ to shine a light on an important life tool (and, let’s face it, it doesn't get much more important than sleep!), in midlife around 60% will experience sleep deprivation. As smart women we know what we ‘should’ do. We’ve read the sleep hygiene tips multiple times.
But what options do we have if all fails?
We’ve collected some of the best tips from our wonderful community of experts on the tools that may help when sleep doesn’t come.
- ‘Sole’ food:
Magnesium is an incredibly important mineral and many of us need more of it in menopause. And whilst you can find a good daily dose in our blends, we deliberately keep a little ‘spare’ in our formulations to allow you to top up at night. Magnesium oil spray, on the soles of your feet, can aid rest by maintaining healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep as well as activating our parasympathetic nervous system. It can also help with our protection of melatonin.
Yoga Nidra, sometimes called Yogic Sleep, is believed to deliver the benefits of 4 hours of ‘sleep’ for every hour of practice. Recently it has been studied more formally in the lab with results so positive it is now being used to treat chronic insomnia. Recent research has also pointed to its value in reducing anxiety and stress. Designed to guide you through a complete body scan, it can be incredibly soothing if you do wake in the night and struggle to return to sleep. Check out the options on Insight Timer or head to our friends at Movement for Modern Life to learn more.
Gratitude journaling, before bed, can help you ‘get away from the day’. But it can also release dopamine, making us feel more content at night. Some experts advocate keeping a journal by your bed. And, rather than allowing disruptive thoughts to rush around your head in the middle of the night, accepting you need to put it down on paper, turning on the light and writing a little. Work out what works for you. For some, feeling that they’ve addressed the worry helps. For others it may make returning to a state of rest harder.
- Address what you put on your plate:
Our food impacts our hormones, which in turn, impacts our sleep. If you find yourself waking in the early hours, it may be due to cortisol surges and blood sugar imbalance. Look to up your protein across the day. And consider a small handful of nuts or a scoop of nut butter before bed.
- Believe in your own biology:
We are women in midlife. We have survived so much more than a lost night’s sleep! Remember that. Trust your body’s ability to survive tomorrow. Try not to worry about the hours slipping away. Instead think about what you may need to ensure you feel nourished and loved through tomorrow. How can you treat yourself gently? How can you ensure your breakfast supports you fully? How can you plan your work/ commitments to acknowledge your limited resilience? Think about who you will spend time with…will they lift or drain you? If the latter, can you rearrange? Could you perhaps find a window for rest in your agenda?..perhaps you could try tip 2, and squeeze in 20 minutes of Yoga Nidra?
Above all else, although sleep is a critical foundation for good health, the worst thing we can do is worry about it. Create the environment that will give you the best chance of success. But also have the tools at hand to support you when it doesn’t happen. You’ve got this far. You rock. And you’ve got this too.
With love, Rebekah and the MPowder Team.