Journal / Inspiration

What if that 3am worry window was actually working for you?

30 May, 2024

Reframing wakefulness as an opportunity to listen in.

30 May, 2024

Difficulties with sleep will impact around 60% of us during our menopause journeys. Research tells us that, alongside the impact of sex hormone fluctuations and symptoms that can disturb rest (hello hot flashes), our circadian rhythm naturally shifts as we transition through menopause too - meaning that the time we are naturally ‘ready’ to rest is likely to change. And, if we’re not tuned in to our body’s needs, we may be deferring sleep and exacerbating the issue.

But, if, like me, your sleeplessness is connected to your natural cycle, however inconsistent that may be, it could be that the message our body is communicating is actually very different. And, that wakefulness could, in fact, be an opportunity.

Last week, I was invited to join the phenomenal Abi Adams of Project Woman to speak at a workshop hosted by The Ministry. Abi spoke at length about the emotional landscape of our cycles and post menopausal rythm - and the value of understanding what our bodies and minds need through this lens so we can truly thrive.

With this perspective, the days leading up to and including menstruation or day 1 in your natural rhythm post menopause, are seen as a period of listening in, creativity and big bold ideas. This chimes with the self-nourishment advice advocated by Dr Kat too; that sometimes accepting that we are awake, being gentle with ourselves in the moment and the following day, can remove the anxiety associated with less sleep and pave the way for a route back to rest.

It’s something I’ve been working on for a while now. And there are 5 things that have truly helped me reframe that 3am worry window as purpose knowing on the pane to be let in!

  1. Keep a journal, pen and candle by your bedside: if you wake in the night, rather than feeling cross with yourself, allow yourself to listen a little to the thoughts. Are they knotty worries or are they thoughts around resolution or new ideas? If the latter, consider lighting a candle or a dim light and downloading it all. Once on paper, I find my mind settles. And I’ve had many really exciting ideas hiding amongst the troubles too!

  2. Prepare for your body to feel comfortable: if you wake as a result of a hot flash have a change of clothes, a towel and also a heated blanked ready. The latter sounds counter-intuitive, but I have found the worse thing about waking up drenched, is the bone cold feeling that often follows.

  3. Don’t dismiss self care tools: sometimes a spritz of lavender, a calming balm applied to the temples, an eye mask that makes you feel held and cocooned, can make a big difference.

  4. Before you return to sleep, consider how you can nourish yourself the following day: A broken night sleep, however fruitful, will leave you depleted. This means you’re likely to find a ‘normal’ day harder - and potentially reach for food sources that give energy highs and accompanying dips. If you can, plan out how you can take care of your tired body and mind. You’ve achieved ALOT in that waking window. Does that mean you can shorten your working day? Can you build in 20 minutes for Yoga Nidra when your energy dips? How can you ensure your breakfast includes a significant hit of protein, good fat and fibre to provide the right kind of energy too?

  5. Finally, remember however alone you feel with your thoughts, there are 100s of 1000s of women awake around the world, with you: You are not alone. You have done things so much harder than getting through tomorrow with just 4 hours of sleep banked. And you will get through this too. Be gentle. Be kind. Capture the wisdom, inspiration and creativity your mind is carrying. And welcome the new day.

If you’re looking to find rest and soothe that worried mind, why not try our 5-star encapsulated formula, MOOD-FOOD? Remember to sign up for the free symptom tracker too. LEARN MORE.

Share Twitter Facebook Pinterest