All I need is a just a little more sleep,” I explained with a very cranky voice to Mr. H the other night. It was in response to a meltdown I had earlier after missing a work deadline. What I should have said is …I need A LOT more sleep.
I’m ashamed to admit that sleeping often gets lowest priority in my life. Then when I do make time for more sleep, I get frustrated because the stress, workload, too much computer time, or changing hormones keep me awake. I don’t seem to have issues falling asleep but instead I wake up in the middle of the night and then can’t get back to sleep thinking about really important things like what I forgot at the grocery store. Pitiful. That’s when I know I need to make changes in my lifestyle. It’s not the grocery list. It’s my body’s way of saying “WAKE UP AND CHANGE SOMETHING PLEASE.”
Did you know that lack of sleep is the second most common complaint of women, after hot flashes, during perimenopause? And in case you’re wondering, mood disorders is after that. Great thought, huh? A tired, cranky bitch. Not a happy combo.
But the fact is LACK OF SLEEP just makes life harder. Without enough of it, we are irritable, moody, have errors in judgment, our blood pressure is higher and we gain weight. Sleeping helps to restore our mental and physical energy. Sleep catalogs our memories and resets our brain. It’s the #1 thing we need to get more of in our life to stay healthy. Notice I didn’t say diet and exercise. Bet your doctor never told you to GET MORE SLEEP. Its always, you need to eat less and exercise more and take your meds. But what if many of the health problems we had today could be cured by sleeping more? I think we’d hear a lot more snoring going on!
So why do 40% of women in mid-life complain about insomnia? It’s really the perfect storm. Declining estrogen and progesterone, combined with stress. Here’s what happens when our estrogen and progesterone levels drop.
- It’s harder for our body to absorb the mineral magnesium. Magnesium helps our muscles to relax.
- Night sweats can occur which interrupt the sleep cycle and wake us up.
- Sleep apnea is common as the tongue looses muscle strength and falls toward the back of the throat which disturbs breathing during the night.
- The sleep hormone melatonin decreases which is what our body needs to stay asleep.
Plus, environmental triggers like spicy foods and drinking too much alcohol or caffeine before bedtime all add to the sleepless drama.
How did you sleep last night? Stay tuned for some really great natural sleep cures next week. Heidi