More Tricks for Better Sleep

Since perimenopause has plagued me, I have been fighting insomnia. Not having trouble falling asleep. The problem is staying asleep.

 (My dogs have no trouble sleeping, day or night!)

I'm sure many of you can relate. I go to bed early to make sure I get plenty of ZZZs. Otherwise I am even more of an ogre than normal. I know I need 8 hours, at the very least, while 9 or 10 would be ideal. This may sound like a lot. There are a few lucky ducks who thrive on 7 hours or less, but 8 is the minimum for most of us. Then there are people like me who do best on 10 hours a night.

If you are also struggling to stay asleep all night, yet find yourself waking up then tossing and turning for hours, I feel your pain. This is one of the most frustrating things about getting older. If you watch the clock, this just increases the frustration. I try not to even look in that direction!

While drinking alcohol in the evening can initially help us fall asleep, when the alcohol wears off, it is common for people to wake up. I have found that drinking wine with dinner (at an earlier hour, along with food) can ameliorate this issue. (I know you enjoy your wine and don't want to give it up!) Try switching over to decaf coffee, tea, chai or any caffeine-free beverage for the rest of the evening. Overall, drinking less fluids in the evening hours might help you avoid multiple bathroom trips in the middle of the night, so try to get your water in early in the day.

What and when to eat is another issue that can have a big effect on sleep. Minerals like calcium and magnesium tend to help us feel calm and relaxed, so these are great nighttime additions. Collagen is another nutrient that assists us in staying asleep through the night. You can take these as supplements, or you can find these substances in food. Milk and other dairy products are high in calcium, bone broth is a great source of collagen, while dark chocolate contains magnesium. Although going to bed hungry might help you lose weight, it can also cause sleep loss. These days, I am choosing to eat more in the evenings in order to boost my chances of sleeping through the night. Just make sure you eat nutritious foods containing protein and fat, instead of refined carbs. Carbs will spike your blood sugar, then cause a drop in the middle of the night, again waking you up. It is also important to avoid eating too much too close to bedtime, as well as eating spicy, rich foods. Acid reflux is another factor that can disturb sleep.

Skipping my afternoon nap has also helped me stay asleep for longer stretches at night. Although I absolutely LOVE taking naps, I am trying to wean myself off them. I believe nighttime sleep is better for my body and my brain. I always have a low energy period after lunch, so I'm experimenting with relaxing on the couch instead of getting in bed. So far, so good!

Have you discovered the secret to a better night's sleep? If so, let me know!