Sleepus horribilus. That would be my roadrunner name this last few months. After enjoying months of solid, deep sleep I’ve reverted back to my former sleeping habits.
I fall asleep easily- not the problem.
My fitbit tells me that I generally take less than five minutes to fall asleep, which- fantastic- because sleep experts believe that ideally it should be under 10 minutes. No, falling asleep is fine. It’s the staying asleep causing me problems. I’ve fallen into a habit of waking between 2.30-3.00 and taking hours to fall back to sleep. Every. Morning. Doesn’t matter if I could to bed early, go to bed late; you can almost set your alarm on my waking.
Research tells me this is called sleep maintenance insomnia and is particularly prevalent with middle-aged women. Great- tired AND old. Interestingly, this particular form of insomnia is related to depression, and psychological stress. Tired and wired, there’s no better time to wake and worry than early morning (note the sarcasm. I am firmly of the thinking that nothing good is thought of at 2 in the morning).
But as for solutions:
I’ve worked really hard to develop good sleep habits so that I can fall asleep that quickly.
-I make sure my bedroom is completely darkened. No alarm clocks, even the light from appliances keeps me awake.
-I have a fan going so the white noise and air movement can lull me to sleep.
-My phone has an app of wave noises, but only gentle waves as anything else will disrupt me.
-I don’t touch caffeine after lunch.
-I have a routine leading up to bedtime, which admittedly I’ve abandoned to my busyness. This includes no electrical devices an hour before bed, and no social media. I read books for an hour before bed when I can.
-I’m also taking magnesium- specifically in the form of glycinate to help. Magnesium is such a great alrounder- its good for restless legs (these have occasionally kept me awake, particularly when I was pregnant, jaw clenching, anxiety and migraines. Under supervision I’ve dabbled with valerian and sleep histamines (take care here- you can develop a tolerance and get no sleep at all) but no luck with them!
Other habits that I could consider include a warm bath with lavender drops, warm milk, maybe even bedtime yoga or meditation. Creating an uncluttered, bedtime sanctuary might also be useful.
If you only do 3 things:
1. Work on your sleep habits. Sleep hygiene, as it’s known can make all of the difference
2.I f you’d like some great sleep related reading- this fantastic Australian website is an incredible resource.
3. Finally, sleep habits make all of the difference- but sometimes the underlying cause is due to medical or psychological issues- including anxiety, stress, depression, adrenal fatigue and thyroid issues. It can be worthwhile speaking to a health professional. I’m booked in this week to try and address my sleep issues.
Yours in zzzzzzz,