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Natural Sleeping Solutions
When thinking of natural sleeping solutions, let's first go back to the actual sleeping problems themselves. There can be many sleeping problems:
Insomnia - the inability to get to sleep or sleep well at night, can be caused by stress, jet lag, a health condition, the medications you take, the amount of tea, coffee or alcohol you drink. Insomnia can also be caused by other sleep disorders or mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Menopause - difficulty
sleeping can be one of the more challenging symptoms of menopause. Insomnia is a
very common symptom of menopause, but may not always be recognised or identified
as such. Sleep changes include difficulty going to sleep or falling asleep
quickly only to spring wide-awake several times a night or every hour on the
Some of this waking can be linked to menopausal symptoms. Anxiety and worry can prevent us getting to sleep, and when we finally get to nod off hot flushes can wake us again. Our sleep may also be disturbed by having to get up during the night to go to the toilet. It is also common to wake in the early hours of the morning, particularly if we go to sleep in an anxious state of mind with niggling worries and concerns. Women often say that they can put up with night sweats, but they can’t cope with the lack of sleep. This continuous lack of sleep can cause us to become depressed.
Other sleep problems may be related to the fact that perimenopause, like adolescence, is a time of transition in sleep patterns. Typically, this changes again after menopause, when we tend to need less sleep than during our 20s and 30s. Some women find daytime naps help during the transition.
Sleep apnea (AP-ne-ah) is a common disorder in which you
have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.
Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times
or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a
loud snort or choking sound.
Avoid all caffeine, not just at night but during the day as well. Use calming herbal teas such as camomile to relax your mind.
Consider using herbal tinctures such as Avena Sativa, best taken in warm water before bedtime. Alternatives include Valerian and Passiflora, and they all help to re-establish a good sleeping pattern.
Look to make changes in diet and nutrition. Eat plenty of lean protein, green vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Eat early in the evening and ideally don’t eat after 6pm. If your digestion is working properly, you will probably sleep better.
Develop good pre-sleeping habits: a regular sleeping ritual each evening helps set the tone for good sleep. Don’t surf the web or read, watch, or listen to anything that might be disturbing or thought provoking before bedtime. Avoid stressful discussions or difficult phone calls near bedtime. Spend time relaxing before going to bed - this helps to stop the mind from buzzing and we are less likely to be kept awake by stressful thought patterns and their effect on our adrenal glands.
If you are waking during the night and feeling anxious try to anticipate this problem by writing down worries that are on your mind. Make a list of things you need to do the next day before you go to bed, and then try and forget them. This will help you calm down and means that you do not have everything rushing around in your mind as you try to go to sleep. Keep a journal or notebook beside your bed to jot things down if you wake during the night.
A relaxing bath can be a great way to unwind.
Don't drink any alcohol, tea or coffee within 1 hour of going to bed.
Put all mobile phones, iPads, iPods, etc, etc, in any other room in the house, except for the bedroom.
You may need to improve your sleeping environment. Many people realise that their mattress has lost support and needs to be replaced. Don’t forget that you spend one third of your life asleep. Most mattresses need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years. Maybe indulge in some nice new bed linen. Make sure that your bed is a glorious haven!
Have the window in your bedroom, at least slightly open, even if it's just a centimetre and have your main bedroom door open, as this will help to create a gentle flow of air.
Ensure that there's absolutely no way that any light can show through your curtains / blinds.
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