“Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Blah, blah, blah.” I’m sure you’ve heard to get enough sleep for a while now, but as we women go into menopause, that can be a tricky thing. Most of us wake up at three a.m. and our bladder can’t wait another second, and our brain decided that it is now the perfect time to solve ALL our problems! Right?
I’ve been studying sleep for a few years and experimenting with different recommendations. Hopefully, something here will help you if you’re struggling to get the sleep you know you need.
But before I share what I’ve been doing – what’s the big deal about sleep anyway? Well, when we don’t get enough sleep, our immune system takes a big hit. In fact, the colds/flu I got this year were a direct result of not getting enough sleep (staying up too late/getting up too early) along with eating sugar. Check out this quick video from dōTERRA for more:
Here are the things I’ve found most helpful in getting a full night’s sleep:
- No food after 8 p.m. I’ve found that I have a really hard time sleeping if I’m simultaneously trying to digest. And if it’s meat? Forget about it – sleep is not going to happen!
- Dim the lights in the evening. I try not to use bright white lights all over the house after dark. Indirect lighting in the warm white range really helps to calm my whole body and be ready for bed.
- f.lux This is an app for your computer that changes the color tones of your screen after sunset and gets more amber as it gets later. It also reminds you how many hours until you get up, so it can help get you off the computer and into bed!
- Fight the urge to pee at three. For a long time, I thought I had to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Then one day I was talking to a functional medicine practitioner who told me to not get up. That we don’t actually have to get up and go in the middle of the night if you aren’t drinking caffeine. So that night when I awoke at three, I just stayed in bed and sure enough – I was actually able to just go back to sleep. Part of this is knowing just how powerful our thoughts are!
- Write things down. If you can write out all the things you need to do the next day, your brain won’t have to process them at 3 a.m. I use a Bullet Journal, but you could use anything you like.
- Cool your room. Our internal temperature increases when we sleep, which means a warm room will make us too warm. The ideal room temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67.
- Keep your feet warm. I find it almost impossible to sleep if my feet are icy. It really helps me get to sleep if I can go to bed with my feet already warm (by wearing wool socks and slippers up until bedtime). If my feet are chilly, I have a pair of thick hiking socks that don’t bind my toes or cut off my circulation at my ankles. It’s okay to be really picky about this pair of socks! I prefer Smartwool rather than full-on synthetics.
- Use layers. Since menopause, I’ve really needed bedding that is adjustable throughout the night. No matter the season, I’m most comfortable with a sheet, a blanket, and a comforter. I know it seems like too much in the warmer months to have both a comforter and a blanket, but I still use both so that I can totally adjust the bedding throughout the night. If my temperature drops, I can pull the comforter up. As my temperature rises, I can push it down and just have the sheet and blanket, or just the sheet. I use all organic for all layers – it’s worth it if you can afford it! We spend so much of our time in bed, that this is an area to splurge if you can.
- Balance your hormones. If you’re getting too hot as you sleep, it could very well be that your hormones are out of whack (imagine that!). I have had a lot of success with dōTERRA’s blend, Clary Calm for my hormones. This blend, with dietary changes, has completely gotten rid of my hot flashes as well as my night sweats. But if I start eating sweets again, they come back quickly!
- Use oils. There are lots of calming oils and what works for one person, may not necessarily work for the next. However, dōTERRA does have an awesome blend called Serenity to start with. And if that doesn’t work for you, check out the recipe below:
I, unfortunately, don’t know who to credit for this amazing recipe. It was one that was circulating around the web a few years ago, and I’m so grateful to whoever it was who came up with it! In a 5ml roller ball:
8 Roman Chamomile
5 Ylang Ylang
5 Wild Orange
Fractionated Coconut Oil to fill (~40 drops)
Roll on the bottom of feet and tip of big toe before bed.
If you try any of these tips, I’d love to hear how they work for you. And if you have others that work for you, please share!