I was up most of the night again last night. Sleeping has been a real challenge for me over the last year or so, and I find as I ask for help and ideas from doctors, friends and vitamin counter experts that many other woman have sleeping issues, too.
Recently I listened to a sleep expert on Terry Gross’s “Fresh Air” discuss the latest sleep (or lack thereof!) findings. Dr Penelope Lewis has written a book called The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest . In the interview, she explains that a good way to get the body to fall asleep is to take a warm shower or give your feet a warm-water soak before you go to bed. She says that when the body begins to cool down it automatically thinks it is time to go to sleep. This was a new idea for me, so I tried it and it did help for a few nights but then I was back to square one.
I’ve read that in the Middle Ages, before the Industrial Revolution (“At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past” by A. Roger Ekirch), people often woke up in the middle of the night for parties and salons. They had a different idea about time and sleep back then. But now in the 21st Century we are continually told that we need 7-8 hours for healthy aging.
I find that my situation is a challenging double whammy. I have trouble falling asleep and trouble staying asleep. My mind is over-active. I wake up planning and trouble-shooting the next day’s or week’s events. I get great ideas and solutions but why must they come to me in the middle of the night?!
Experts say that when you can’t get back to sleep you should get up out of bed and read an easy book. Keep the lights dim and the TV and computer off. Then try bed again when you feel yourself growing sleepy.
My latest routine has been to stop eating three hours before bedtime except for a light snack just before bed as Dr. Lewis suggests in her book. Then I take a warm shower and a Valerian tincture before bed and Coffee Cruda homeopathic when I wake up (a lovely woman running a little art gallery suggested this combo to me). I didn’t do any of this last night, hence my latest sleepless night!
My next try will be a sleep mask to keep everything very dark, as I’m determined to get my 7½ hours of rest! I am heading to the store now. While I’m gone, write me with your sleep remedies that I can try and share. Thanks!