5 Tips for Better Sleep
If you are a woman 40 years or older it's highly likely you struggle sleeping through the night. It's also likely it's driving you crazy. Take it from this former insomniac there are a couple of things that you can do to change this trend with a little self prioritization and commitment.
I know, I know, you hate me already, but let's be honest the caffeine you think you need is because you don't sleep and you don't sleep because of caffeine. It's worth the struggle to let go of this highly addictive drug. Caffeine destroys your adrenals which are responsible for your body being able to relax. Once your adrenals are shot your hormones are out of whack and quite frankly, nothing will work right. Adrenal fatigue messes with your metabolism and causes you to gain weight, disrupts your internal clock, makes rest difficult and raises anxiety levels that cause panic attacks and heart palpitations. Caffeine is the devil my friends and it's not easy to curb the habit once your hooked but it can be done. Start weaning yourself off to avoid harsh withdrawals and take it slow, but stay with it until you kick it. Try cutting your afternoon caffeine first, particularly since that's what influences your sleep deprivation most. Replace it with fruit for an energy boost and warm decaf tea if you are used to sipping something warm. I promise, it's worth the effort to do this for yourself. Don't allow yourself to believe the lie that you need caffeine to function. Caffeine is killing you my friend, prioritize yourself and your health enough to ditch it for good.
If you are anything like me you probably will be working on something up until the moment you need to go to bed - and then wonder why you can't fall asleep for two hours! Our brains need time to decompress and if we provide ourselves with a consistent and relaxing night routine falling asleep will become second nature to you. Our bodies become conditioned to what we teach them and falling asleep is something you can control. If you create a consistent night routine your body will fall in line and work on your behalf to help you relax. This right here is what I do every night, in the same order. It takes about an hour so I head up to bed about 9:30 each night. At this point my body starts to relax as soon as I turn on the diffuser and sometimes I don't make it to the last steps at all. The key is consistency.
There are a couple of ways you can meditate before bed. When I first started this practice I really enjoyed using a guided meditation or one with binural beats. An extreme simplification of binural beats are frequencies that are different in each ear that cause the listener to hear an undertone that is called a sine wave. In nature sine waves occur in ocean waves and light waves. This tone is subliminal and works within the brain to promote relaxation. For me it feels much like my brain is getting a massage and is exceptionally comforting particularly for someone who spends so much effort noodling on a daily basis. The binural beats helped my brain relax for me, despite my intense thinking habits. By using a meditation that combined binural beats and guided meditation I was able to just follow along with someone elses instructions and focus on slowing my breath and dismissing my thoughts. Before I would know it I was sleeping with my headphones in.
Essential oils trigger an involuntary response in the brain that works much like Pavlov's theory. They affect the body physiologically so when they enter your bloodstream when you inhale them they begin to affect the physical body without any effort on your part. At the same time they illicit a learned response based on the smell when you use the same combination every day. I use doTERRA Serenity and Cedarwood in my bedroom diffuser. It is the only combo I use and I only use it when I am getting ready for bed. As soon as the aroma hits me my body and brain knows it's bedtime and I can feel my body start to relax immediately.
Everyone that knows me has heard me claim that when I began taking doTERRA's Lifelong Vitality supplements my insomnia broke within three days. This is 100% true. By properly nourishing my body I was able to begin to sleep through the night. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies in women 40 plus are one of the biggest causes of their inability to sleep through the night so I would be remiss to write this post without mentioning that the proper nutritional foundation is key. You can read more about the details of adequate nutrition for women in this age group here.
The key to proper sleep is prioritizing it. All to often we allow the demands of life to dictate how we spend our time instead of making ourselves a priority and doing what we need to do for ourselves in order to maintain our best health. Allow yourself one hour a day to perform a nighttime routine, eliminate caffeine that sabotages your body's ability to regulate your sleep and supplement your diet with high quality nutrition that will improve your quality of live overall. You are so worth it!