It’d be shallow of me to suggest it was all in the sheets, sleep can feel like the most complex of activities if you’re experiencing stress, menopausal symptoms or life challenges. But there are things you can do to help your body switch off when the lights go out.
What do I know, you may ask. Well, good question. Being a certified health coach aside, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I’m not sure I slept for weeks. I definitely didn’t sleep whilst I was waiting for test results and the like. Instead, to keep the crazy at bay, I redecorated my whole house through the night, every night for weeks. The poor walls were creaking with layers of paint but it’s what I needed to do to get through.
As soon as I realised my body was struggling even more due to lack of sleep, I started to care about what that meant. At the time, lack of sleep meant my chemo wouldn’t work as well as I wasn’t letting my body do its natural detox throughout the night. It meant that my recovery from surgery would be longer. And most importantly, it meant that my emotional resilience would be severely compromised. Lack of sleep is used as a form of torture for good reason.
As none of those were very appealing, here’s what I did then and I still do now. And it does involve good sheets.
- I stop eating at least two hours before I go to bed. I want to give my body the best chance to get on with detoxing, rather than digesting food I’ve just eaten.
- I stay hydrated throughout the day but stop drinking water at about 7/8pm so I’m not up in the night needing to pee.
- I know I should stop screen stuff, TV, laptop etc a few hours before bed, but I find that hard. If I get inspiration to write after hours I’m not going to fight it. Instead, if I’ve been working late, I’ll keep a notepad next to my bed and if I have things spinning around that need to get out, I write them down so I can get back to sleep.
- I always have a window open, regardless of the weather as fresh air keeps the room cool.
- If I remember, I’ll burn some lavender before bed.
- If the mood takes me, I’ll have a bubble bath before bed too.
- I love good sheets. They do make a difference (for me). It’s like buying a cashmere jumper that’s eye wateringly expensive but lasts for years, I take the same view with sheets. Our beds are where we rest, recuperate, where we make love, and dream our best dreams. I like to do that with good cotton or linen next to my skin. It has a relaxing effect (I think you’d call that a placebo).
- Lastly, I supplement my food with magnesium (stops the fidgety leg syndrome especially felt in menopause), pro biotics and fish oil omega 3. I like to think it all helps.