I had to teach myself how to sleep better.
I was always a great sleeper. My head hit the pillow and I didn’t remember a thing until the alarm went off. (I pre state that with unless the children were poorly or sad, or I woke up and a very cute toddler with a mass of messy blonde hair had come in during the night and crawled in and I woke up to a beaming face full of mischief and mummy cuddles!!)
Anyway back to the sleep…
I was a great sleeper – never needed help. I could fall asleep anywhere. I never remembered a dream which I still think is fairly weird…
That was until I hit 47 and I got menopause and ME in the same year and I thought I was losing my mind! It wasn’t the night sweats (thank goodness) it was the worrying, the constant worrying – family, friends, money – you name it and I worried about it.
The lack of sleep had a profound impact on my ability to cope. Cope with work, family, decisions, pretty much everything! The lack of sleep had a massive impact on my confidence and it pretty much impacted everything in my life!
I put on weight and it kept climbing… I took advice, I read a ton of research and I knew I needed to teach myself how to sleep again.
I tried so hard to stop my head whirring with all kinds of stuff – nonsense really!
I tried the natural remedies, listening to guided meditation at 2am, I tried hypnosis, I tried reading, I’ve tried all types of pillow mist, antihistamines, I switched off all devices by 9pm and always have kept them downstairs on charge in the kitchen. in the end I usually gave up and ended up plodding downstairs at 2am and falling asleep on the sofa watching Law & Order on TV – I know don’t judge me – I was desperate!!
I now get a solid 7- 9 hours – no matter what!
I had the great pleasure of meeting a wonderful woman called Irene Jones who was the amazing childminder when my daughters were tiny and she always said “sleep is just a habit.” Night after night her gems of wisdom resonated…
Sleep is just a habit – remember this as it’s absolutely critical!
Listen I am no expert on sleep, so here are my sleep habits that work for me – I hope one, some, maybe all of them work for you.
- Bedroom window wide open – all year – not just slightly open I mean wide open – I find the coldness helps.
- No heating on in the bedroom.
- One pillow only
- A good pillow.
- Changing the bed linen every week (my White Company addiction continues…)
- Gratitude journaling just before sleep – just 3 things – it really works!
- Only 1 coffee a day and never after 3pm.
- Drink water all day.
- No devices after 9pm
- All devices on charge in another room.
- Never going to sleep without kissing and making up – never go to bed on a row!
- It sounds stupid but go to the toilet just before you go to bed.
- Nothing to drink an hour before bed.
- Eat at least 2 hours before you need to go to bed – I’m not talking early bird supper like an OAP just not after 7pm – if you can.
- Central heating system not set to come on before I want to get up.
Remember it’s just a habit and you have to train YOU to sleep again. The best sleep habits are consistent, healthy routines that allow all of us, regardless of our age, to meet our sleep needs every night, and keep on top of life’s challenges every day.