5 Things you Need to Know about Sleep at Midlife.

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Sleep! All I want to do is sleep! Zzzzzz

Why is it so damn hard to get a good night’s sleep?

Nearly all of my clients have sleep issues of some kind! Is this you too?

  • Maybe you can’t get to sleep…
  • Maybe you can’t stay asleep…
  • Maybe your startle response is so keen that you’re wide eyed at the slightest rustle of the sheets!

It’s agony. We all know sleep deprivation is a form of torture!

And… ladies, you thought you were done with that when your kids finally started sleeping!

So what 5 things do you need to know about poor sleep?

1. What causes poor sleep at midlife

The 3 biggest things causes, based on my research, of insomnia in our 40s & 50s are:

  1. Poor blood sugar regulation (hint alcohol and chocolate may be culprits here)
  2. Stress and elevated cortisol levels (AKA wired and tired)
  3. Emotional suppression (e.g. anger bubbling under the surface)
All of these can cause night sweats!

Some of my clients choose to take synthetic estrogen and it may help because its anti-inflammatory but it doesn’t address the root cause…

… and that’s a problem because all of the above can cause or contribute to cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases. Like one of my clients who got initial relief but started putting on weight for no reason. That’s not good!

So what would you rather do? Put a sticker over your low fuel light on your dashboard, or fill her up with petrol?

2. What contributes to poor sleep at midlife

To get sleep back on track do a little self-audit on the following:

  • Is my phone right next to my bed and my hand (in other words am I checking it during the night)?
  • What am I doing the hour before bed-time?
  • Is my room dark enough?
  • Have I thought about ear plugs or eye masks?
  • Are the bed covers making me too hot?
  • Are the sheets synthetic?
  • Are my pyjamas synthetic?
  • How late did I eat?
  • How noisy is my bed partner (maybe they need to see a naturopath!)?
  • How much alcohol did I drink?
  • How emotional do I feel most of the time?

Many of these small things can make a difference to your biochemistry and your sleep. One of my clients, moved her phone away from the bed so she wouldn’t be tempted to check the time (and everything else!) and it helped her!

3. Assessment Tools that might be Helpful?

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Iridology is a natural medicine assessment technique where patterns, colours, and other characteristics of the iris are examined to determine information about a patient’s genetic history and systemic health. This is just one of the tools I use to collate information on what might be leading to insomnia.

My client, Ellen, is a great example. Her iris indicated a type that we call “anxiety tetanic”. This iris type tends to be a worrier. They struggle with tension and cramps in their bodies and they hold everything in, particularly in the gut area. This was Ellen to a tee! So I gave her relaxing herbs that also affected the enteric nervous system (the nerves that go to the gut area), I gave her extra calcium and magnesium and I also gave her some techniques to practice at meal times to help her digest her food. It worked a treat!

What iridology can be reveal:

  • Inherent strength and weakness of organs, tissue and glands.
  • Constitutional strength or weakness.
  • Which organs are in the greatest need of repair and rebuilding.
  • The relative amount of toxic settlement in the organs and glands.
  • The stage of tissue inflammation and activity.
  • Under activity or sluggishness of the bowel.
  • The primary nutritional needs of the body.
  • Lymphatic-system congestion.

Other assessment tools that can be helpful include:

  • Pathology testing – for inflammation for example
  • Live & dried blood for the state of the biological terrain
  • Urine testing for glucose or pH
  • Mood and stress questionnaire to evaluate stress levels
  • and many others

4. Food is DIRECTLY correlated with Sleep?

Without adequate calcium and magnesium your muscles can’t relax…

Without adequate protein your blood sugars will be all over the place…

Without the right fats your hormones will be out of whack…

With too many stimulants and liver toxins you’ll be awake at 2am, sweaty and/or alert.

Too often we assume our diet is “healthy” and rule out the impact it can have on something like sleep. But it’s the place to start. Its where your best results will come from. It’s the primary source of physical wellbeing.

I am testimony to this. Recently I’ve changed my diet to better suit my biology and I have been sleeping well from 9.30PM through to 5.30AM except for a pee or two! It’s simple but not easy.

5. Things you can do to Improve Sleep

Here are 5 simple suggestions to get you started:

  1. Eat (or drink) no later than 8PM and no earlier than 8am. Avoid stimulants including chocolate completely or at least keep them to before 12PM.
  2. Set your bedroom up according to good sleep hygiene practices. Remove clutter, darken the light, leave your phone further than arms distance away.
  3. Do a yoga class at night to reduce cortisol levels. Don’t over exercise as bootcamp style exercise can raise your cortisol levels even though it may initially feel good.
  4. Do some emotional work. See a coach or counsellor, pound a pillow or practice techniques that teach you embodiment.
  5. Build a relationship with a good naturopath! It should be a lifelong relationship.

If you are someone who can’t sleep, or can’t sleep well, my heart goes out to you. It really is awful and it’s damn hard to sort out. Often we through up our hands in resignation and resort to something chemical.

But, don’t give up. It can be sorted out. You can find a way if you just stick at it. If I can help you, please get in touch.

Thank you and good night!

Brenda Rogers

Brenda Rogers a natural medicine expert specialising in menopause and midlife wellbeing. She’s passionate about working with the new generation of women who are creating an empowering new paradigm for what mid-life looks like – women as powerful ambassadors for the wisdom of middle age.

Brenda helps women who want to transition gracefully through menopause and into the best years of their life to become the steady, calm woman who doesn’t get riled by anything and celebrates all of who she is. 

Instead of struggling with weight gain, sleeplessness and chaotic emotions she supports women through their amazing transition to reenergise and centre themselves so they can regain healthy weight, soothe their raging emotions and get a full night’s sleep every night. Then they can save the world!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/qwomenshealth/

Website: www.qwomen.com.au

Email: brenda@qwomen.com.au

Brenda Rogers

With over 25 years experience as a corporate trainer, naturopath, yoga teacher and wise woman educator, Brenda is the head clinician and coach at Quintessence Health.

"A healthy mind and body simply ensures you have the time and energy to fully express and manifest your life’s purpose – it facilitates the unfolding of joy."

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