I have found a new best friend. She was always trying to get me to pay attention to her and to encourage me to spend a good amount of quality time with her. But I neglected her for years, thinking I didn’t need her. feeling that she had the potential to stop me from doing the things I loved and in achieving my goals. She was always there for me when I could give her some of my limited time and she took what she could graciously. Some moments when we parted it was brutal and hard but I use to push through. I always thought she would be there. Until she wasn’t. Her name was Sleep.
O sleep, O gentle sleep,’ I thought gratefully, ‘Nature’s soft nurse!’ Elizabeth Kenny
I was always a great sleeper. I use to brag with pride that I could function on five hours, sometimes with less of sleep. My husband would be in awe. I was invincible. I could manage everything. I was an efficient multi-tasker juggling a number of projects at one time. I maintained this for a couple of decades. Until everything came crashing down.
In 2015 the Black Dog made its home along with a dark grey cloud that seemed to follow me everywhere. I lost my joie de vivre. My joy of living. I was in a job I didn’t enjoy any longer. My life felt toxic on so many levels. The city I had always lived in was fighting back and fighting back hard. I was overworked and didn’t know how to pull the plug. I was scared to stop doing the vast amounts of projects I was doing because I felt that they validated who I was.
It wasn’t until a trip to my doctor for a head cold that I finally broke down and opened up about how sad and hopeless I had found myself. I had lost my smile. After seeing a psychologist and learning strategies to find my way back I started to feel I had some control and the skills to feel happier and content. The biggest change was our move to Brisbane just over two years ago; a month before my 50th birthday. I decided there and then that I would find the balance and serenity I was yearning for. And that’s when I reconnect with my bestie … Sleep.
Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. Thomas Dekker
I started to do a lot of reading and discovered that sleep was essential for weight loss and to prevent the insidious fat gain around the midsection which is unhealthy and can increase your chances of cardiovascular disease, cancer and depression. Headspace, a National Youth Mental Health Foundation quotes on one of their factsheets that, “Good sleep habits have been shown to improve mood, concentration and performance at school or work. They may also help control overeating and help prevent obesity. Lack of sleep is linked to symptoms of depression such as feeling down, hopeless, [and irritablity] ….” Research has proven that sleep helps with the way the body regulates its hormones and keeps all other metabolic functions in tip top shape to keep you healthy. An informative article, How Lack of Sleep Hurts Your Health, also supports the importance of sleep to keep your heart healthy, keep the weight off and provides some important guidelines on how to set up a positive bedtime routine. Most importantly, remember bed is for just sleeping … and sex.
I started to read articles on sleeping and how to improve my sleeping. This became even more imperative as I had gone from hitting the pillow and going out like a light for the entire time I was asleep to one of restlessness and periods of incessant waking. Because of menopause, I found that it was taking me longer to fall asleep and I would constantly wake up throughout the night; feeling hot, to go to the bathroom or just waking for no particular reason. Falling back to sleep was a long arduous haul back into Slumberland. I needed Sleep to be on my side but I felt that after years of neglect the trust was gone. Sleep did not have any faith in me any longer. I was crushed.
If there is anything about me it is determination. I decided to redevelop my relationship with Sleep, to earn her trust again. To prove that I did cherish her and that she was an imperative part of my life. That I couldn’t live without her and that we were partners. After a long 18 months, she now finally trusts me and we are the best of friends. I am sleeping through most nights like a teenager.
My Routine for better sleep
- Go for a walk in the morning to reset my circadian rhythm
- Exercise moderately daily
- Last meal by 7pm and no Protein
- Dim the lights after Dinner
- No electronic devices 60 minutes before bed time
- Drink a sleep tea
- A warm shower or bath
- Read before bed
- Darken the room and keep it cool
My routine for better sleep …
What is your routine to help you get to sleep?
Happy Slumbers to you all. May you all cherish your Best Friends
For more information on sleep refer to: https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/fact-sheets.html
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