The Beauty box designed for Women over 40

SLEEP......zzzzzz

February 05, 2020

SLEEP......zzzzzz

Sleep.

We take it for granted until you can't get any and then you really, really know about it. A third of UK adults suffer from sleep issues.

In midlife, anything can interrupt sleep from anxiety, hormone changes or habit.  Then there's shift work, illness and depression which can all add themselves into the mix making sleep a real problem.

Amensty International lists sleep deprivation as a torture and it really is, but many of us struggle to function well without it so what to do?

Well, the Columbia Department of Neurology has studied this in depth and says, "Sleep deprivation is not a specific disease. It is usually the result of other illnesses and life circumstances that can cause its own symptoms and poor health outcomes."  What's more, as we get less sleep it makes us vulnerable to new illnesses and diseases so it's a cycle we need to reverse and fast.

 Experts believe that there are four key causes of sleep deprivation as follows:

1.  SLEEP DISORDER - this is when you have something like insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea (a pause in breathing when you are asleep or shallow breathing).

2.  ILLNESS - we all know that when we have a cold or flu we sleep poorly, but more serious illnesses can also affect sleep such as depression, cancer (yup, that'd keep you awake at night), heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer's are all linked to poor sleep.

3.  AGEING - Once you're over 65 apparently you could sleep poorly.  This can, in part, be linked to any medication you're on so it's important to stay well in midlife.

4.  OTHER FACTORS - A baby in the house, change in routine, house move, menopause - in short any of these can trigger sleep challenges as well.

The key is that if you're feeling sleepy during the day, then you are probably not getting enough sleep at night.  If that's the case, it's worth seeing your doctor but bear in mind that if they give you sleeping tablets, their efficacy can wear off after a few weeks of use so they're only a short term solution.

The experts say there are couple of things that you can do which are proven to help you sleep as follows:

1.  EXERCISE - 20 to 30 minutes of exercise every day, not later than 5 hours before bed is a great way to physically tire your body out.  Any later, and your heart will still be pumping blood quickly around your body and you want this to have slowed by the time you go to bed.

2.  AVOID CERTAIN DRINKS - It's no surprise that you should avoid alcohol and caffeine.  Alcohol may well help you drop off initially, but you may well wake up during the night or wake in the morning not feeling great.  Caffeine is also on the list because it's a stimulant and you don't want to be stimulated before bed.

3.  ROOM TEMPERATURE - Particularly important if you are struggling with the menopause, your bedroom temperature is key to keeping you asleep.  Maybe layer a thin duvet with a bed cover or soft blanket so you've got options once you're in bed.

4.  SEX - there's a theory that sex before sleep sends well being signals to your brain and calms you ready for sleep. 

5.  BLUE LIGHT - The latest information I've seen says that blue light from phones, iPads and laptops might not be the baddie everyone thinks it is, but a real novel is a great way to distract your mind at night from the anxieties of the day.  Pick a happy novel rather than one that is going to challenge your emotions.

6.  HOME REMEDIES - creating a relaxing bedtime routine is a great way to get sleep (which is what the Feb TOYL box is all about) and you can do this at home.  A relaxing bath, clean sheets, clean hair, soothing remedies and off you drift, as safe as a puppy...