The full moon does it to me almost every month. And so do those dang hormones! Last week, both of them were messing with my zzzz’s….
Poor sleep or lack of sleep, whether we want to admit it or not, makes us drag through the day grumpy, starving, craving sugar and caffeine, while unable to focus. What seems like the solution is often just an escape or quick fix, not the real answer to our problem.
Realizing this is a big issue for many people, a session with a client of mine on this topic became the inspiration for this blog. I will call her Sarah for the purpose of this story. Sarah had pretty much resigned to the thought that sleep is something she can’t control. In other words, she was decidedly doomed to never sleep more than six hours a night no matter what, and it’s usually more like four.
On this particular session, we got to talking about how she gets sick of cooking because she doesn’t have the energy, implying that cooking was contributing to her exhaustion. As she said the words, she paused, and then it suddenly dawned on her. Her face lit up as she realized that the cooking wasn’t making her tired. Rather she was already tired, and then cooking became more of a dreaded chore, the last straw if you will. So, she was resenting cooking when really the problem was something else.
Sarah then started sharing with me all the reasons why she was so tired. Here’s what was happening: she was staying up late, until one or two o’clock in the morning, so that she could have uninterrupted, private, quiet time to do whatever she wanted with no one looking over her shoulder. Not the first time I’d heard this from a client…..
With Sarah, instead of changing her diet or giving her homework on what to eat or not to eat, she left with the task of finding that cherished “me time” during the day or early evening. A big task, but one that sends a powerful message and will trickle down to whats she eating.
There are many reasons for insufficient sleep or sleep disturbance – like chronic pain, hormonal changes, adrenal fatigue, racing brain, anxiety, sleep apnea, blood sugar – just to name a few. Even hidden food sensitivities can lead to insomnia and sleep apnea. Years ago, food intolerances were the culprit with my daughter who rarely slept and kept us up all night long. In addition to her little finger poking my shoulder hour after hour, I was living with horrible chronic pain that woke me up and made it difficult to get comfortable in bed.
Whether you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or going back to sleep after rousing, here are a few tips for inducing a more restful restorative sleep so you can wake up and bounce out of bed with empowering energy, minimal cravings and crystal clear focus:
- Decide what time you ideally want to fall asleep.
- Unplug from all media – cell phone, computer, iPads, and TV one hour before “bedtime”
- Move into your bedroom at least a half an hour before your decided bedtime.
- Set the stage for going to bed by dimming the lights and listening to a sound machine or soft music. Check out some guided meditation on iTunes
- Stop drinking all liquids even water at least one hour before going to bed
- If you drink alcohol, do it early in the evening and be sure stop two hours before bedtime because even just a little can cause sleep disturbances.
- Don’t have caffeine after two o’clock in the afternoon
- Before getting into bed, take a hot bath or shower.
- Clear your mind by journaling and creating a to do list for the following day
- Find your unique food triggers, everyone has them, that lead to sleep disturbances