“Did you sleep well?” How does it feel when someone asks you that question? Does it sound strange to you? If so, many women in mid-life and above feel that way.
Smart women have devised effective strategies for dealing with sleep. We must do so. It is a fact that most of us don’t sleep well through the night. Sixty-seven percent of adults whose ages lie within 55–85 feel that they’re facing sleep issues, as data from a Gallup Poll reveals.
Thus, it’s time to wake up to the reality that what people usually refer to as “good night’s sleep” has a new meaning after 50 years of age.
It’s common knowledge that we need a minimum of 6 hours of sleep and that 7 or 8 hours is perfect. However, only a handful of us do enjoy enough hours of sleep without any disturbance.
Perhaps, it’s time we embraced a new normal. Most importantly, is it reasonable to keep failing at something that looks impossible? A good night’s sleep could be a couple of hours at the beginning and an excellent finish, in addition to a fruitful middle of the night interlude such as a cool sonata that comprises 3–4 movements.
On reaching mid-life, we would have been at this sleep game for 50 years. However, the majority of us go through a transition in our sleep patterns on reaching menopause and in older years.
In reality, the term “good night’s sleep” should be defined flexibly. Our Smart Fitness watches could state that we’ve had enough sleep, even though we don’t feel truly rested. We don’t need anyone or any device to let us know when we had a restful sleep.
Following good sleep patterns needs discipline, and a lot of us have developed routines which are effective sometimes. However, life unavoidably disrupts things.
We have things weighing on our mind, have raging hormones, don’t always eat right. When we’re on a trip, having a good night’s sleep can be hard. However, when luck shines on us, and we can finally sleep for enough hours, DayLight Savings gets in the way.
When you lose one hour of sleep, you can gain more daylight, and even though that feels worth it, we end up becoming bleary-eyed.
That time we spend awake at the middle of the night cannot be compensated for by recouping the lost hour, since, we are no longer teens. And for most of us, sleeping late is a habit we’ve been used to for four decades.
I conducted a poll involving a couple of friends on the strategies they use for knitting together 7–8 hours of sleep each night. Their response is, they’re all trying out new strategies. What proves effective for some women may not work for others.
Thus, I gathered a range of sleep solutions. You may find this list helpful if you’re awake at the middle of the night, unable to sleep, and are looking for some new strategies to try out.
Below is a menu of sleep strategies that can help you sleep for 7–8 hours:
- Aperitif — you can take a Nip of Whiskey, a belt of Grand Marnier, a smidge of cognac, or a slug of Yellow Spot Irish whiskey. These can serve as soothing warm nightcaps, which will coat your throat and brain with a relaxing flush and put you in the mood to sleep.
- Main course or entrée — get ready for carbo. It’s time to enjoy that pasta. While carbs put us in a sleepy mood during the daytime, going to bed on an empty stomach is a bad recipe for sleep. This is because levels of insulin impact the quality of our sleep. Thus, food rich in carbohydrates can enhance our circadian rhythms.
- Invited Guest — when your thoughts start racing, Headspace is the best solution. I make use of it on planes and in the morning before getting out of bed. Also, I use it when I have a lot of things on my mind and can’t sleep.
- Ambiance — you need a cool room and clean air to sleep. A device such as a ceiling fan that can circulate air is the best equipment to aid sleep. The worst condition to sleep in is a warm room with still air. Unless some kind of air circulation is available (not air conditioning per se), I won’t be able to sleep at all. A bedside fan is perfect.
- Interesting Dialogue — I read mostly at 3 am via my Kindle. My son got the attractive-looking Kindle Voyage for me, and its light is fantastic. It also features WiFi. I am well aware that I shouldn’t be using a “device” in the middle of the night. However, it’s quite useful.
- Dessert — sex and a little romance can be helpful when you can’t sleep. According to research, “sex boosts estrogen levels, enhancing your REM stage and giving you deeper slumber.” Engage in spooning and breathing in sync.
After-party — take drugs in sufficient amounts. We have lots of, whether OTC or scripts. But do this with caution. I’m not really a kind of person that’s cut out for this, but if you’re interested, lots of options are available to select from.
With Gratitude and Love