My ability to get a good night’s sleep has definitely declined over the years. First, there were years of raising young children followed by years of worrying about their well-being and safety as teens/young adults. Add in hot flashes and aging joints, and I found myself waking up every few hours during the night. I have never had trouble falling asleep, but I definitely have had trouble staying asleep. As the years wore on, I found myself cranky, less resilient, and lacking motivation to do just about anything. I got to the point where I felt I needed to address my sleep quality or adverse health effects would soon follow. Here is what I found works for me.
- I stopped focusing on how many times I woke up each night and instead pay attention to how my body felt the next day. I realized that I don’t need 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to feel really great the next day.
- I realized it was important for me to perform a “brain dump” every evening by writing thoughts, tasks, and emotions in a notebook. Now when I wake up in the middle of the night, I am able to fall back to sleep rather quickly since my brain doesn’t start “working overtime”.
- I stopped worrying about getting through the night without the need to use the bathroom. If I need to use the bathroom, I simply get up, use the bathroom, then go back to sleep.
Necessary environmental changes:
- I found a dark room really essential to me staying asleep for longer periods of time. Hello to lined curtains and goodbye to all those bright LED accessory lights which were everywhere.
- Percale sheets, a very lightweight quilt, and the ceiling fan on low speed really do help keep me cooler and mitigate the side effects of hot flashes.
- I had to say goodbye to my beloved firm mattress and opt for a slightly softer mattress that “cushions and supports” my aging joints.
It was a process of trial and error for me to get to where I am now, but I feel so much better about my sleep quality. Do I still wake up in the middle of the night? Absolutely! However, I am able to fall back to sleep relatively quickly and my mood, resiliency, and motivation are all drastically improved. I rarely feel the need for a nap, and I rarely need to rely on caffeine.
Do you wake up alert and energized the next day? Are there steps you can take to improve your sleep quality? Consider sharing what works for you as could benefit someone else who is not happy with their sleep quality.
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