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sleep tips for women

Sleep Success Can Be Yours

Feeling tired? Not getting good zzz’s? Its common for women to experience sleep problems as we get older. Lucky for us, Auntie Lisa has some easy-to-follow sleep tips for women.

Insomnia is a common and often debilitating problem for women of our certain age. But exactly what type of insomniac are you? There are two different ways we can look at sleep disturbances:

  • difficulty going to sleep – called Sleep Onset Insomnia
  • difficulty staying asleep – called Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

If one of these rings your bell, you’re in luck. You’re going to learn the first 5 steps to sleep success.

Lack of sleep isn’t a badge of honor to proudly wear as you push yourself through another week of deadlines (#martyr) fueled by Starbucks and Krispy Kreme. 

Lack of quality sleep aggravates stress, leads to weight gain, reduces willpower, and reduces appetite control. Studies suggest that getting less than 8hrs of sleep nightly can affect our metabolic regulation. 

Lack of sleep is truly harmful to our health.

A Word on the Hunger Hormone

So we have this hormone called leptin which signals satiety—and interestingly, it also signals insulin production. If your leptin is suppressed, you not only lose your sense of being full when you eat, but you have disruption in your insulin sensitivity. And can you guess how sleep makes its way into this equation? Sleep suppresses leptin!

How often, after a poor night of sleep, do you find yourself in a dazed fog, reaching for the sugar/fat/salty foods that bring you immediate energy and comfort? (Hello, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!). This is so common as to be considered normal, but in this case, normal isn’t healthy. Particularly if you are already heading down the road towards metabolic syndrome, insulin sensitivity, or diabetes. 

Just four nights of lost sleep will affect your leptin and insulin sensitivity, but studies on mice indicate that even short-term sleep deprivation leads to this kind of stress and burden on our physiology. 

And here’s where it gets super interesting—leptin also plays a role in our gut microbiome. When leptin is decreased, the gut flora communities that are more obesogenic actually increase!

Not Just How You Sleep, But When

This might not be officially part of our five sleep tips for women, but it’s still very important. Sleeping at certain times does you more good than at other times. You might be saying to yourself, “I get eight hours of sleep, I sleep from 1am to 9am so I’m good, right?” 

Wrong. The timing matters. Getting those quality zzz’s between the hours of 10pm and 6am is the goal. Both Ayurvedic medicine and TCM view the hours between 10pm and 3am as crucial for supporting the body’s natural detoxification and rejuvenation processes. In order for that work to get done efficiently, it’s best if we stay out of it. In other words, if we can avoid being awake—doing whatever it is we are prone to do in the middle of the night—to disrupt the process. 

When we were 22, we could no doubt rock the dance floor all night and put our best face on for work the next day. At that age we could get away with it for a while. But at 52? Dolls, if we are determined to live our sass for the next 40 years—yes, it could be that long!—we need to get our asses to bed at a decent hour and get some dadgum sleep!

The 5 Steps to Sleep Success

The following five sleep tips for women can be implemented one at a time until they become an effortless part of your daily sleep hygiene.

Sleep Tip #1: Go Screen Free

At least one hour before bed, turn all your screens off. This is the first step to establishing a new rhythm to your evenings. Play a board game, work on a puzzle, go for a walk, take a bath.

Sleep Tip #2: Soak

Draw a warm or hot bath. Add 1C of Epsom salts and 4-6 drops of lavender EO. Light a candle, dim the lights, close your eyes, and soak away the day’s stress. If you really want to treat yourself like a Queen, invest in a towel warmer … Omg.

Sleep Tip #3: Set Your Sanctuary

Create a nest, a place of beauty and serenity. No TV or food in the bedroom. The only action that should be taking place in the bedroom is sex and seep. Not that you can’t have sex in your kitchen! Go for it! Just don’t bring your kitchen into the bedroom. 

Sleep Tip #4: Supplement

Consider supplementing with passion flower extract, lemon balm tea, or melatonin. Melatonin helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle in the brain and supplementing with 1-3mg is shown to be good for conditions associated with decreased melatonin levels like mood disorders, jet lag … and aging. Melatonin may improve sleep quality and morning alertness in older adults with insomnia. Time-released melatonin is used to treat insomnia in people over 55. When it comes to using supplements, it is important to keep in mind that everyone is unique and will respond differently to different products. Some people sleep really well with melatonin, while others don’t. Proceed with caution and always remember—start low and go slow.  

Sleep Tip #5: Sync

Perhaps the best piece of advice we can offer is to sync your body and brain with the natural rhythms of the sun. Our circadian clocks reset themselves with the first light of day. Synching with the rhythms of the sun and moon are two key components to gently coaxing our bodies into longer and better quality sleep. This in turn sets us up for maximum use of our brain the next day. Undoubtedly the best way to sync is to wake up at the same time each morning. We have more control over the time we wake up and get out of bed than we do over the time we finally fall asleep. Once we set the groove of getting out of bed and making our way to the light first thing in the morning, our biological rhythms will catch up, eventually leading us to feel more tired and ready for sleep in the evening. 

Sleep is one of the three pillars of health according to Ayurveda. It is essential to health, life, and longevity. Sleep on Babes, sleep on. 

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