There is a strong correlation between how much sleep you get and how stressed you are. It’s a vicious cycle that can cause mental distress and even wreak havoc on your physical well-being. This is especially true for perimenopausal women and beyond.  Your estrogen levels are decreasing and you may be experiencing night sweats, hot flashes, weight gain, anxiety and more.  (hormonal imbalances ) All of which makes it even more difficult to get a good night’s sleep

It’s a well-known fact that people who don’t get enough sleep are lethargic and constantly experiencing an energy slump. This causes irritability, which also makes it hard to fall asleep.

The reverse is also true. When you experience an exorbitant amount of stress during the day, it causes you to lie there awake – and that piles on more stress for the upcoming day.

The Huffington Post conducted a poll recently where they asked people what their #1 stressor was. Lack of sleep was one thing that dominated the results. Stress and a lack of sleep combined can cause you to lose mental clarity and that can put more pressure on your body to perform at less than optimal standards.

So, it’s vital that you learn how to implement stress relief measures that also work to lull you to sleep at night. When you wake up fully refreshed, you’ll be able to tackle the world and anything it throws at you!

Rule #1 – Implement a Bedtime Technology Ban 

If you want to toss and turn and have trouble getting (or staying) awake, just keep your cell phone right by your bed. For some of you, that won’t be a problem – but for many people, it’s become an addiction that disrupts their sleep routine and causes a lack of sleep.

Some people have their computer right beside the bed and the glow of it lights up the room at night. Ditto for notifications that come in on cell phones – sometimes with lights and sometimes with the inclusion of sounds.

Not only is it a physical factor, but it causes a certain amount of mental unrest when you’re constantly checking emails or looking to see who posted what on Facebook.

The physical distraction of the computer glow tricks your body into thinking it’s time for you to be awake. Your body won’t produce the melatonin it needs and help you get (and stay) asleep, so you toss and turn all night.

Technology doesn’t just have to be left out of the bedroom – it needs to be shut down quite awhile before you go to bed. Your mind needs time to disconnect and wind down itself, and it can’t do that if you’re constantly feeding it information.

If you go to bed at 10 PM, try disconnecting around 8:30 PM. Let your stress melt away and your mind relax. This isn’t an easy habit to break, but you’ll be able to implement it – even if you do it in baby steps, such as not taking it in the room with you, but using it right up until bedtime, and gradually creating a routine that’s beneficial for your health.
Rule #2 – Adopt an Aromatherapy Habit

Aromatherapy soothes your mind and body for both sleep and de-stressing. Scents are a powerful element of our lives, and you can use the power of it to help you feel more rested.

Start off by choosing the right scents for you to unwind, let go of the anxiety the day brought, and get a good night’s sleep. You don’t want anything invigorating for bedtime – like peppermint.

That’s a scent that’s perfect to help you start your day – not end it. You want to look for scents that soothe and relax. Here are some possibilities:

  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Jasmine
  • Bergamot
  • Rose
  • Vanilla

What’s the best way to use these to unwind and get better sleep? You have many options when it comes to aromatherapy. You can find scented bath products (if you enjoy a bath before bed). I like to make my own, so I know what’s in them.

You can use candles, diffusers,  and more. Some people like to create or buy a special mist that they can spray on their pillows at night (or put on their wrists) before bed.

Rule #3 – Wind Down Your Day with Exercise

It sounds almost backwards – putting forth extra exertion when you really need to be relaxing and calming down. But that’s just what exercise does for you! Exercise is a great stress reliever because it helps you release endorphins.

That’s why you sometimes hear of athlete’s bragging about their “runner’s high” – because although they may start out fatigued, they hit a point in their regimen where the endorphins are released, and they feel good.

Feeling good is one of the first steps to you being able to sleep well tonight! Your body has probably been tensed and knotted up all day while you were at work. Allowing it to exercise gives you some relief – somewhere to pour all that tension into.

Exercise also helps you sleep better at night. We joke as parents about letting our kids wear themselves out so they’re ready for a good, long nap – but the same goes for us as adults!

When the Huffington Post conducted a poll for people who exercise in terms of how they sleep, they discovered that people who exercise don’t just get more sleep – they get better sleep.

You don’t have to go all out and workout for hours a day.  A good 30 minutes minimum a day is great. If you’re not used to exercising, start out slow and work your way up. You can start off with a simple 10-minute-a-day plan and increase it a bit each week.

Another side effect of exercising to get better sleep and stress less is that you might shed pounds if you’re overweight! Poor sleep makes people gain weight according to recent studies – and stress is a definite factor in consuming too many calories.

Try to exercise after work – plenty of time before bed, but in the evening. If you exercise too close to bedtime and you discover that you still feel restless, just move your exercise up to an early time.
Rule #4   Allow Deep Breathing to Replace Naps

There are some people who get in the habit of taking a daily nap – primarily because they’ve heard that power napping can help them achieve their goals for the day.

This might be true for many people. But if sleep eludes you, then naps could be causing the problem. A 10-minute power nap where you’re basically just shutting your eyes and deep breathing is beneficial.

Going to bed for 2-4 hours in the middle of the day is a recipe for disaster. You’ll never be able to go to bed at a regular bedtime and you’ll lie there frustrated and annoyed that you can’t go to sleep. It’s a hard habit to break.

Try using deep breathing to energize yourself whenever you’re in an afternoon slump. Breathe from your diaphragm and try to watch how often you’re using shallow breaths throughout the day.

Rule #5 Focus on Nutrition for Better Sleep and Less Stress

Foods are one area where what you eat can benefit or damage both your sleep and stress levels. If you want to alleviate stress and get better sleep, you need to limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine and eat foods that will help with both!

That means eating good protein like turkey or lean chicken, salmon, avocados, nuts like almonds or walnuts, and apricots (which soothe your muscles). Regular meals are key, too. You want your blood sugar levels stabilized so that you don’t have to deal with mood swings and energy highs and lows.

As important as all these things are to anyone, it is vitally important to perimenopausal women and beyond.  Once the estrogen in your body decreases, you are more susceptible to Breast Cancer, Heart Disease, and many other diseases and conditions.  Stress is the underlying cause of almost every disease. So NOW is the time to address your stress so that you can get  better sleep and overall health.

Which tips do you already do or will start to incorporate into your life? 

Comment below and let me know.

Want to know if you have a hormonal imbalance? Take this quick quiz.

Are starting to feel the symptoms of Perimenopause?Not sure? Do you have mood swings, anxiety, hot flashes, night sweats,  weight gain and more.  If so, I would love for you to come join a   community of    supportive women as we go through the transitions of life together. Let’s embrace this next phase of life, so that we can have the time of our lives.

Come join our group of amazing womenCLICK HERE for support and relevant information to help you navigate this time of your life.

I know life is busy. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you found the information useful.  Please pass this onto someone who you think may also benefit from this information. ​

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My name is Audrey Dworak. I believe in food as medicine and am a leader in the industry in the areas of Integrative Health and Culinary Nutrition.

I have helped thousands of menopausal women make positive, sustainable changes over the last 30 years to improve their health and wellness.

If you want to learn how to live your healthiest and happiest life, sign up for a coaching session with me. Whatever goals you have, I would love to help you reach them!