12 Tips To Sleep Better

12 Tips To Sleep Better

12 Tips To Sleep Better.

It’s been one of those weeks. A LOT of women I know have been talking about wanting to sleep better … a few nights of poor sleep, insomnia or something keeping them awake. *frowny face*

And not just my Hormonal Hotties who suffer nasty night sweats

So, I’ve put together my very best list of top tips to sleep better.  Do give them a go. Here they are:-

 

#1 Eat for sleep – try to eat at least 3 hours before bed and don’t eat heavy, rich foods before bed. A high protein snack can be good before going to sleep, especially if it contains magnesium. I like warm drinks made with home-made almond milk.

#2 Avoid alcohol. You might think a nightcap will help you nod off, but it actually disrupts your sleep patterns. Put the Merlot down if you want to sleep better.

#3. Avoid caffeine as well. If you choose to drink coffee, have it in the morning to avoid sleeplessness. AND getting up for a pee, because it’s a bladder irritant.

#4. Figure out your own bedtime routine..it’s not just for kids! It doesn’t have to be bath, snack, bed…it can be whatever works for you as long as it’s relaxing.

#5. Make sure the room is dark. Have no light is coming in from outside through your curtains or blinds. Don’t leave the lights on or have electronic clocks beaming in your face. Seeing what time it actually is can make insomniacs even more anxious.

#6. Avoid watching TV, surfing online, working at your computer or playing on game consoles before bed – it disrupts your natural sleep-wake rhythms. And disturbing TV or movies might keep you awake anyway.

#7. Avoid having deep discussions or arguments before bed if you know you’ll be so hyped up you won’t be able to sleep.

#8. Take regular, gentle exercise to improve your sleep patterns and quality. Don’t do anything really demanding exercise before sleep or you might find it tough to drop off. Relaxing exercises like some yoga poses might actually help you get to sleep.

#9. Keep the room cool, especially if you suffer night sweats. You can try to stay cool with cotton nightwear and a cool flannel by the bedside.

#10. Buy the comfiest mattress and nicest bedding you can afford. A nice mattress is a real help and bedding made from natural fibres can reduce any night sweats.

#11. Calm busy brain. If your day or what you have to do tomorrow is whirring round your head and preventing sleep, find ways to “park it”. Try to do something relaxing in your bedtime routine or write things down to look at tomorrow.

#12. Be wary of taking sleeping pills. Over time they can deplete you of nutrients, they can be habit forming and they can start being less effective anyway. Do your homework before you choose to take them.

 

I hope that helps you sleep better.  Zzzzzzzzz.

Love, Kathy x

10 Signs Of Adrenal Fatigue And What To Do About It

10 Signs Of Adrenal Fatigue And What To Do About It.

10 Signs of Adrenal Fatigue and What To Do About It

 

10 Signs Of Adrenal Fatigue and What TO Do About It.

Hey lady, I recognise YOU.

Yes, YOU.

You’re the partner/mother/friend/worker/helper/student/carer/cook/cleaner/taxi driver/party-animal/hostess-with-the-mostess/*pile on MORE here*.

You’re busy. Super efficient. Zipping here and popping there. Always giving. Hardly ever complaining.

You ARE Superwomen…pants over the tights and everything.

And YOU are EXHAUSTED. STRESSED.

Too busy to look after yourself, huh?

It’s only a bit of weight gain.  Sure, it’s normal to be a bit forgetful once you’re in your 30s or more, right?  You’re not really a sugar-addict. 

You’re FINE (Fecked Up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional? )

Let’s just check that you’re not TOO stressed. Let’s take a look at your adrenal glands.

Let’s look for signs of adrenal fatigue.

 

A Lickedy-Spit UNBORING Biology Lesson

If you’ve been busy and stressed for a long time, your poor old bod has been flat out. Flat out producing hormones like cortisol (the stress hormone) and other “up” hormones.

Your poor adrenals have been flat out.  Two glands that look like squished apricots.  They sit on top of your kidneys.

Adrenals give out hormones that affect energy, blood chemistry and more.

Adrenals are also important to our reactions to stress.

Speeding up our heart rate. Raising blood pressure. Narrowing blood vessels. Boosting blood sugar.

ALL so that we can do the fight or flight thing.  If a Woolly Mammoth was going to eat us.  Mother Nature designed us so that we could be ready when danger was near.

 

Woolly Mammoths

BUT I’ve had similar feelings.  When I was responsible for millions of pounds, hundreds of people and important projects with looming deadlines.  A “danger” that never went away.

And when such dangers are constant, our bodies are in “fear” mode all the time.  Our hormones are haywire.  We risk adrenal fatigue.  Mine got zonked.

Constant stress causes high levels of the stress hormone cortisol too.  Cortisol helps balance blood sugar.  It regulates inflammation in the body. It’s important for how our cells and muscles work.

But you can have too much of a good thing.

High cortisol can lead to weight gain, forgetfulness, sugar cravings, dry skin and much more.  Sound familiar?

And over time, the delicate balance gets out of whack.

When adrenal hormones get out of whack, other hormones can get out of whack.  It can affect your cycle, fertility, thyroid function and much more.

So how do you know when you have adrenal fatigue?

 

10 Possible Signs Of Adrenal Fatigue

These are common signs and symptoms:-

 

  • Constant tiredness, especially after exercise (if you can be bothered).  Or even trying to get out of bed.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Low metabolism and/or low thyroid.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Low immune system and catching coughs, colds and ‘flu.
  • Irregular periods with sore/lumpy breasts.  Also lack of ovulation and difficulty falling pregnant. 
  • Allergies and/or asthma.
  • Depression. 
  • Trouble handling stress and coping with life. 
  • Dark patches, freckles and darkening of the skin. 

If you have any or all of the signs, see your Doctor. They will be able to help diagnose with tests.

But what can you do to help yourself?

Self Care For Adrenal Fatigue

AVOID LIKE A PLAGUE

  • More stress, obvs.
  • Stimulants – yes please quit the caffeine…coffee, tea, chocolate, caffeinated drinks. And cut back on the booze.
  • Sugar and refined carbs because they send your blood sugar, energy and moods on a rollercoaster.
  • Processed foods, non-organic meats and dairy – basically avoid chemicals, added hormones and GMO.

WHAT TO DO

  • Manage stress and busy-ness. Get support or help. Exercise. Meditate. Get creative. Grab “me time”. Do whatever it takes.
  • Get enough rest and sleep.  They are not the same thing.  BOTH are important.
  • Eat for nutrition. Plenty of veggies and fruits, good fats, good quality protein, complex carbs. And stay well hydrated.
  • Take the best quality multivitamin and mineral complex you can afford. You get what you pay for. See a nutritional therapist for specific advice to you.

 

Lovely lady, if ANY of this sounds like you, STOP. Right now. You’re not fine, you’re F.I.N.E

Speak with your Doctor for a diagnosis and start with some super self-care. Today.

Love, Kathy x

Totally HOT in Bed? 6 Tips To Reduce Night Sweats

Night sweats

Totally Hot in Bed?

Well ARE you?

I don’t mean are you a Sexy Siren or Saucy Seductress. NO.  That’s so not what I mean.

I mean, do you feel really hot at night?  Do you get all icky and sticky? Throw off the covers or shove your feet out of the bed? Your sleep is broken by being too bloomin’ hot?  Which means feeling tired and terrible the next day, and the next …

Some women naturally have a higher body temperature.

Some women suffer night sweats during perimenopause and menopause.

Some women notice they’re sweatier in pregnancy – related to hormone changes.

Some women feel hotter in bed just before their period, when progesterone drops.

Some women might feel hot at night occasionally: often there’s a trigger, like drinking alcohol or coming down with a cold.

If you’re a PeriMenopausal Princess there are ways to reduce hot flushes and night sweats.  For those who aren’t at that life stage, look at other possible causes.

But whatever the reasons behind night sweats, there are some self-care steps for a better – and cooler- night’s rest.

6 Tips To Stay Cool and Help Manage Night Sweats

1. Cool down the room.

Switch off or turn down the heating. Open a window and the door. Obvs.

2. Cool down the bed.

Keep it clean: this is a family show! I mean switch to a lighter duvet or remove some layers of blankets. Choose natural fibres like cotton for your bedding.

3. Stay cool

If you like to bathe, shower or wash before bed, try having a cool one. A hot bath before bed might be lush, but it won’t help the nasty night sweats.

4. Don’t lose your cool 

Stress and emotional upsets boosts adrenaline which can lead to sweating.  Reduce the sources of stress in your life.  Learn which coping techniques work for you – I love yoga, journaling, walking in the countryside, pamper time, talking things through…

5. Dress cool

Wear thin night clothes in natural fibres, like cotton. Or wear your *ahem* “birthday suit” ?

6. Think cool drinks

Stay hydrated with cool filtered or spring water.  Not too much – you don’t want sleep broken by loads of trips to the loo! Avoid hot drinks and alcohol before bed.

 

So there you have it.  Whatever the reason for your night sweats, 6 easy steps to help keep cool for a better night’s rest.

If you loved this blog you might also love Hot and Heaving (aka Dealing with Night Sweats) and 5 Things to Stop to Reduce Hot Flushes.

Love, Kathy x

Hot & heaving? Or “Dealing with night sweats.’

Hot and heaving or night sweats

Hot and Heaving…

‘ She tore back the bed sheets, soaked from hot beads of sweat trickling over her, her body heaving and heart beating out of her ample bosom.  She was spent.

Her head was swimming from another night without sleep … another restless night, thrashing around in bed.

She looked over at the man beside her.

“Deirdre” he whispered. “are you having one of your funny turns again, love?” as she reached into the bedside drawer for a fresh nightie. ‘

Yep, for many gorgeous girls, that’s NOT sexy-time from Mills and Boon but a pretty good picture of another night of …

…night sweats and very little sleep.

I was going to say “menopause night sweats” BUT…

…many women suffer night sweats and they AREN’T perimenopausal or menopausal.

Or some women are perimenopausal or menopausal and the night sweats aren’t REALLY due to hormones.  Although it’s common.

Some perimenopausal and menopausal don’t wake often and aren’t sweating in bed. Me. I’m one.

SAY WHAT?!

Are you waking with night sweats?

Okay. You’re waking during the night and you’re sweating.

Ask yourself, did I wake because I’m sweating.

Or did I wake up and START sweating?

Subtle difference, but important difference.

Menopause Night Sweats

If you’re woken by sweating, you’re in your 40s or 50s and have other signs of menopause, it’s  likely the sweats are linked to hormones changes i.e. less oestrogen.  These are similar to hot flushes that you may get during the day.

They can be uncomfortable, embarrassing and wreck your sleep.  They can also wreck your partner’s ability to rest. Double bummer.

In a moment, I’ll share some top tips for dealing with the nasty night sweats.

If you start sweating after you’ve woken up, there may be other things going on.  Again more of that later.

Managing Menopause Night Sweats

Here are my top tips for reducing menopause night sweats:-

1.  Eat Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils …

Yes, eat at least one portion of beans, chickpeas, lentils or flaxseeds daily AND some leafy greens or broccoli. A portion is a couple of ounces  or 50 grams. They contain nutrients called phytoestrogens which help balance hormones. Get the skinny on these hormone-helping nutrients right here.

2. Black Cohosh

Black WHAT?

Black Cohosh is a herb.

There are studies that show it helps relieve menopause hot flushes and night sweats.  Scientists know that it doesn’t boost oestrogen level (the aim of HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy, with it’s slightly increased risk of certain cancers): it stimulates oestrogen receptors in the body.

As with all herbs, be a little bit careful:-

  • Check you are not sensitive to it.  If you are, you should be able to tolerate homeopathically prepared Black Cohosh, which is dilute.
  • Check with your Doctor that herbs are not messing with any other medications and treatments you are taking.
  • Buy organic from a good source.  The best you can afford, as you get what you pay for.
  • Don’t exceed the recommended dose.
  • If in doubt, see a trained Medical Herbalist.

3. Exercise

Yes, regular, gentle exercise can help reduce hot flushes and night sweats according to some experts. It’s also useful for weight management, mental health, bone and joint health and your sex-life. LOTS of good reasons  to start moving your body you Marvellous and Mature Mavens.

Variety is important.  Choose from brisk walking, dancing, swimming, cycling for heart health and to support weight management.  Even bopping around your Living Room singing into a hairbrush and making like Madonna is good… if you do it regularly and for at least 3o minutes.

Choose weight bearing exercise for bone and joint health, like using weights, lunges/squats/press ups or any domestic chores that mean lifting or digging. Yes, decluttering that spare room IS good for your health in so many ways!

Choose relaxing and energising activities like yoga, Pilates, qi gong to help reduce stress, improve breathing and oxygen flow and to increase energy. Ommmm.

4.  Reduce Known Triggers

Work out what triggers or makes worse the flushes and sweats.  Common triggers include smoking, alcohol, sugar in all it’s forms and sugar substitutes, spicy foods and caffeine. If you’re not sure what to do, take a look here.

Help. I’m not Menopausal but I wake up and sweat at night.

Night sweats can be caused by a number of things aside from menopause in women AND even men.

Usually, there’s a simple trigger.  Unexplained and persistent night sweats should be reported to your Doctor, however. Sweating can be a sign of more serious problems in rare cases. Here’s some other common causes of night sweats.  It’s not a complete list :-

  • Stress – we know that stress leads to increased stress hormones and the body’s “fight or flight response”? Well, increased sweating can be linked to the stress response.
  • Medications – some over the counter and prescribed drugs can lead to increased sweating including aspirin, steroids, antidepressants and blood pressure meds. Speak to your Doctor if you think your medications are causing side-effects.
  • Alcohol and recreational drugs – yes, these too can result in waking, feeling really hot and sweaty.
  • Other illness – sweating can be a sign of infections like colds or ‘flu.
  • Menstrual cycle -many women notice an increase in body temperature just before her period starts, when the hormone progesterone drops.
  • Increased sweating/excessive sweating – you know, some people just naturally sweat more than others.

Whether you’re perimenopausal and perspiring or there are other triggers for your night sweats, there are some simple self-care steps that can really make a difference.

And that’s a subject for yet another beaut blog.

Love, Kathy x

Insomnia – are your hormones to blame, ladies?

insomnia- are your hormones to blame, ladies?

Can’t sleep?

What would you do for a good night’s sleep?

Counted millions of sheep and still can’t nod off?  Wakeful and weary?  The alarm goes off and you want to hurl it through the window to hide under the duvet?

You’ve blamed sleepless nights on the stress of life, busy brain, last night’s sirloin steak and Shiraz, it’s too hot/cold/light …delete as appropriate.

You’ve even become resigned to your insomnia.

Have you ever stopped to think that it could be hormones?  Don’t face-palm and think there’s no hope left for The Land of Nod.

Haywire hormones can be the result of insomnia, as well as the cause of insomnia.  No really, still no need to face-palm. There are some simple steps you can take to help get some restful sleep.

5 Ways Hormones Can Cause Insomnia

#1 Light and Melatonin

As the sun sets, the pineal gland in your brain starts to release the sleep hormone, Melatonin. It needs darkness to work.  That means natural and artificial light affects it’s release. Result? It could mean another no-kip night for you.

 

#2 Adrenal Fatigue

Those little glands above your kidneys are responsible for blood sugar levels and sexual development BUT are best known for producing adrenaline and cortisol, the STRESS hormones. Eek.

When your poor old adrenals are under constant pressure from life stress, they can become overworked and tired.  You might have heard it called  “adrenal fatigue”? One of the many symptoms is insomnia.

Adrenal over-drive isn’t so common. It’s when your adrenals pump out cortisol at a constant level all day – result? Insomnia.  Usually adrenals release less cortisol as the day goes on.

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#3 Premenstrual Insomnia

Premenstrual insomnia is linked with a drop in the hormone progesterone just before your period. It’s a sedative hormone.

If the drop is gradual, your sleep might be a troubled. If it drops dramatically, you’ll be wide awake at 3am staring at the ceiling.

 

#4 Perimenopause

Perimenopause usually starts around age 40 but can be later. Your ovaries start slowing down production of oestrogen and progesterone, and both promote sleep. Whoopy do. And so falling asleep can seem like the impossible dream …pardon the pun.

 

#5 Menopause

Menopause naturally occurs between 40 and 55 usually. Haywire oestrogen and progesterone levels can start waking you up at night. AND you can also get nasty night sweats that keep you awake. Double whammy.

And if you thought things must get better post menopause, think again. Some suffer low thyroid function after menopause. Low thyroid leads to weight gain. Weight gain can lead to snoring and disrupted breathing in sleep called “sleep apnea”.

 

So now you’re wondering, what the heck can I do to get some sleep with haywire hormones?  Here’s my 8 top tips.

8 Tips for Better Sleep and Hormonal Harmony

1. Switch off all your gadgets and geekery AT LEAST one hour before bedtime. The lights from your TV, computer, tablet and smart phone affect melatonin production.

2. Make your bedroom an oasis of calm – dark curtains or blinds to block out light, not too hot or cold, natural fibre bed linen, de-cluttered and inviting. Wear light, natural fibre sleep wear.

3. Create a healthy bedtime routine – they’re not just for kids! Perhaps include a warm bath with relaxing essential oils like Lavender and Chamomile?

4. Choose sleep inducing foods in the evening. Don’t put pressure on your digestive system with heavy or rich foods too near bedtime.

Include sleep-promoting foods in your bedtime routine.  Foods with the sleep-promoting amino acid Tryptophan can help sleep. Carbs make Tryptophan more available to the brain which is why you want to nod off at work after you’ve snarfed a big, old sandwich and crisps or a pasta salad.

A good snack would contain good quality i.e unrefined carbs and protein e.g. an oat cake with almond nut butter. Tryptophan rich foods include chia seeds, turkey, sunflower seeds.

5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine makes you wired not tired, Alcohol is a sleep thief not a sedative. Chucking back Chardonnay might help you relax, but it interferes with sleep patterns.

A better night-time drink would be my Chamomile Milk

6. Eat a hormone-helping diet – basically plenty of plant-based foods, high fibre, good fats, high quality protein, unprocessed and “clean”.  Don’t leave it until the M word (Menopause) hits; start your hormone friendly diet as early as you can.

7. Take regular, gentle exercise for weight management, strength and flexibility and for tiring out your body. BUT not in the evenings just before bed – being “pumped” won’t promote sleep. Choose an activity that promotes rest and relaxation too, such a yoga, pilates or qi gong to beat some of the strain of modern living.

8. Find stress-busting techniques to balance your busy life.  Find time for yourself to relax and unwind and breathe easily. Choose activities that you will really enjoy – a nice bath, reading, gentle exercise, meditation, walking in nature… ommmmmmmm.

Of course, if your symptoms worsen, carry on or worry you, see a Doctor for diagnosis.

So hormones can cause insomnia – who knew?

Love, Kathy x