Thank you to @MedIQCME, supported by an Eisai grant. All opinions are my own.
I don’t know about you, but after I hit 40, my sleep went from ok to worse. I’ve suffered from insomnia on and off since my 20s and have struggled to get back to good sleep.
I sat in on a conversation a few weeks ago with Med IQ and learned more about sleep, insomnia, how women over 40 are at the mercy of their hormones sometimes when it comes to getting good sleep and sleep hygiene tips.
I’m sharing them with you today.
So what exactly is insomnia?
Insomnia is typically defined as having problems sleeping 3 nights a week for 3 months or longer. Symptoms of insomnia can include trouble falling asleep or more commonly ( like me) have trouble STAYING asleep.
The National Sleep Foundation found that about ? of the population suffers from insomnia occasionally, while 10% to 15% suffers from chronic insomnia. The problem is more common in women than men as we age due to hormones associated with perimenopause and menopause.
Which is unfortunate because Sleep is a necessary aspect of life!
Sleep is the time when your body rests, rejuvenates and repairs. If your body doesn’t get enough sleep, the health ramifications can be far reaching. This can include everything from accidents, to irritability, to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression.
So how do we get better sleep?
Before you see your dr, examine your sleep hygiene habits. I know I have a bedtime routine that I TRY to follow, but I’m going to incorporate some of these tips too.
1. Aim to Wake up and go to bed at the same time everyday.
Even on the weekends! It’s impossible for your body to get used to a good sleep routine if you are constantly waking up at different times. It’s so tempting to sleep in on the weekends, but stick to it!
2.Eliminate caffeine at least 12 hours before bedtime.
THIS ONE IS HARD!
But remember that caffeine is a stimulant. Everyone is different but keep in mind it takes time for your body to clear the caffeine.
3. Save High Intensity exercise for earlier in the day!
If you are going to exercise later in the afternoon, light exercise, such as a walk, 2-3 hours before bedtime is best.
4.Treat the 1-2 hours before bedtime as “sleep sacred” .
This time should be dedicated to helping your brain settle down. Consider dimming the lights,taking a bath or some other relaxing activity.
5. No TV, Ipad or computer before bedtime
These devices can make it hard to wind down, and the light from them can also suppress your natural melatonin production. Try to disconnect AT LEAST 30 minutes before going to bed.
You may not be able to get through all of these everyday and that’s ok!
But you can be consistent and try to incorporate more and more sleep hygiene into your life. If sleep problems persist, seek a sleep specialist, a sleep center , or another healthcare provider.
Ask about their experience because not all sleep specialists specialize in insomnia. Don’t be afraid to speak up to get the treatments that you need!
And finally, if all else fails, there are medications available to help.
This includes a new category of medications that have fewer and smaller negative effects on cognitive and physical performance and less next-day impairment that occurs with many of the other medications available at this time.
These newer medications target the receptor in your brains that causes middle of the night wakefulness.
Hopefully something I’ve said today helps you start to get better sleep. It may be as simple as starting a bedtime routine or eliminating that 4pm cup of coffee or turning off your devices before bed.
If all else fails, remember to talk to your Doctor! Because sleep is sacred, and we all deserve good sleep.
Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate.
Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with insomnia and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives.
Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 5 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will not be sold, kept, or stored; email addresses are used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize.
CLICK HERE to start the survey