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Welcome to one more topic in our series all about Life in our 40’s! Dr. Dave is back today to chat with us about SLEEP! Though sleep is important at every stage of life, it seems that most of my friends start to struggle with their sleep in their 40’s. Add the holidays to that, (AND A PUPPY!) and you might just have some challenging nights on your hands. (just ask us :))
Anyways, we tried to keep this one short, because YOU ARE BUSY. (And probably a bit sleepy too!) Also you might notice the sun was going down even as we spoke, haha. (Thanks Dave for doing this video after a long day at work!) With all of this, we didn’t get to cover all of the information which we had hoped to, so, find a few additional notes below the video!
Hope you enjoy…
** Sleep affects your health: Long term, short-term, and research shows that it even affects how long you will live.
** Sleep affects: Brain function, physical health, and your immune system.
** Sleep gets more challenging in your 40’s because:
- Hormonal changes. If you are in menopause, hot flashes are likely to wake you. This can be really frustrating, and if it is a serious issue for you, your doctor may suggest Hormone Replacement Therapy or an anti-depressant for a short time to help. Other suggestions include: sleep in a cool room, wear layers, and use light blankets. You might also keep a washcloth in a bowl with ice so if you wake up sweating you can cool yourself quickly.
- Even if you are not experiencing hot flashes, as you near menopause, a decrease in the hormone progesterone (which affects your sleep cycle) may cause changes in your sleep pattern. If you’re (like me) waking at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, you are normal. If it becomes a serious problem, see your doctor.
- Typically life in our 40’s is just more stressful. Stress may be related to: more work, more busyness, and generally more on your mind. Be good to yourself, and try not to get anxious. Give yourself plenty of hours to sleep so that if your sleep is interrupted, you might still end up with a decent night sleep.
** Some people may have more serious sleep issues. If so, doctors may refer you to a Sleep Lab where they will do a Sleep Study. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common issue Dave sees in the hospital. Sleep apnea can be very serious, but there are treatments for it, so it is important to get checked out if you think you (or your spouse) may be dealing with that.
Bottom line: See a doctor if you feel you have a serious sleep problem.
** Taking steps to ensure a good night’s sleep is helpful. Have a regular bedtime. Quiet noises and make the room dark. No devices or electronics 30-60 minutes before bed. (Also: Puppies are not good for sleep health. ;))
** Develop a consistent bedtime routine. Quieting your mind with a cup of tea and some reading or soft music can help. Take a warm bath, or make time to slow down before bed. Keeping paper by your bedside so if you wake up with a lot on your mind you might jot down your thoughts so you can forget them and fall asleep. Other suggestions for preparing to sleep: essential oils, scented lotions, stretching, yoga or meditation.
** Sleep aids? Some people find Melatonin to be helpful. It is an over-the-counter sleep aid which is supposed to help your sleep cycle (“circadian rhythm.) Other natural sleep aids are also available. (share in comments if you have found something helpful!) There are also prescription sleep medications available if you have serious sleep problems. These may have side effects or risks of dependency, but talk to your doctor if you think you need something.
**FITBITS and sleep trackers: I love that my new FitBit tracks my sleep and shows me a graph of my sleep cycle every morning! It is super interesting, and it has motivated me to get into bed earlier and set goals for better sleep. Here’s a link to my fit bit on Amazon: Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Plum, Small (US Version) (<– great Christmas gift, BTW. *amazon affiliate link, thanks!)
Friends, this is a huge topic!! We really just scratched the surface here, but hopefully this video has reminded you all to make sleep a priority in your life!! Take care of yourself during the holidays, and always.
COMMENT below! I’m super curious how much sleep (on average) you get at night!? Also, if you struggle with sleep, or if you have found some helpful tips or tricks to help you fall asleep and sleep through the night, please share!
Monica and Dr.Dave
PS If you think your friends might find this post helpful, please use the social media share buttons to pass it along! Thank you! 😉