Happy summer! We’re taking the next few weeks off to relax and regroup. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this favorite post from the past year or so. Let us know! — ♥️ Jennifer + Sheryl
How are you sleeping lately?
🥱 I can’t fall asleep.
😪 I can’t stay asleep.
😴 I can’t get enough sleep.
We’ve been there. We are there. We get it. 💤
Of course, we all know the dream is to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night; it’s what we need to function at our best. But did you also know that sleep powers up your immune system as well? (Lack of sleep can even make vaccines less effective, says this study.)
And yet, in this extremely stressful time, when our sleep pattern is a nightmare, fixing it may seem like an unattainable dream. So, let’s get real. Here’s what Pausers need to know to rest:
Too hot? Chill out: Experts suggest a cool room for optimal sleep — somewhere around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. (A drop in core body temperature signals your body that it’s time for bed.)
Too noisy? Wear earplugs. (Wirecutter rounds up the best options here.) Or, consider using a white sound machine or app.
Too bright? Light doubles as Reveille, that bugle-honking military wakeup call. Make your bedroom as dark as you can with light-blocking curtains or shades — or try Jennifer’s favorite eye mask. (It even comes with a set of ear plugs! — Jennifer)
Need more help, Goldilocks? Yes, us too. For while sleep is a basic biological need, finding it can be a tad more complicated as we age. Let’s go deeper into sleep…
Time to hit the sack.
Here are a few more tips and strategies to consider trying tonight:
Technology The blue light coming from phones, tablets and laptops interferes with your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone you need to fall (and stay) asleep. Keep your bedroom an electronic-free zone and shut down at least 30 minutes before turning in.
Stress & Worry Take time to wind down before bed with a bit of meditation, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation — really, whatever floats your boat off to dreamland. If you still can’t stop your racing mind, write down all the s**t running through your brain on a pad of paper, then do your best Scarlett O’Hara: “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” #procrastinatingcanbegood
Perimenopause & Menopause Hot flashes happen to 60 percent to 80 percent of us. Prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep by dressing in light layers, keeping ice-cold water on your nightstand, and keeping the room temp low. (Scroll down to win a pair of PJs!)
Erratic Schedule? Going to sleep and waking at the same time helps train your body. Do it even on the weekends. That’s right: You might want to sleep in, but it’s really not the best idea. Honest. Try sticking to your sleep schedule this weekend and then tell us we were right!
Medications Some, like blood pressure meds, work as diuretics, and make you have to get up to pee. Others, like antidepressants and thyroid meds, can interfere with sleep. Have a talk with your doc to see if there are alternatives to consider.
Aches & Pains As we get older, it’s more likely we have ’em. Maybe it’s time to invest in a new mattress or pillow? (Jennifer is loving this one.) Recommended time for a new mattress? Every 7 to 10 years.
Snoring I used to stuff a pillow over my head to block out the sound of my husband’s snoring — admittedly, I was tempted to use said pillow to smother him— that is, until we discovered his barnyard sounds were due to sleep apnea. Now he (and I) sleep peacefully, aided by his C-pap machine. (It’s not pretty, but it’s a lifesaver, literally.)
We won’t be surprised to hear that you’re suffering from sleep apnea too: One study found that 47 percent of females over age 55 had it (one reason: hormones. Damn hormones). Learn more about sleep apnea, which can be a real health threat, from the Mayo Clinic here.
For a Pause
These yoga poses are guaranteed to help you find your Zen before you hit the sheets and sleep like a happy baby.
Speaking of happy babies, let someone read you a bedtime story to lull you into la-la land. Sleep stories from the Calm app are just a click away.
Back pain interfering with your sleep? These home remedies are worth a shot when you want to call it a night.
These PJs by Cool Revolution will help you keep cool and dry with their natural fibers of cotton and bamboo.
One More Thing…
Giraffes need less sleep than any other mammal — only 30 minutes a day, sleeping for five minutes at a pop. Imagine how productive they must be with all that time on their hand, er, feet!
Photo by Guy Roberts on Unsplash
Also, they sleep standing up, with one eye open and both ears moving. So there’s that option too…?
Until next week, stay well, stay healthy, stay safe.
See you next time!
I’m so tired. I haven’t slept a wink.
I’m so tired. My mind is on the blink.
—Beatles, I’m So Tired
Know someone who could use a Pause? Share our newsletter and help us spread the word. We’re in this together!
Thank You! Got some great tips, hopefully it will help my aching back.