How many sheep?

By Teresa Hammond

I’ve been staring at the back of my eyelids a bit too much lately. I don’t like it.

It tends to happen pretty routinely at about 2:30 a.m. every morning.

As I thought of this current issue and what to share with our readers, I thought of the holiday season. The joyous time of the year. The time when memories seem to be made in abundance, the calendar lacks the proper amount of lines to list festivities and sleep becomes a luxury. We love this, right?

Now that’s a bit of sarcasm and I must admit; I do love the holiday season beginning with the Halloween fun for both children as well as adults. The merriment just seems to continue to roll from there until ringing in the New Year.

Personally speaking, the sleep never seems to catch up. While one would think the activity and busyness would help deep sleep set in within moments of hitting the hay, it doesn’t work that way. And I don’t like it.

The reality of course is that with all this activity, while our bodies may become tired our minds remain on a bit of overload. Restful sleep with a brain spinning is not an easy thing.

Yet somehow the season of sleep deprivation has hit me well before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, hence the lead sentence to this piece. This can be attributed to a number of things, one largely being a hormonal imbalance which seems to hit some of us at a certain age. It’s been a challenge.

Taking into account a drop in my physical activity, which was noted in the past issue the saying holds true – the struggle is real. It’s important to note here two things: first I’m not a doctor or medical professional by any stretch of the imagination and secondly, I’m far from the first to walk this mid-life hormonal path.

That being said, while awake in the wee hours it’s given me plenty of time to read up on the myths as well as proposed solutions for helping return to restful slumber.

Some of the myths I happened upon I found interesting and naturally the facts were my favorite.

A few of the myths I’d tried and can confirm: alcohol doesn’t help, napping doesn’t help you catch up and learning to need less sleep is not a real thing. I’m also not a fan of sleep aids, but will use them in a pinch. Reason for that being I’m just not a fan of taking pills to do what our body should be able to naturally do. Crazy I know, but I like to solve problems finding a way to bring the body back to its natural state.

The good news lies in the facts. Exercise does help with restful sleep. I’m still in the middle of that study as it all seems to go a bit hand in hand. Exercise is also good for aiding with midlife problems and reducing some of the symptoms.

Another fun fact, which I had read years ago and returned to as of late was actually getting out of bed when you can’t sleep. Staying in bed while restless may lead to frustration and prolong the restful mindset needed. Years ago, post-divorce when I struggled with sleep I would fold laundry in the wee hours. In time, I returned to a regular sleep pattern. During the disrupted period I was at least productive and when returning to bed rested quite nicely.

Lastly, I’d like to give a plug to meditation as well as logging off. There truly is something to be said for disconnecting from the world and being in peace as part of your winding down routine. The mind processes a lot during any given day. Meditation is a great way to let the mind release a bit, relax and just be. There also happen to be a lot of great Apps out there for smart phones making this activity as easy and stress free as possible.

Regardless of what the choice might be, the goal while simple might not come easy right away. As a person who recognizes the importance to my mind as well as my body, by way of proper slumber, I refuse to just “accept.”

Because as we all know, there’s nothing better than waking to a nice cup of coffee after a good night’s sleep. Nighty night.

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