Sleepless in New York

Lately, I have been sleeping like a baby. For those of you who have never actually had one, let me clarify:

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I wake up every hour or two during the night.

I fall asleep easily, but wake up several times during the night, starting about an hour after I go to bed, and continuing through the night. Sometimes I just look at the clock and fall right back asleep. Other times, it’s not as easy. Since nobody around here gets up to rock me back to sleep, or offer me a bottle, I am looking for my own solutions.

It started during the heat wave, when the air conditioning seemed to die during the course of the night, leaving me hot and uncomfortable. Now that the weather is not an issue, I am still waking up. Sometimes I feel restless and fidgety. Sometimes, I am just thirsty. Often, I just simply wake up. I don’t feel overly stressed out about anything,(except perhaps, not sleeping well!)  but I still keep waking up.

After a few weeks of this, I decided to do a little research on why this is happening and natural solutions for a  better night’s sleep. Here is what I discovered:

What I am experiencing is referred to as “middle insomnia,” or difficulty maintaining sleep. Since our bodies go through various cycles throughout the night, where sleep is deeper or lighter at times, this is considered completely normal. However, if you stay awake for 30 minutes or more, it could be a sign of a deeper sleeping disorder,such as sleep apnea, where one stops breathing during sleep, or narcolepsy, where one falls asleep randomly throughout the day. ( Thankfully,I don’t have any of that.)

Intermittent light or noise can cause frequent wake ups. Living in the city, I am sure there are plenty of these factors that could be jolting me out of slumber. However, I have slept in this bed in this room for almost 18 years, so it would seem odd that something like this is a would just pop up.

Most experts advised skipping naps and avoiding alcohol, which extends the time spent in deep sleep,and shortens the time in light sleep, often disrupting the normal sleep cycle.

Screen time is a big culprit. While the experts suggest getting up and reading  a book, or doing a relaxing activity if you can’t get back to sleep after 20 minutes or so, they all agree that anything with a screen is a no-no. Those electronic devices we are so dependent on exude a blue spectrum light that is proven to disrupt sleep. (now we may be getting somewhere!)

Mother with newborn baby sleeping on shoulder

Some tips for a good night’s sleep:

Power down 1 hour before bed. Unplugging mentally and physically is key to sleeping well.

Have a routine. Try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, even on the weekends. Giving your body consistency can be helpful in establishing a proper sleep cycle.

Exercise in the morning, or at least several hours before bed. Exercise may rev up your system, making it hard to fall asleep. Exercise earlier in the day is shown to promote good slumber.

Avoid caffeine late in the day, as well as alcohol. Both can act as stimulants, hours after they are consumed. Herbal teas are calming and could help relax you enough to fall asleep normally.

Skip heavy snacks before bed, and avoid overly spicy foods that can cause heartburn or indigestion.

Try doing some simple yoga poses before bed. They will calm your mind, as well as your body. Some recommended poses include fore ward bends, child’ pose, plow, shoulder stands, and spinal twists. End with Savasana, (the corpse pose) and drift off from there.

Deep breathing, and some meditation is also good. Practicing relaxing each body part, from toes on up, can often bring on sleep.

Lavender is also said to bring about calmness and sleep. A dab of lavender oil on your wrists, or pillow could be helpful as well.

You will feel more rested in the morning from relaxing in bed, than you will from staying up all night doing an activity. Try to stay in bed if you can, rather than engage in something that might serve to wake you up.

Sweet dreams!!!

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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2 Responses to “Sleepless in New York”

  1. Gold Price Says:

    Work, traffic, bills, stress, obligations; there are a lot of things bouncing around in our heads by the end of the day. It’s no wonder so many have a hard time unwinding at night. For some people it can take hours of lying awake in bed, restless and thinking about the day , before falling asleep.

  2. Get Smart Says:

    5. Avoid going to bed hungry or overeating at dinner. A light snack may help you fall asleep and may prevent hunger pains during the night, but avoid overeating, since this can make falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult. Indigestion may also wake you up during the night. Things like Chamomile tea & black cherry juice naturally allow for better sleep.

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