Monday, October 11, 2010

Slumber Party

My personal belief is that getting the right amount of sleep is the foundation of good physical and emotional health. It is the thing that I struggle with the most. Everything for me, it seems, manifests itself in sleep disturbances. I will say that I am much, much, better than I have been in years - but I am still far from good. And while I have an Rx for the leading prescribed sleep-inducer, A*****, I do not like to take it.

So I am performing yet another experiment on me. My symptoms are well-documented here, with the main culprit being night sweats that wake me up. Last week I read somewhere that one of the outcomes of a higher-protein diet is shorter sleep cycle and a tendency to have night sweats. Bingo! While I've talked to my doctor about it, he seems to tie to it perimenopause and just takes a look at my hormone levels -which in the past have remained in the normal range. I've tried eating an apple at bedtime, which wasn't much help. I think the GI was too high. Last night I tried something different - 150 calories of steel cut oats at bedtime. I woke up for the first time at about 4am, looked at the clock and went right back to sleep within a few minutes. I woke up naturally at 6:30 feeling refreshed.

So for the time being, I'm following the night time ritual that I'd wiki'd up a week or so ago. I'm using deep breathing, cooler ambient temperature in the bedroom, aromatherapy, plus I'm now going to add a small meal of something with a "slow burn" at bedtime. It flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but if it works, I'll take it.

Saturday's ride was 40.3 miles. Upon my return, I need to go in for a professional fitting. My neck and shoulders were killing me on Saturday. I had to stop twice on the way home just to stretch. There must be something about my position on the bike for long periods of time that is causing this. According to my reading, my handlebars are probably too low and I know that I am locking my arms. Whatever it is, it was darned painful.

I am planning a ride this evening, if it doesn't rain. I'll have to hit the gym if it does, as I am planning on taking my sister to lunch today.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Sleep.




  1. I an the same age as you so I'm going to agree with your doctor. Hormonal blood tests are phooey so if those night sweats keep up, I say find a good gyn like mine who said, "I treat my patient, not bloodwork." So many of the natural treatments interfere with my thyroid meds so I can't use them. Temporary hormones = sleep, relief and the the best thing I'd done in a long time.

    Also, don't think I'm a nut but this works too: buy some coolmax, wicking shirts/tanks and shorts and wear them as pajamas. They wick the sweat away from you and that helps alot to keep from waking up.

    BTW, I just caught up on blogs. Before you said you returned the pink shoes, I was going to ask you what size they were and offer to buy them. Snooky-ish or not, I love them!

  2. I had many sleep issues in my 40s and early 50s. Actually I'm beginning to notice that I'm sleeping better a lot of the time. I never looked into, but I always felt that it was hormone fluctuations that were at the heart of it. Now I get up the requisite 1 or 2 times a night to pee but go right back to sleep. But your method sounds great - if it works, why not do it.

    Hope your neck and shoulders are feeling better.

  3. I've been having those hot nights the last two weeks myself and having a tough time. Thanks Helen for your coolmax suggestion - I'm going to have to try that because if it helps, I'm all for it.

    I agree sleep is so important in your well-being. Glad the oatmeal seemed to work better for you.

  4. Good sleep is so crucial to managing our daily lives. My problem is I have a hard time stopping at the end of the day and going to bed. Crazy I know...but once in bed, at this point, I sleep pretty soundly. Its just getting there that is my problem, but I have a choice to make and need to begin to choose what is healthiest for myself.

    Thank you for your comment on my blog the other day. I always value your input.

  5. I should try oats. I have the same thing of night sweats. The doc said it was perimenopausal and just have to deal with it, but that is advice I don't like.

    I would love to have it cooler in the bedroom, but John gets freezing cold while I am boiling, and he has an extra blanket on himself! There are times when I am surprised I don't just burst into flames...

  6. I love it when it's cold cold cold outside and I can crack the window to sleep...because of the electric bill, my bedroom is not cool most of the year, even with the A/C on (not too low or I will go broke) and the ceiling fan. I agree that cool rooms help, and I like Helen's suggestion of sleeping in the coolmax clothing. I'll have to try that - nothing worse than a heavy, wet nightgown.

  7. I have problems staying asleep myself. Sometimes I can fall back asleep, sometimes not. Luckily I fall asleep very fast. I can't function without the right amount of sleep. Over tired=freaked.

    Good luck on the shoes. I hope they are working for you. The pink ones would be much too much for me too. I would kill myself wearing those things.

    Hope the neck and shoulders feel better as well.

  8. I really feel for you. I spent 6 months going through a chemically induced menopause for endometriosis and it was brutal. Between the sweats, lack of sleep and emotional swings, I felt crazy as a loon!
    My sleep patterns were the last to return to normal after the treatment wore off. I opted for an anxiety drug at bedtime and that did wonders for me. Sounds like you have a good handle on things. Good luck!

  9. You know me and my sleep problems. Sometimes I feel like I haven't slept in months. It's so miserable.

    The last two nights I actually slept through the night. The first time in months (maybe years). The only difference is I'm eating a little more (I think) and I'm not eating at midnight, which I'm sure you would never do.

    At least it sounds like the oatmeal worked for you. Nothing is beter than sleep. Nothing.

  10. I totally agree with the need for a good night's sleep - and how hard that is to get! I think the cooler ambient temperature really helps with that too. I hadn't heard about the high protein thing, and ironically after a high carb / lower protein day yesterday I had the best night's sleep I've had for a week - so I guess that suggests something I could think about!
    Hope you get your bike sorted to help with the pain!

  11. ahhh sleep
    Youre so so so so very right as all can be PERFECT but if Im MizFitKeptUpAllNightWithChild all seems horribly off and wrong.

    I LOVE helens tip about the wicking clothes as pjs!!


We'll try this for a while.