A Menopausal Journey: Desperately Seeking…Sleep!
As much as I wish I could simply open a book or do an internet search and find all the answers to my Menopausal challenges, I’m learning that my version of what I’m calling my “ transition” is as unique as I am. I am not interested in masking or pretending that I am not getting older, but I wouldn't mind finding a little relief and learning some new ways to cope with these inevitable changes. Fortunately, there are some wonderful resources available, and I've come up with a few of my own solutions for the realities of how mid-life is shaking out for me.
I have always been someone who could fall asleep anywhere and sleep fabulously! Well, I used to be someone who could sleep anywhere - now with the menopausal journey, I find it harder to fall asleep, stay asleep and keep from overheating into a blazing and cranky beast! It has inspired me to develop a few coping strategies…
With a little experimentation, I came up with this tea recipe for my pre-bedtime ritual. While there are some wonderful soothing tea blends available, I wanted something tasty, a little sweet, and calming. I mix up enough to make a pot of tea, but you could reduce the amounts or mix it up and use a few teaspoons if you’d like to make a cup (I use all dried herbs for this tea, boiling the water on the stove and putting the herb mix into a large infuser. Once I pour the water into the pot, I let it steep about 4-5 minutes):
SLEEP AND DREAM TEA
2 Tbsp organic Spearmint
1 Tbsp organic Chamomile
1 Tbsp organic St. John’s Wort
1 Tbsp organic Nettle Leaf
1 Tbsp organic Rosebuds
While I drink this without any additional sweetener, you could add a little local, organic honey. My grandmother used to give us grandkids a spoonful of honey right before bed, telling us it would give us “sweet dreams.” I've since read there is some truth to that folk therapy, as the complex sugars in the honey may help regulate the blood sugar, allowing for a sound night’s sleep without waking with a rumbly tummy.
LAVENDER SALT SOAK
I've found a warm (but not too hot, as it can bring on a hotflash or flushing for me) bath soak in salts and organic Lavender essential oil right before bed, further helps relax and prepare me for a decent night’s sleep. Since I’m not very fussy, I literally toss a handful of Epsom or Dead Sea salt under the running water, along with about 4-5 drops of Lavender essential oil. Sometimes, I’ll add a little drizzle of some of my homemade calendula infused oil (calendula and sunflower oil) for extra luxurious softness!
Lavender essential oil has become my secret sleep weapon: During my weekly bed linen swap, I sprinkle a few drops of undiluted lavender essential oil over the mattress pad and pillows before re-making with fresh cotton sheets (the flannel ones are temporarily retired as they are just too warm now!) The clean, calming scent of lavender drifts all around me as I drift off to sleep—crossing my fingers I’ll be able to stay that way!