7 tips for a great nights sleep for women

Author: Emily Macgregor, Naturopath | 16 Dec 2010

Tagged: Metabolism, Motivation, Positivity, Tips

Not getting enough sleep? Feel tired or wake groggy or frazzled in the morning?

You're not alone! 20-40% of all women have sleep problems in any given year. Statistics show women find it harder to fall asleep than men, are more likely to wake in the night or early in the morning. Stressed, anxious, angry or depressed emotions are also more likely to disrupt a woman's sleep pattern than a man's.

How can women maximize their precious snooze time and get the rest their bodies so greatlyneed?

I'm going to give you 7 keytips and steps for making your night times the nurturing, renewing, down-time that it should be, so that you sleep peacefully and feel renewed in the morning for your busy day.

1. Your Special Time.

When they were younger my husband would say to our children that sleepis their time to be with the angels - encouraging them to sink into ablissful night of deep relaxation. Women can have that attitude at night, choosing to stop and create a space of inner peace. This is really just a switching of mindset from external doing to internal being ... and it doesn't have to take much time or involve an elaborate ritual.

The decision to move into self-nurturing mode begins the process of preparing the nervous system for sleep. Part of this nurturing is making sure your bed & pillow are comfy, and the room is dark and cool. Also turn off all power points in the bedroom. Before you sleep you might choose to have awarm shower or bath, snuggle up reading a good book or play a relaxation CD.

2. Mums on Hyper Alert

Many women never sleep as well after having children. Anticipating being woken, listening out for criesor pattering feet, the nervous system is switched to alert and doesn't easily come off. If it's practical to do so, using white noise like a fan in summer,or soft background music can be very soothing. If the kids are now older, you might even try earplugs - the silicone ones are most comfortable. This can provide a certain peace for the nervous system that enables a deeperrelaxation.

3. Tame the Adrenalin Beast

Caffeine in tea and coffeedirectly triggers adrenalin but sugary snacks and skipping meals cause aplummet in blood sugar that also triggers adrenalin. Adrenalin can feel good, aburst of energy and aliveness but it is stressful for the nervous system and asis builds up over the day can cause restlessness, sleeplessness and the classic 3am waking that is a sign of adrenal stress. Drinking less coffee and tea,eating regularly and having more protein and whole grains can make a huge difference.

4. The Great Outdoors

If you can spend some timeoutside every day - this really helps something called the circadian rhythm -the way the body programs sleep cycles depending on day-time exposure to sunlight. Feeling nature in any way also helps relax the nervous system, soconsciously putting some attention on the living plants and trees around youduring the day can be surprisingly calming. Try it and see.

5. Natural Night-caps

Certain substances induce anatural relaxation. My tried-and-true favourites are 200-400mg of powdered magnesium in a little water after dinner, a cup of hot chamomile tea in the evening and dabbing the aromatherapy oils Lavender and Clary sage onto your pillow before bedtime.

Magnesium is nature relaxant for the body and mind, relaxing muscles, reducing restlessness and having a calming effect on the nervous system.

6. Up and At Em

Exercising at least 3-4 times a week is a must. You'll flush toxins, increase endorphins and get rid of excess nervous energy so that you can wind down better when you need to. Most people find exercising in the morning works best.

7. Don't sweat the small stuff

Women tend to worry, takethings to heart and have more volatile emotions than men. This is our blessing and curse. The deliberate actions of 1. Letting go of the small stuff and 2.choosing to see the positive in things and people will go a long way to reducing stress. Having a good laugh about things is a great way to lighten up your attitude and relax and unwind. When you do feel emotional, rushed or challenged, taking long slow breaths also really helps.

Additional note: Sex at least twice a week is a fantastically fun way to relax and get all the feelgood neurotransmitters going, increase intimacy with your partner ... and induce a great nights sleep.

I hope implementing some of this helps you have the deepest rest for your body, mind and spirit. Sleep tight until next time.