Getting a good night sleep is how your body recovers from stress and activity during the day. It makes a world of difference on your energy level and performance the next day. It’s vital to having a strong immune system. Being tired can also encourage unhealthy “solutions” due to sugar cravings, caffeine cravings and other unhealthy desires, just because you are trying to give your body an extra jolt to compensate for being tired. Thus, improving sleep is vital to your recovery.
There are some things that can help your quality of sleep. Melatonin is one. This is a hormone that you can get in most Health Food stores or areas where vitamins are sold. I use the kind that is time released as I use to have a problem of waking up during the night and not being able to get back to sleep. You need to find the right dose that works best for you. I use 5 mg time released. My brother takes twice that amount. My husband, when he uses it, takes a much smaller dose.
Sleep schedule: Having a stable sleep schedule helps a lot too. You need to find your sweet spot as to your best schedule. I tend to wake up early, so I have found it is best for me to go to sleep around 10 or 10:30 at night. I wake up at 6 or 6:30 with a good night’s sleep. If I stay up much later than that I usually find I get a crappy night of sleep. If you want to sleep later in the morning past sunrise, then I recommend black out curtains or shades to keep the room dark.
There are also things that can trigger a bad night’s sleep. Consuming a lot of MSG (Monosodium glutamate – a flavor enhancer that is sometimes put into food) can be one. Another is alcohol. And of course caffeine or dark chocolate late in the day or evening as stimulants can keep you from going to sleep or sleeping restfully.
I also found it helpful to find your best sleep schedule. I do best if I go to sleep by 10 and wake up at 6. Other people do better later and are able to sleep earlier. I found if I stayed up later watching tv or something and went past that sweet spot, I had a hard time getting to sleep or a less restful sleep. So finding your sleep sweet spot can also help.
If none of the above easy remedies help you sleep, please don’t resort to taking OTC sleeping meds. A new study has found a definite link between the use of anticholinergic drugs (including popular non-prescription sleep aids and antihistamines such as diphenhydramine) – and increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s a link to one of many articles on the subject: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288546.php
There is another solution that may be applicable to many women with consistent sleep issues. It completely handled my sleep problems (which started just as I was headed toward menopause). Progesterone in capsules or caplets, which must be prescribed by a doctor, that you can take each night at bedtime. You can also use a cream, but I found that taking it orally was much better for sleep. Of course this would require proper hormone testing and a doctor’s prescription. But it is well worth the trouble if you aren’t sleeping well and usual supplements don’t help. And it is much better than OTC sleep meds.
There are other tips that may help. I will probably add to this later. But for now, these are the things that helped me to improve sleep the most. One way or another, getting good sleep is vital to your healing.