I know, I’ve gone all June and Ward Cleaver on you! You’re likely wondering why on earth two people in their 30’s and 40’s, and are childless (that’s a biggie!) wouldn’t be spending as much time in the same bed as possible.
Well, the answer is our sleep patterns are very different!
I am a bit of a night owl, I like to go to bed around 11:30ish whereas my man is pretty much passed out by 9:30pm. I have no idea how that is even humanly possible! I am also a super light sleeper and the slightest noise wakes me up. And guess what? He’s a big time snorer! The minute I even begin to hear heavy breathing it’s over.
He also moves around a lot in his sleep. I prefer a colder room whereas he’s fine to sweat it out. And he’s an early riser – like 5:30am – whereas I love getting out of bed around 8ish. Basically I am in awe of any woman who can sleep through all of that! LOL
As you can see, this creates quite an inconvenient sleeping environment. I’d venture to say that many of you are in a similar position too? Clients tell me all the time that their partners’ different work schedules or sleeping habits are continuously interrupting their snooze time.
In my opinion, there are far too many stressed out, hormonally imbalanced women who feel like they’ve done a triathlon each day not getting a good night’s sleep. And it has created a population of us running around with a serious sleep deficit! Here are the joys of that:
- Dysregulated cortisol levels
- Accelerated aging
- Blood sugar and insulin dysregulation, insulin resistance and weight gain
- Depression and other mood issues including anxiety, and
- lots of hormonal and menstrual problems
Hey, they don’t use sleep deprivation as a torture technique for nothin’ right?
Here’s the hormone real talk
Lack of sleep has a snowball effect on all your hormones, and eventually they all come tumbling down that hill. If you sleep well and wake up restored, your cortisol reaches a peak within 30 minutes of waking up. This positively impacts your other hormones, thyroid, estrogen, progesterone etc.
If you don’t sleep well…
- Cortisol might be too high or too low in the morning which has a downstream effect on your other subordinate hormones. It also sets you up for intermittent energy slumps, sugar cravings, less than stellar moods and more!
- Also, research shows that just one night of sleep deprivation can induce insulin resistance. Translation, less sleep equals blood sugar problems in the short and long term. (1) Tip: a higher protein/higher fat breakfast is so helpful to help balance your blood sugar after a crappy night of sleep.
- The cortisol and insulin dysregulation messes with every bodily system. It disrupts your key sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone by interfering with the ovulation process, and it can cause your thyroid to slow down.
Ugh, quite a cumulative effect right?
What about sleeping pills?
Trouble with sleep is so common that American’s are popping sleeping pills in record numbers. In 2011, an estimated 40 MILLION sleeping pill prescriptions were dispensed and MOST OF THEM WERE FOR WOMEN.
Did you know that sleeping pills generally only increase the amount of time you sleep by a matter of minutes (a measly 20-30)??
Yet they can significantly impair your ability to function like a normal human the next day and they can also have a rebound effect – once you stop taking them, you may suffer “withdrawal” symptoms worse than the initial insomnia. What’s even more frightening is there are now actual studies that show how sleeping pills are linked to these issues(2):
- Higher risk for certain cancers (35% higher)
- Increased risk of death, including from accidents (four times more likely to die as people who don’t take them)
- Increased insulin resistance, food cravings, weight gain and diabetes – very bad for women who are already hormonally imbalanced
- Amnesia, even from events that occurred during the day – whoa!!!
- Depression, confusion, disorientation, and hallucinations
All of this can occur even in people only taking them less than 20 times a year. Oh dear, is this you?
If you’re not willing to risk this madness then read on…here’s what you can do now.
#1 Get a comfortable bed and luxurious bedding.
No seriously, if your bed isn’t the best bed for you and your partner you will suffer the consequences. I’ve noticed that when my guy is on an uncomfortable mattress he tosses and turns and snores a lot more. This is years of experience in hotels – ah, long distance love.
Buy the best mattress and bedding you can afford and try to get one that is organic/eco-friendly. Conventional mattresses are full of chemicals including flame retardants that are extremely hazardous to your health. There are now a plethora of online retailers selling all kinds of eco-friendly and health-friendly mattresses – Keetsa (this is the one I have), Casper (this is the one I have in my 2nd bedroom), Loom & Leaf, Tuft & Needle, and Pure Green Mattress to name a few. And even Ikea makes good natural mattresses that are reasonably priced.
There are also a ton of retailers selling organic cotton and bamboo sheets. Here are some of the brands I’ve purchased in the past – OrganicPro Sheets, Organic Essentials, and Green Farmer Organic Sheets. Even if you just bought organic cotton pillow cases you’d be better off.
#2 Sleep in another room!
I know society paints a bleak picture of couples who sleep separately – “they sleep in separate beds, OMG they must be on the verge of divorce!”
While sleeping together can be intimate, soothing and comforting, I believe there are times when sleeping apart can increase these feelings and totally save your sanity and thus your relationship.
Luckily we have two bedrooms and we’re able to do this easily…before we lived in our current apartment, my poor man was on the couch, which he claims to love sleeping on lol. All jokes aside though, how much is your health worth to you? Apparently it’s worth a lot to the 25% of Americans and 10% of Brits who are opting to sleep in separate rooms.
#3 Keep your room cold.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests that temperatures above 75 and below 54 degrees Fahrenheit can disrupt sleep for most people. Studies suggest that women sleep best at about 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course everyone is different, so the ideal is to keep your room cool (to you) so that you’re most comfortable. It’s hard to sleep if you’re too hot or too cold so find what works…and hope your partner agrees! If not, see #2 above! 🙂
Remember, when your circadian rhythm (the convo between melatonin and cortisol) is off, you create what Dr. Sara Gottfried describes as a “bad neighborhood” for your hormones. In fact, one of the biggest disruptors to ovulation is dysregulated melatonin.
Therefore, the goal is to get that restful and restorative sleep every night. As in, you fall asleep within 30 minutes of laying down, you sleep through the night without waking up, you wake up in the morning feeling energetic and ready to take on the day and you are able to get through the day without feeling the need for boatloads of caffeine, sugar or a nap.
Happy dreamtime to you!