1. Are you really just laying there or is your mind churning over the events of the day?
2. Are you on the computer or watching TV right before you go to bed?
3. Do you have drinks that are caffeinated during the day?
4. Do women in your family tend to experience early menopause?
5. How long has this been going on?
1. Ruminating is a real problem for women... We chew over and over the problems of the day, often beconing upset and aggitated. Why? Becuase our memories are ormed with a strong tie to our emotions. We remember an event and we feel the emotions as strongly as we felt them when the event happened. The emotional response then serves as a trigger for memories and pulls more memories out from other times we felt the emotion. And then we are on our way to merry cycle of chewing over and over the same old crap well into the wee hours of morn'n... The key is to break the cycle.
>Meditate for 20 minutes before bed.
>Learn a visualization routine for when you go to bed ( look up self hypnosis...very similar) and practice visualization and controlled breathing.
>Give your mind permission and the instruction to let go of problems for the night: write down what is on your mind and literally set it aside...tell your brain "I acknowledge this problem, but there is nothing I can do to fix this tonight. I direct my subconscious to consider solutions while I sleep."
2. Media use: the light from TVs and computers is known to disrupt the sleep/wake cycle by stimulating the brain.
>No matter what, turn the electronics off a half an hour before bed time...
>Listen to relaxing music (instrumental is best).
>Do that relaxation meditation
>Spend the time gently grooming pets....it is known to lower blood pressure and slow heat rate.
3. Caffeine or even nicotine can keep you awake. I have nothing but my own story: i used to drink coffee whenever I wanted, sometimes well into the evening and never had a problem. Suddenly, in my mid thirties, it got to where I could not have caffeine after 3 pm. Over time it has become even earilier. If I have caffeine after noon I will be awake at 2 am, guaranteed.
>Check all food and drink labels for caffeine
4. Changing hormones: perimenopause is the four to six years before actual menopause. During this time homones start to fluctuate disturbing our normal functions like sleep. While there is an average age for this to start, there is no " normal" age for it.
>Get a physical and request a hormone level check.
>Investigate a diet that supports female hormones and adopt what you can.
>Make your bedroom cooler...69 degrees is the optimal temperature for sleep and this becomes important because our hormones affect our body temperature regulation.
5. Habit: we can get into the habit of not sleeping well. A few bad nights happens for some reason then we begin to worry it will happen, then expect it to happen and sure enough we are not sleeping! We worry about it, dread it, and actually cause it.
>Make a new habit:
*Reset your internal clock by staying up all night on a weekend, then going to bed when you need to for your daily routine. Do not sleep late the next morning, but get up at your normal weekday time.
*Always go to bed and get up at the same time: hard, I know, but try to keep it within an hour of your weekday times.
*If you find yourself not sleeping after 10 minutes in bed, get out of bed. Bed is the place to sleep, not lie awake.
*Do not exercise after 6 pm, but do make time for a brisk walk or other exercise during the day.
*Get a prescription for 2 weeks of a sleep aid for establishing sleep times. A limit means you'll ration them reducing the risk of forming a psychological addiction, but allows the opportunity for the help in getting into a sleep routine.
*Use the tips in 1 through 4 above.
General tip: I am not a morning person, I am a night owl. I hate alarm clocks and always struggled to awaken with them. I invested in an alarm clock that awakens by slowly brightening a light which mimics sunrise. It has a noise alarm as back up, but I never slept to the point of it going off. I did not dread going to sleep knowing I would hear that abrupt and horrible noise in the morning. I love that clock and I awaken truely awake instead of groggy and grouchy. It is a little expensive, but it is an INVESTMENT in your quality of life and your health....worth every penny for me!
So I hope you find something useful in all this and good luck! (Or should I say good night?)