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  • Writer's pictureamanda@kavuclothing.com

Sleep...wake...alarm...repeat.

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

We all know that sleep helps to restore our cells but what causes us to wake and then not be able to get back to sleep? It's been a challenge, I have to say - this sleep and menopause situation, but with a few tools in your toolbox, you can get a good night's rest and not just a cat nap. Please join me and I will explain some of the more unusual things concerning sleep that I have learned along the way.







1/ Iris and blue light

Have you heard of the pineal gland? It is the smallest gland in the body but it has a big job to do: it regulates your circadian rhythm which tells your body when to sleep and when to be awake. Apparently, this is all completed by the daylight which enters your eyes and goes straight to the pineal gland in the centre of your head. Daylight contains a large spectrum of light of different colours (which is good) but when the night draws in, and it becomes dark, the signal is sent to the pineal gland to get ready for sleep. This clever little gland secretes melatonin which makes you sleepy.


The more dark signal that is sent to the pineal, the more melatonin is released and the sleepier you feel. It's that simple. Or is it?


Many items in our home emit a blue light without us even knowing it. This light is more harmful than the broad spectrum daylight and it sends a different signal to the pineal saying that it's daytime not night time, so no melatonin and no sleep. The culprits for this blue light are phone screens, computer screens, your TV, even LED light bulbs; so basically all of our modern entertainment appliances in our homes.


So what can we do about it?

Do you remember the old style incandescent light bulbs, well they do not emit the blue light, so I firstly set about replacing all of the light bulbs in my house with old fashioned ones. I now use candles and the fire at night (which are non blue light emitting).


For the screens, I downloaded a free blue light filter app from a company called Iris. This software takes out the blue light from your screen so that your pineal gland is not getting the 'stay awake signal' and it can produce the melatonin which will make you feel sleepy. There is a setting on your phone which will reduce the amount of blue light emitted, but the Iris app can adjust your screen to suit your light needs in different environments. It truly is fabulous. Please check out their website below:


2/ Cortisol Up/ Melatonin Down

Have you noticed that you are angrier than you used to be? Me too. Apparently, it is due to our nervous system continually being in the fight or flight state, during peri-menopause. The adrenal gland secretes a hormone called Cortisol which heightens your awareness and makes you perceive danger more easily. If there is no danger (there's no one about to nic your parking space) but the cortisol is still pulsing around your body: you jump to anger more quickly. This can be devastating to your body and can even lead to adrenal fatigue. It is the cause of many menopause symptoms such as anger, jaw clenching, muscle tensing and fatigue.


If you are in this state, the melatonin signal switches off so that you can protect yourself from the perceived danger. Cortisol up/ Melatonin down..... Mandy (me) awake and anxious, ready for the fight or flight.



So what can you do about it?

Have you heard of Wim Hoff (the Ice Man)? He is an awesome, spiritual Dutch man who has broken all kinds of extreme records for spending time in an ice bath. The cold (such as in a cold shower) dampens down your autonomic nervous system response, so you no longer produce cortisol and therefore, feel less anxious. If you are not producing cortisol at night, you can produce melatonin (the sleep hormone) and you can sleep more easily. You can find out more information on how to cold shower (there is a procedure) and the benefits of cold water therapy in Wim's book, 'The way of the Ice Man' .


There are many free resources on You tube to get you started with cold water swimming or bathing. Here is just one example of the Ice Man talking to Dr Chatterjee, but there are many.


How does cold water showering benefit me?

  • It makes me a much calmer person to be around.

  • My muscles and in particular my jaw do not feel tight after a shower and the effect lasts all day.

  • My sore hips are no longer sore due to the anti-inflammatory effect of the water.

  • I am less angry and feel more like myself.

  • I am not so bothered by the cold in the house or outside in the fields.

  • I sleep better, less cortisol more melatonin.


3/ Your energy body and the Biofield Care UK patches

Now before you think that I have gone crazy, consider the fact that Chinese Medicine has been around for thousands of years: much longer than our 1900's allopathic medicine. Have you ever tried acupuncture or reflexology?


There is a clever little invention from Biofield Care UK that works on the bodies meridien energy centres. The removable 'tattoo' is placed on a variety of the bodies energy points, it releases salts which electrically interact with your energy centres and can affect various organs or glands.



I placed my harmony patch on my spleen meridian which is good at supporting your immune system, but they can be placed below your belly button to aid sleep. The only thing that you need to do once you have applied the patch is to drink more water. We are electrical beings made up of water, so the drinking water sends the salts in the patch to the required areas of the system. I know.... it sounds a bit 'Woo Woo' but I'm sure that my flu was helped by wearing patches on my spleen meridian. They are not expensive and well worth a try, order from their website below:



4/ Waking in the night and Progesterone (too much)

I've never had a problem falling asleep but I suddenly started to wake in the night and then could not get to sleep. The problem started when I was showing signs of oestrogen dominance and so I started to use a progesterone cream from the USA.


Signs of oestrogen dominance include:

Heavy periods (when I had them).

Period pains and cramping.

Great hair (yay! there are benefits).

Cold hands and feet.

Gallbladder disease.

Breast tenderness.

Memory loss.

Mood swings.

Water retention.

Fat gain around the abdomen, hips and thighs.

Hypoglycaemia.

There are many more, but you get the idea.


I purchased a bio-identical cream from the USA called Wellsprings Serenity. Once the progesterone was well and truly in my system, I started to wake in the night around 2.30am and then could not get to sleep until about 5am. It is not much fun is it trying to complete a days work without any sleep? So, I set about trying to identify what had gone wrong. It had taken about 2 months before this situation occurred so I stopped taking the progesterone cream, and 2 months later, I was sleeping through the night again. It does prove that the cream works, so if you would like to have a look at the benefits of progesterone cream (non HRT) then please check out their website:




5/ Jet lag: A yogi's guide

There lives in Pune, India a legendary yogi called Sri M. He is an enlightened being having fully activated his kundalini many years before when he was a young man. Sri M gives advice on his youtube channel and website, he welcomes visitors from around the world to his ashram for teaching and healing practices.


He travels regularly across the continents and recently shared his secret for ridding the symptoms of jet lag. He said, "When you are suffering from the jet lag, it is wise to try and sleep with your head over-hanging the bed for at least 10 minutes. If you can do this, then you will cure your jet lag." I'd be really interested to see if it would work. The official website of Sri M can be found below:




6/ Do you wake in the middle of the night? Chromium Picolinate could help.

I've been feeling tired lately and I'm also pre-diabetic so I deal with blood sugar issues on a daily basis. I regularly feel tired in the mornings, need to eat between meals...... you know how it goes. Well I listened to a Dr Glidden on youtube, he's an American Naturopathic Doctor and he was talking about sleep and blood sugar issues. I listened intently and I will tell you what I have learned in the hope that it may be of some help.


Chromium Picolinate

This is a necessary mineral that our bodies (amazing as they are) cannot make. Normally, we would get plenty of it from our food items such as broccoli, apples, green beans but our soils are no where near as nutrient dense as they were in the 1950's so our bodies are lacking in several nutrients including this one.


In 1959, chromium picolinate was identified as a mineral that could help the hormone insulin to function properly so it was studied for diabetics. It has since been used all over the world in the treatment of diabetes.


Dr Glidden explained that the CP (as I will call it) helped the insulin to reach the cell more efficiently. We all need insulin, it is the power of our cells and without it we feel tired. He also explained that people who woke in the night, (you know the ones!) and could not get back to sleep, were probably CP deficient.


So, I bought a pack online from the Lindens store. They are a UK brand of supplements with eco friendly packaging and excellent customer service. (£5.99 for 120 tablets @ 1 per day). I took them for 2 weeks and felt a little bit better, by week 3: Wham! (and I don't mean the group). I felt so much better with more energy and I was sleeping for longer. I have included Lindens website below:



Conclusion

If you are having trouble sleeping, there are many people in the same situation and those same people are an infinite source of help and advice. Maybe some of my antics will help you, maybe some won't but what's important ( I feel) is that we can discuss them. If we continue to share our ideas, then things have to improve. Thanks.



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