Do you struggle to fall or stay asleep? Are you restless at night? Do you find yourself saying, I’ll sleep when I am dead? Approximately 35% of Americans reported sleeping less than the minimum recommended 7 hours a night. That is 1 in every 3 adults! Research shows, this is not just a problem in the U.S., but worldwide!
Even though you may be struggling with low AMH, high FSH, premature ovarian insufficiency, or diminished ovarian reserve – it is not about focusing on the fertility diagnosis. It’s crucial to look at the whole body to address healing opportunities that can help your chances of a successful pregnancy.
But why do we need 7-9 hours of sleep as adults? Simply put without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly. At the surface level, poor sleep is linked to several undesirable side effects including:
- Weakened immune system
- Increased anxiety + depression
- Short temper
- Excess weight gain
- Elevated levels of stress
- Decreased ability to manage stress
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Longer healing duration for colds and sickness
- Reduced desire for intimacy or sexual activity
These side effects can also result in poor decision making, overall frustration, and an immense feeling of defeat. But what can we do about it? If you are reading this, chances are you have already tried multiple different solutions.
Many people start with over the counter medications like Zzzquil. Some people choose to use Tylenol PM or prescription sleep aids. However, these options cover up the root cause instead of digging into what is disrupting your sleep. Also, for most people we know, it only offers temporary relief or no relief at all. We won’t even get into the additional side effects these options could have on your sleep and overall health.
The real problem is:
- Our phones + TVs are massive barriers to sound sleep and no one wants to talk about it.
- We want to be in control of your schedule and we make too many changes to when we sleep.
- Most of us don’t know how to turn our brains off or the volume down.
- We are all hyped up on caffeine.
- There isn’t much any of us do to decompress, destress and release tension.
The Solution: Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis. These habits and practices include:
- Sleeping at night when it is dark outside
- Ditching all electronic screens at least 30 minutes but ideally 1 hour before bed
- Removing all electronics from the bedroom altogether
- Making your bedroom + body cool
- Reading a light-hearted book
- Avoiding large meals or drinks before bed
- Taking a magnesium supplement
- Doing a guided meditation
- Listening to a sound machine
- Writing down your thoughts
- Avoiding caffeine + alcohol
- Drinking herbal teas instead
- Taking 3 really deep and intentional breaths
- Journalling out your thoughts and to do lists
- Practicing the waterfall inversion where you lie on the floor against a wall with your legs up
If you are reading this list and are screaming “I have tried all this,” We see you! We hear you! Instead of focusing on habits, we encourage you to ask yourself some questions. You can journal these out, talk to yourself or go for a walk where you think about each and every one.
- What new or excess stress do I have in my life right now?
- What is going on in my life?
- What happened today?
- What is on my mind?
- What is on my to-do list?
- What am I doing to take care of myself?
This exercise is for observation, not self blame. Instead, notice and show yourself self-compassion. Notice if you realize anything new coming up or if you can finally recognize that the weight of your responsibilities or commitments is taking a toll on your life. What can you do to show up for yourself?
If you haven’t yet written out what you are thinking, grab a journal or a piece of paper and begin writing. Just free write whatever is coming up for you. Write about your stress, your day, the thoughts that are rushing through your mind. Write your to do list down so you don’t worry about forgetting anything. Write anything you need to remember. Write it all down. Then notice how you feel. Then ask yourself one final question, what is one thing I can do each night to take care of myself before bed? Write it down and stick to it.
When All Else Fails: Focus on Rest
As we lay in bed, sometimes our fear of not sleeping, getting enough sleep, or waking up in the middle of the night grows dramatically and prevents our minds from slowing down at all. When this happens, take a deep breath and remember, rest can be just as supportive as sleep if you can’t sleep. Breathe into that belief and allow yourself to just rest with no agenda. Just rest.
Remember, if we don’t focus on getting 7-9 hours of sleep there are many factors at play that could directly impact your chances of getting pregnant. Sleep is one of the very first things we discuss with our clients and we encourage you to make it a top priority. To learn more about how to optimize sleep to improvee your chances of getting pregnant naturally, book a consultation here.
Blog by Samantha Coffin – Fertility Coach at Fab Fertile Inc.