Most women I talk with who are going through infertility have difficulty sleeping at least three nights per week. Sleep is so vital to our physical and mental health, and there are many things you can do to prepare for a good night’s sleep. I want to share some tips which can help you improve your sleeping patterns, fall asleep easily, and stay asleep.
Decrease your caffeine intake. Caffeine disrupts your natural sleep cycle. If you consume caffeine during the second half of the day, it is an even bigger obstacle to deep sleep during the night.
Avoid naps during the day until your sleep patterns are stable. If you still need a nap during the day, a 20 minute nap is optimal to re-energize.
Dim the lights in your home as the sun goes down. This signals to your mind that it is time to wind down and transition from your active day into a more relaxing evening. As the sun sets, the pineal gland is able to sense the change in light transmitted through your eyes, and it begins to secrete a hormone, melatonin, to prepare your body for sleep. While eating dinner, light candles and dim your lights. This is not only romantic, it’s also very relaxing.
Although we live in a high-tech world today, it is important to turn off all of your electronic devices for at least one hour before going to bed. These devices are stimulating to the mind and significantly impair the secretion of melatonin due to the strong light they emit. Definitely avoid getting on infertility chat rooms in the evening which can trigger anxiety and worry.
Once you’ve turned off all of your electronics, or do a calming activity such as a gentle yoga practice. Light a candle or incense in your bedroom using scents such as lavender or vanilla that have a very calming and grounding effect. Your brain associates certain scents and aromas with relaxation. If you enjoy taking warm baths, it’s a good idea to do this before going to bed.
Drink a cup of organic milk. Once the milk boils, add a pinch of cardamom, nutmeg and/or cinnamon. Let it cool and add some honey. This drink could help with insomnia. If you are lactose intolerant, use lactose-free milk or a bedtime tea which contains chamomile, valerian or lemon balm.
Practicing alternate nostril breathing at bedtime is a cleansing breath that calms the nervous system and clears and steadies the mind. This is how alternate nostril breathing is done:
Use your right hand to close your nostrils. Tuck your index and middle finger into your nose. Place the thumb by your right nostril and your ring and little fingers by your left nostril.
· Inhale through the left nostril, closing the right nostril with the thumb, and take a long inhalation breath.
· Hold the breath while keeping the nostrils closed for a few seconds.
· Exhale through the right nostril, closing the left nostril with the ring and little fingers, and take a long exhalation.
· Inhale through the right nostril, keeping the left nostril closed with the ring and little fingers and take a long inhalation.
· Hold the breath, closing both nostrils, for several seconds.
· Exhale through the left nostril, keeping the right nostril closed with the thumb, and take a long exhalation.
This is one round of alternate nostril breathing, and I recommend you practice 5 – 10 rounds. It will help you relax your body and mind.
Infertility can be stressful, but getting good nights sleep can ease the stress of infertility and improve your overall health and well being.