EARLIER this year I had a period where the dreaded insomnia raised its ugly head. Quelle horreur! As a woman whose hormones have been officially declared doolally, I now occasionally go to bed bone tired, then, ping, it’s like I’m wired and wide awake. Then I lie there completely awake for the whole night. Other nights I sleep like a baby but wake wired at 5am, with no hope of further slumber.
What has caused this, apparently, is a decline in oestrogen and progesterone leading to a shortage of melatonin, required for sleep, and serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Then there’s also a surge of cortisol, the stress hormone, causing a racing mind and anxiety. So basically, at a time when you’re ageing and need your beauty sleep more than ever, you’re less likely to get it.
I’ve tried all that stuff I’ve read about lying there and thinking, ‘I’m just going to relax and rest — so what if I don’t sleep?’ – and it’s shit. Not sleeping actually sucks. Thank the Lord for my yoga. Keep practising and you can ease anything!
I’ve introduced a mini yogathon before bed; I do it in my PJs before I slide under the sheets, much to the husband’s amusement.
Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani) is fabulous to practise pre-sleep...
Legs Up The Wall is so restful and totally calms the mind before bed. I don’t do my usual invigorating Ocean Breath when I’m doing pyjama yoga, I just breathe easy and deeply. The pose is also great for headaches plus can help balance blood pressure and soothe arthritic pain. Lower back pain and tired or cramped legs can also benefit but do avoid if you have a heavy period. Some teachers say it can help with menstrual cramps but I see this as an inversion to be avoided at this time of the month.
I sometimes stay in Legs Up The Wall for ten to fifteen minutes. I then finish off in Reclining Goddess (Supta Baddha Konasana).
This lovely hip-opener totally calms and soothes so I can just slide under the covers and pop off to sleep!
In instances where crazy hormones take over and I feel yeuk after a less than satisfactory sleep, I have two skin care saviours. I take a nice hot bath in the morning, light a candle and cleanse my face with Clarins One Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser. The one in the pic is a wee sample I picked up, full size is 125mls and costs £21.00, but lasts for ages. I wouldn’t use this every day as I’m too sensitive for that sort of exfoliation but, a few times a week, it really revives a fatigued complexion. The orange extract ingredient makes it so refreshing and it’s like a pep pill for tired skin.
Then I smooth on a luxurious layer of Unani Dermo Defense Face Mask, £11.36 for 100mls. Unani is a family owned Spanish company that makes lovely natural skincare at reasonable prices. I find this mask so soothing and refreshing — it feels light and gel like but leaves my skin wonderfully hydrated. You can buy this on Glossybox.
Dodgy hormones are a nightmare but a wee bit of pyjama yoga plus these skin care stars can make them bearable. Happy snoozing!