The Medical Minute

July 8, 2022

MBU's Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences

By: Christine Flory, MBU Medical Health/Wellness Navigator

Sleep can be elusive, can’t it? Many of us are stressed to the max following the global pandemic, and our mental health and sleep have suffered greatly.

MBU's Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences

Do you find yourself tossing and turning to fall asleep, or waking frequently during the night? Maybe you’re tired all day, but wired when it’s time for bed?

If you’re nodding your head “yes” to one or all of these questions, you’re not alone!

Especially if you’re a woman going through perimenopause or menopause, the shift in estrogen and progesterone can wreak havoc on your sleep cycles.

Sleep is the key to balancing hormones, repairing and rebuilding muscle, and recalibrating many of the systems of our body. According to sleep researchers at Johns Hopkins University, not getting adequate sleep (7–9 hours per night) can increase your risk for:

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes (by nearly three times)
  • Developing heart disease (by 48%)
  • Dementia, anxiety, forgetfulness, and irritability

But what can you do? I have a few actionable tools you can implement to start having better quality sleep:

  • Declutter your bedroom.
  • Keep it cool: 60–68 degrees at night.
  • Set an alarm to get to bed. Work backwards from when you wake up. For example, need to be up by 6 a.m.? Get to bed by 10:30 p.m. to be asleep by 11 p.m.
  • Stretch, read, or destress before bed. Take five minutes.
  • Do a brain dump – write out on paper what’s bothering you, or your to-do list for the next day.
  • Turn off notifications for work and personal email after a certain time at night.
  • Turn off electronics 30 minutes prior to bed.

Which idea on this list will you try first? Start with one and adjust it to meet your unique needs and lifestyle. Then you can create sustainable change.

About the Author

Christine Flory is the medical health and wellness navigator at MBU. She is an ACSM-certified personal trainer and nationally board-certified health and wellness coach. Her additional credentials include a moderate eating nutrition specialist through the @Moderation365 program; a level 1-certified yoga instructor through YogaFit; and a level 1-certified nutrition science coach through Precision Nutrition.