Insomnia! That’s All I’m Saying

Insomnia: great as a song title, but in real life, a mind numbing, wear you down, make you dread going to bed sort of problem that in mid life, seems to me to be impossible to crack.

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I know that insomnia is menopause related ….but it seems I have exacerbated the problem by moving house.  Since the huge adrenaline surge in August, when our old place sold, insomnia has been my constant companion.

First it was the excitement of the huge life decision, then the constant ‘will we won’t we’ get the bungalow’ feeling.  Worry for 12 weeks about whether either sale would fall through didn’t help one bit.  Then of course the agonising over what needs to be done and choices to be made on décor is still ongoing.

I long ago gave up going to bed with House Beautiful mag. Far too stimulating for the brain! Instead I switched to dull reading material ….but all to no avail.

I’m a big fan of a posh candle…Neom especially, but so far, that’s not cutting it either – although it does smell beautiful.

Wine works….for about three hours!  So that’s no blimmin use and makes me feel rubbish anyway.

Exercise – yes!  Yin yang yoga is a great help – I need to do more of it.  Walking is great and most days I get my 10k steps.  Running however is another issue – my energy levels have plummeted, and although I did a couple of short runs last week, I am nowhere near last summer’s fitness level.

When I analyse what’s keeping me awake, aside from the horrible hot flushes that are par for the course with menopause, it’s the constant whirring of the brain which just will not switch off!  I downloaded the Headspace app last week and have started doing the mini meditation exercises – they do help me feel sleepy so with perseverance this could be a big help.  I also keep a notebook by the bed to empty my thoughts before I sleep.  Some suggest you should write down things in the middle of the night as they come to you, but I don’t think hubby would appreciate me turning the light on and waking him up too!

People recommend a good bed – well my mattress is only a year or so old and I have the best quality white cotton bed linen I could afford so no worries there.  The bedroom is not yet a sanctuary though as it’s still a clash of someone else’s carpet and some shabby wardrobes…but next month the new glossy white fitted wardrobes will be in and we’ll have a pale carpet on the floor – no more shouty patterns.

I have invested in decaff PG Tips and I also enjoy herbal teas too, so no caffeine after mid day is quite easy to put into practice.

Then of course, there are trips to the loo!  I have a big glass of water by the bed and get incredibly thirsty when I can’t sleep so I’m up two or three times in the night. I don’t have bladder weakness luckily, but 61% of women experience bladder weakness at some time in their lives, so TENA Lady has some solutions for anyone that has their sleep disrupted by their bladder:

  • TENA Lady Mini Night with Triple Protection: specially designed to give you a good night’s sleep, these soft and comfortable pads are secure and offer extra security when you are lying down.  High absorption keeps you dry and ensures you’re confident all night long.  They have odour control too, should you be worried about that.
  • TENA Lady Maxi Night: soft, comfortable and secure thanks to their specific shape – they have extra length at the back and offer extra width for higher absorbency.
  • TENA Lady Pants Night: this is a disposable soft cotton pant which looks like everyday underwear and works well for moderate to heavy bladder weakness.

I really hope that this problem will sort itself out in the next 12 months, as it really is wearing me down.  The joys of being a middle aged woman!!

*This is a sponsored post

 

 

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Don’t Stop Me Now (I’m Having Such A Good Time)

I think it’s fair to say that this year I’ve had quite a new experiences and taken on quite a few new challenges.

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  • First time at the ballet (The Nutcracker)
  • Took up cycling
  • Went horse riding
  • Levada walking in Madeira
  • Haggling in Marrakech
  • Moving house!
  • Salsa dancing
  • Visited Tenerife, Morocco, Madeira, Malta, Crete, Menorca and Mallorca
  • Performed Vivaldi’s Gloria with Caldy Valley Voices at Chester Cathedral

I don’t think being in my fifties is holding me back! In fact, a recent survey by TENA Lady showed that when asked, 55% of women said that the best thing about getting older was that they would have more time to embark on new hobbies.  Many however, say they are deterred from doing as they wish by bladder weakness.

One of the most unwelcome things about being past menopause and in your mid fifties, is the occasional ‘oops’ moment, when a trickle of urine escapes when you sneeze or cough too hard.  This has been a taboo subject for years, but goodness knows why.  Most of us experience it at some stage, whether we have given birth or not.

Depending on how it affects you, urinary incontinence can be just the teeniest trickle, to a couple of teaspoons, and how you deal with it can vary too.

TENA Lady have a range of products to protect you against leaks; from the lightest panty liner, to a more secure pair of knickers (called Pants Plus which are breathable, discreet and comfortable enough for everyday use) should you need the extra protection.  All TENA products offer triple protection from leaks, odour and moisture, helping you stay dry, secure and confident

I’m hoping that yoga and Pilates classes have strengthened my pelvic floor to the extent that I will never have a significant problem.  However, as one in three of women experience bladder weakness at some stage in their life, it’s good to know there is something you can do about it and there is absolutely no way it should stop you exercising – even dancing, running or aerobics shouldn’t be out of bounds.

I’m lucky that my yoga and Pilates teacher, Helen at Bodywork Pilates is 100% committed to teaching us the importance of working our pelvic floor.  We don’t just go through the motions in our classes – we learn how each move benefits the body.  Strength and stability is key to keeping yourself if tip top condition as you age, and this applies just as much to the muscles that hold you together internally as it does to the skeleton that keeps you upright.

I’m loving being 56.  My mantra in life is to keep learning, keep doing and be excited about new adventures.  I’m always planning my next trip!  Coming up in the next three months (apart from the HUGE moving house adventure) is a rail tour of Andalucia, a trip to see Swan Lake and seeing Queen with Adam Lambert in concert.

Happy days.

*this post is sponsored

 

 

 

 

 

Mini Break Anyone?

I love everything about a mini break, from the planning, the packing, the experience, and then blogging about it afterwards.

With only five weeks to go until my New York mini break, I’ve started thinking about getting the most out of my packing, deciding what to take that won’t weigh me down (and more importantly, leave room for that all important shopping!).

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When TENA Lady* asked me about my top tips for a weekend break, I was onto it straight away!

Here are some of my must have products for a few days away:

Shampoo and conditioner: I have mad curly hair, so never rely on hotel freebies as they can result in a frizzy mess.

Body lotion: I never skimp on this and hate the nasty stuff you often get in hotels, although to be fair, I’ve been to some fabulous hotels in the UK where the products are amazing.

Solid foundation compact: I like a ‘made up’ look in the evening, although I rarely bother with make up in the day.  This solid foundation travels well and can be kept in your bag for touch ups.

Clinique City Block: I always take a good SPF moisturiser and this one is a firm favourite.

Clinique minis: Saved from bonus packs, these are perfect for travel.

Make up palette: Saves room but still gives you lots of options.

I may well indulge in some make up or skincare in NYC as I love to try something new, so I’ll let you know about my finds!

*TENA Lady is the UK’s number one female bladder weakness brand. Their recent survey into bladder weakness found up to half of all British women (47 per cent) have experienced bladder weakness, meaning it’s likely to have affected quite a few of us.

Why not take a look at the TENA website for more information and free product samples: http://www.tena.co.uk/women/

Bladder Weakness: Why Don’t We Talk About It?

When I was studying for my diploma in aromatherapy, we had a talk from a nurse about pregnancy and how to use essential oils in each trimester.  As part of this lecture, she covered a subject which you don’t hear much about: bladder weakness.

I’ve never been pregnant so I didn’t appreciate quite how many women were affected post pregnancy, but also, I had no idea that my own little habit of having a ‘just in case’ wee could possibly cause me a problem in later years.  Her advice was never to go just because you think you should, but go only when your body is actually telling you, as you can train your bladder into not working to its full capacity, just as you can train it to work properly by using common sense.

I’m glad I took her advice because years later, long bus and train journeys hold no fear for me and waking up in the night to visit the loo doesn’t happen too often, but for many people it does, and we simply don’t talk about it.

I for one had never had a conversation with my friends about it until TENA Lady asked me to do this piece for my blog. So I did a quick and unscientific poll.   It seems that it’s not only post pregnancy that you can suffer an embarrassing leak when exercising, laughing or sneezing, but also during and after menopause (oh no!) even if you have not had a pregnancy.

You can be given medication to help and one lady knew someone who had had botox (who knew?) to sort it out.    As for self help, of course we all know about pelvic floor exercises and how you should be doing them whilst standing in the supermarket queue, but seriously, do you ever remember?  The only time I remember my pelvic floor is during Pilates and Yoga classes when you are constantly reminded to pull in and up.

Interestingly it had never occurred to me that bladder weakness could affect your sleep, but of course, if you can’t relax and drop off, or you are awake multiple times then it is going to be an issue.  There are lots of tips to get off to sleep, but TENA Lady offers a product which may help.

This is what TENA Lady say about their product:

For extra peace of mind, TENA Lady Maxi Night with Lie Down Protection gives you Triple Protection from leaks, odour and moisture. With additional length and width at the back for extra coverage and security, TENA Lady Maxi Night is specifically designed to give you confidence that lasts all night long.

You can get a free sample from http://www.tena.co.uk/women/

They offer lots of advice and tips on their website for getting a blissful night’s sleep, and I agree wholeheartedly with the recommendation to avoid caffeine and of course use essential oils such as lavender pre bedtime.  A word of caution with lavender though, you can use too much and it will act as a stimulant, so use sparingly and maybe try frankincense or vetiver as an alternative.

Sweet dreams everyone!