Everyone experiences insomnia at one point or another, and I’m not talking about the I-shouldn’t-have-had-that-double-espresso-shot-before-bed kind of sleeping problem. I’m talking about full-on insomnia that occurs night after night and leaves you looking like The Walking Dead. Unfortunately, when you skid sideways into menopause, it’s not uncommon for insomnia to become the unwanted BFF who short-circuits your dreams.
Most menopausal women I know don’t have a problem falling asleep; they have a problem staying asleep. For me, it’s the demanding bladder, sporadic hot flashes, and the fact that my brain believes 3:00 a.m. is the ideal time to wake up my muse and share some brilliant ideas.
There are different trains of thought on the amount of sleep required to stay healthy. Some people need a solid eight hours to function normally, while others perform best with only five. But one thing is for sure; when you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body lets you know in a variety of ways, such as frequent yawning (which is really just a silent scream from your body to return to your bed). Here are 14 signs that you’re not getting enough sleep:
1. You have the sales pitch from every late night infomercial committed to memory…..and you are now the proud owner of a corduroy cat condo (even though you don’t own a cat).
2. Your feet have created crop circles in the carpet from numerous night time trips between your bed and the bathroom.
3. Every morning your eyes appear bloodshot and your coworkers suspect you’ve been staying up late to party with the spirit of Bob Marley.
4. You toss and turn so much during sleep that you’ve worn bald spots on either side of your head.
5. You’re cheating on your spouse with your new, favorite sleep partner—-Melatonin.
6. Yawning is a chronic problem at work. Each time you yawn, it creates a chain reaction around the office, which lasts two hours and goes several rounds before it stops. I’ll bet you’re yawning right now.
7. Your neck is often sore from craning your head sideways every five minutes to check the glowing numbers on your bedside clock.
8. Other than the Cleveland Clinic, you own the second largest collection of orthotic braces for aching knees, feet, and wrists in your desperate attempt to sleep pain-free at night.
9. You’re always in a fog. You wake up one morning to find your pillow in the refrigerator and a frozen lamb chop in your bed. No amount of coffee is going to improve your brain fog. You will always do stupid shit and be forgetful until you get more sleep.
10. You engage in mental warfare with your brain nightly around 2:00 a.m. The brain doesn’t want to sleep, but you do. You tell your brain to shut up, but it just keeps asking the same questions: “Did you lock the front door? Turn off the stove? Pay the mortgage on time? Did the dog poop when you walked him at 11:00?” No sleep for you until you get out of bed and check all the locks. Well played, brain.
11. Mr. Sandman ran out of sand before he made it to your house, which explains why you have large, empty sand bags under your eyes every morning.
12. You’ve reached the end of your rope and have signed up for a sleep study despite the fact that you will get NO SLEEP at the clinic. How can you, when you’ll be required to wear Medusa-like coils around your head and electrodes attached to your body? What little shut-eye you get will be plagued with seemingly acid-induced dreams that will make you feel like you’re back at Woodstock in 1969.
13. You’ve counted so many sheep at bedtime that you now have a wool sweater with a matching set of mittens. Keep up with the sheep herding, and a free scarf comes next.
14. Although you need 3.0 readers during the day, your night vision is 20/20 since you’ve inherited the sleep cycle of a nocturnal rodent.
Still worried that you’re not getting enough sleep? The good news is that Amazon has a BOGO sale on sheep. You can order as many as you want for counting…..which means you won’t have a shortage of wool sweaters this winter. Sweet dreams!