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How Do I Get on a Regular Sleep Schedule?

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From the U.S: I have trouble sleeping, waking up during the night. From what I have read, you should maintain a regular, consistent sleep schedule. When I am stressed I often will be awake for at least an hour. I can’t get enough sleep without catching up. My partner will wake me up early everyday because he thinks it will help me, but I always feel tired. So how do you deal with those short nights?

You are right that getting regular sleep is essential to good health. But you are 50. It is not at all unusual for women’s sleep patterns to change around menopause. Your partner may be well-intended, but it is already clear that his help isn’t helpful. So please see your doctor for some advice. You and your partner may need to adjust your bedtime or your expectations.

If you can’t sleep at night, don’t lie in bed obsessing about it. Do something for 1/2 hour that is tedious but necessary. That may tire you out from the tedium if not from exhaustion. (True confession: I mop the kitchen floor.) At least you will feel like you accomplished something instead of just staring at the ceiling.

Please do see your medical doctor, though — just to be sure that the sleeplessness isn’t a symptom that needs attention.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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