This is how you'll get some sleep.
Perimenopause can suck a big banana.
My wonderful GP doesn’t seem to believe in it much, which is surprising as she is a phenomenal GP with everything else.
She says I’m too young and won’t be ponying up with the patches till I’m a year without menses.
But you just know when it’s all turning to shit, eh. You can pretty much feel the hormones draining from your body at an alarming rate.
My body operates like a furnace. Periods are all over the show. Moods are an unpredictable clash of rage and joy. Brain fog is real. Sleep is a pipe dream.
A lot of my mates are in a similar limbo. Freaked out about what’s to come, thinking it’s now or never for attempting to get healthier so they can stave off some of the symptoms.
And you know, we’ve talked about this before. How to be successful in getting healthier, there’s a bunch of habits you need to master before you start thinking of changing your diet and upping your exercise. And back then when I didn’t know what I know now, it all seemed so easy to do these things. But what I know now, that I didn’t know back then, that parroting what I had learned at PN was not only going to be completely unhelpful, but it would probably build up a decent amount of untapped rage for those in peri land or beyond - largely because not very many things “work” in order to feel better or figure out the bloat or the sore joints. It all pretty much sucks.
I mean, I’m there now and all of the habits that I said were pretty simple to nail are absolutely not.
From memory, those habits were about hydration, managing stress, and improving sleep.
I also made it sound quite easy and straightforward when it isn’t. Like those three things are actually mostly out of your control. The water thing, sure, you can try ram 2L of water down every day. And you could tell your stressors you no longer subscribe to their narrative, and ask your Dr nicely for a sleeping pill or similar - those things might work, but on the whole it’s not terribly good advice.
So I thought, as some reparation for the shit advice, I’d tell you what I’m actually doing. And what is working. At least where hydration and sleep is headed. I’ve no idea about the stress bit yet.
For the hydration I bought this massive drink bottle and I love it. It lives on my desk permanently, I don’t take it home and it’s helping me get through at least a litre of water every day I’m at work, sometimes 2. I don’t know how, I don’t make up the rules, but this big boi bottle is the solution for me to get the water in. Also, I’ve stopped with the unachievable 2L goals and just drink what I can. Take away the pressure of an unattainable goal and it’s a bit easier. Who knew?
My sleep is unpredictable. If I manage to get to sleep in the first place and am woken up by the dog or a child, it’s impossible for me to get back to sleep. And when that happens I get grumpy and take it out on everyone around me and swear at everything. You do too, eh? Dropped a few F-bombs when no one is around? It’s ok, I’ve got you.
What’s helping though, is spraying my pillow with a lavender pillow spray I get from a business in Queenstown called Miller Road. This is it here and so long as you can tolerate the fragrance of lavender, this stuff will knock you right out. Again, I don’t know how or why, but it works for me, and also my son, beautifully.
As well as the pillow spray I have been using a magnesium spray which I get from a business in Northland that I love called Salt and Oil. They make this fantastic Lavender infused magnesium spray (also comes without the lavender if that fragrance makes you barf). All you do is pop about six sprays on to the soles of your feet. That combined with the pillow spray and I am out like a light, at last count, getting about 5 or 6 solid hours of sleep. And when I am woken in the night by child or dog, getting back to sleep seems to not be as difficult.
I’m also partial to a berry flavoured gaviscon tablet to help me sleep.
Being on my way to perimenopause, and being void of my gallbladder, my lower esophageal sphincter seems to be calling in sick far more frequently than before. And depending on how nutritionally dense my diet has been that day, will determine if I need a bit of help to extinguish the fire in my throat which seems to nearly always occur when I’m getting ready for bed.
Listen. Unless you love all things peppermint, the Gaviscon in peppermint flavour should be avoided in favour of the berry flavour which is really nice. The peppermint one almost tastes what I imagine a peppermint foot scrub would taste like. Plus, the peppermint one keeps me awake all night, berry flavour does not. You can also get the gavs as I affectionately call it, in a liquid form that you can literally keep on your nightstand, taking a sneaky swig of, if needed. No one is judging. I endorse this behaviour if it gets you more sleep.
Stress is the only thing I haven’t managed to fix. Doubt I ever will. Exercise probably does it but honestly, I have done a shit tonne of exercise over the last 10 years and it has amounted to nothing where stress is concerned. When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.
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I've just read Nicky Pelligrino's book Don't Sweat It. It really has some good advice including when your GP won't give you what could potentially help. Why do we have to suffer so long before we can get help? I wish you all the best, I also love the Magnesium spray from Salt & Oil.
Thanks so much for this post - all very relateable and very appreciated!!! I'm sorry you haven't had luck getting HRT from your GP. That sucks. FWIW I was able to get patches at age 45 because my symptoms had become unbearable (all the stuff you mention - insomnia, fatigue, brain fog) and my Dr was clued up on this stuff and happy to prescribe. The patches have helped so much. Maybe it's worth shopping around for someone else to help you through this phase!
Sleep still comes and goes, and I'll be trying some of your recommendations - that spray sounds amazing! X