How is your sleep? Do you feel rested when you wake up? Does it take a while for you to fall asleep? Or are you restless as you sleep? Very often there is a direct link between PCOS and our sleep. There are so many studies that have been conducted on this subject. PCOS and Sleep Apnea related studies. Not just that but day time sleepiness increases as well. Chances are that you too have been worried about the quality of your sleep. The problem is that it turns into a chicken and egg kind of story.
Did you have poor sleep habits before you got diagnosed with PCOS or did you notice your sleep has worsened after you got diagnosed with it? The problem now becomes bigger as it turns into a cycle. One thing leads into the other and thus the effect compounds. Now there are a number of medical approaches to solving this problem that I will not be getting into. Instead I want to talk about your habits.
Being a habit coach I work with people and help them understand the little things that they do everyday and how they compound and grow to change their life. In the same way, the habits that I will be suggesting today are things you can begin incorporating into your life from tonight! Small changes that will slowly improve your sleep and in effect everything else. Sleep is something that is absolutely essential for our body and our health. Unfortunately, we relegated it right to the back of the pile. We will focus on exercise and supplements before we even begin to worry about our sleep. We need to understand that sleep is not wasted time. Sleep is healing time and sleep is growth time. It is actually the busiest time for our body.
The first habit is what I call a sleep alarm. Very often we get so lost or engrossed doing things at night that we forget it is time to sleep. Then in that state of excitement we try crawling into bed and forcing ourselves to sleep. The sleep alarm is an alarm you set 1 hour before you want to go to bed. As soon as the alarm goes off you put away the laptops and screens and begin your night time routines. So do this now. Pull out your alarm app and set a recurring alarm for 1 hour before bed time.
The second habit starts by planning your sleep routine. Do this by switching off all the bright lights around, creating a dim dark cozy atmosphere. Then wash your face, change into your pajamas. Find a snug spot on a sofa or chair somewhere. We are trying to calm ourselves to sleep.Instead of what we normally do, which is to tire ourselves to sleep. We don’t need to watch TV late into the night to feel tired enough so that we can catch some zzzzz. We need to slow things down and allow our mind to drift, wander and relax.
The third habit is called the brain dump. This is so critical for all of you who just can’t stop your brain from thinking, what next what next what next. This is for the racing mind that doesn’t stop when you close your eyes and lay your head down on that pillow. I want you to take out a book and pen. Then sit in a quiet part of your house and just start writing. Write down all the thoughts that are running around in your head. All the ideas dancing around. All the To-do lists that need ticking off. Just dump it on that paper. Phew! When you do this, you will notice a calm that comes over you. You will notice that peace of mind engulf you! All these ideas just wanted to be heard. Once you have written them down, you can tackle them tomorrow peacefully. This is a great way to realise that tension and that over thinking mind.
The last habit I want to share with you is a mindset habit. For most of us the fact that we don’t sleep well becomes a big point of stress. This stress prevents us from sleeping well. This worry of not being able to sleep also keeps you up all night. So I want to share a secret with you. For the next two weeks, don’t worry if you will sleep well or not. Remove that idea from your mind. The only rule is you will not lie down on your bed unless you feel that sleep pressure builds up. You will sit on that comfortable chair and bore yourself. No Netflix, no WhatsApp, no youtube and no Instagram. You can listen to music or a podcast or an audiobook or read a physical paper book.
Only once the deep urge to sleep comes, move to your bed. Lay your head down and drift off. Follow these habits for the next two weeks and let me know how they have helped you. Please reach out and message me on my Instagram I am @ashdindoc or email me at firstname.lastname@example.orgI know and understand that sleep is such a big part of your journey with PCOS and these are a few ways that you can make the journey easier and better.
The above article has been contributed by Ashdin. Ashdin Doctor is a podcaster (Habit Coach podcast), youtuber (awesome180-Habit Coach youtube channel) and the founder of Awesome180, a habit coaching programme. The awesome180 programme focusses on the following fundamental behaviours – sleep quality (not quantity), nutrition (not diet), movement (not exercise), de-stressing, hydration and breathing. Ashdin can be reached at email@example.com