Perimenopause Paper 2: The Rhythm of Sleep

Circadian rhythm is the 24 hour inter clock that runs in the the brain’s background and cycles between consciousness and rest. What happens when we’re thrown off that rhythm?

Last week I ended a 9 day juice cleanse. I used to do juice cleanses when frequently when I was a cook in a vegan cafe in my mid thirties. I loved cooking at that cafe. It was the dawning age of Veganism. It was like a special vegan clique, we’d do all kinds of juice fasts and cleanses with different wellness practitioners and would also promote new recipes through cleanse package process. It was a fantastic marketing tactic with low food cost and high profit return. We’d do wheatgrass shots and we had our own scoby culture for Kombucha. The energy was electric, dramatic. It’s like we were on a natural high. But coming down from the high was this total low. And my low was an active low.

I got mean. I would snap at people, forget things be really moody, angry, and passive aggressive. People who worked with me, hated me because I was inconsistent. One moment super nice, the next super evil. I hated the people I worked with because they were inconsistent, passive aggressive and moody. In hindsight, I think we were all hangry and tired.

It was after a huge blow up with one of my sous chefs that he said to me… “Yo chef, juice cleansing…don’t look good on you.”

He was right. I stopped working at that cafe went to back to school and became a health coach. During my studies, I came across the teachings of the Weston Price Institute which advocates for healthy fats and grass fed and real free range animal protein.

https://www.westonaprice.org/

I remember the first night I made burgers for my boyfriend at the time and I made of local grass fed beef, lamb and organic local pork ground fresh at the butcher. The buns were local baked in Brooklyn, the tomatoes and mixed greens and mushrooms were from the Park Slope Food Co-op… and we had this lemonade that we had gotten from someone at the farmer’s market. I had been vegetarian for like 14 years at that time. That was the first burger I had in 14 years and it was beyond delicious. I can’t explain how my body just incorporated that meal into my system and just relaxed in a way I hadn’t relaxed in literally years. That night I slept beautifully. I woke up feeling literally like a new person. My ex even noticed the difference…I was kind. Listen, everything in my blog is just my personal opinion from my experience. I’m not a doctor. I do think that bio individuality, which means each individual thrives on different styles of eating and that style of eating can evolve throughout a lifetime, makes a lot of common sense.

Bio-individuality

I mix up my eating styles as my body evolves through my life transitions. Being vegetarian and vegan from age 27-40 was healing for the first 8-10 years. My active lifestyle included West African Dance 5 days a week, capoeira several times a week, yoga, 5 rhythms dance twice a week , going out to dance in clubs once a week… that was a BLAST but it did take a toll on my body.

So you may ask why am I sharing this story when talking about circadian rhythms? The 9 day cleanse disrupted my circadian rhythm and my perimenopause symptoms were more prominent when I went without the proper nourishment.

I’ve been eating animal protein the past 5 years. I took a break from eating animal protein earlier this summer and saw that the protein from veggies was not enough protein for me to effectively manage my perimenopause symptoms. My most recent experiment with my friend Jessica Otter’s 9 day juice cleanse was helped create clarity about what my body needs for nourishment right now.

The positives of the cleanse were, I used my meditation practice, my writing practice and the daily meditations that Jessica provided, to deal with my hanger. I was determined not to take my situation out on other people. (Meaning I wasn’t acting like an asshole, then making an excuse that I was on a cleanse, expecting people to let me off the hook, for being an asshole.)

Instead of being quick to respond to things that pissed me off, I paused. I reminded myself that my feelings are not facts and I gave people the benefit of the doubt before reacting. I also stayed away from people. Seriously. I cuddled in and practiced yoga at home, watched my HBO go, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Etc, and kept my interactions with people to the minimum and when I did interact with close family, I did so mindfully.

Going full on cleanse for 9 days, I had headaches. I noticed my temper was super short. I was operating at a baseline of anger, I was hangry and was dealing with insomnia. I’d get to sleep at around midnight and wake up at 2 am unable to get back to sleep. It was a combination of my hormones from perimenopause and the lack of protein while doing the cleanse.

As soon as I went off the cleanse two days ago, I had some delicious veggie bowl with free range chicken from this local Restaruant called True Food, the headache went away and that night I slept 6 hours. The next day I had a little grass fed steak salad and I slept my full 8 hours and woke up totally feeling like myself again.

https://ouraring.com/find-your-own-circadian-rhythm/

If you’re suffering from Perimenopause based insomnia after seeing your doctor, try becoming a detective and ask your body some questions.

START A PERIMENOPAUSE SLEEP INVESTIGATION ASK:

What if I try changing my bed time?

What happens if I try a juice cleanse for 2 days?

What happens if I try eating fish for a few days and HITT training a few days?

What happens if I try rotating proteins and scheduling cardio, weight training , yoga and swimming?

What happens if I try changing when I go to sleep?

I gotta admit, I’m staying in the bedroom where I grew up and my energy is not in my room. So, I did some energy work some sleep magic to help me along. I’ll share the specific “Witchy”rituals in next weeks blog.

Man.. don’t look at me like that!

Oh all right here’s one little goodie that deals with crystal healing:

Okay it seriously, last thing, here’s some general tips to try if you find yourself not sleeping while dealing with perimenopause.

Regular consumption of alcohol can rob us of a good night’s sleep. Consider limiting libations when struggling with sleep issues.

Clutter and overly ornate decor, storing things under the bed electronics, and an over abundance of reading material in the may cause unrest. So… you might need to get rid of some old stuff to downsize and help you rest easy.

Too many mirrors in the bedroom and LED lights trick our brain into thinking it’s still daylight and prevent us from winding down.

Cut back on Caffeine

Limit Screen Viewing

Regular exercise brings clarity and provides enough physical work to make us want to go to bed when we get home!

Power downnight time meditation.

On my last night of the cleanse, I actually did some rituals, used some essential oils and made some physical changes in my room in order to help me sleep better and I gotta confess…I did add some sleep time when I did these rituals!

Next week I’m going into full on hippie healer mode and will share some totally witchy sleep rituals to help with sleep. I’m agnostic, I’m not a shaman or any special being, I just like to read and my 23 years living in New York City and hanging around the “spiritual/yoga/dance” communities I’ve had experiences trying all kinds of fun new age stuff that I love to share with folks for fun. So next week is all about sleep rituals!

Sleep medicine crystals and stones

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Ashe

J9

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About visAbleblackwoman

Making Black Women’s stories visible to preserve our legacies.
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