By now we have all heard about the importance of sleeping in a completely dark room. Melatonin, the hormone that tells us to sleep, is very light sensitive. Even a single candle has the effect of reducing the amount of melatonin that is released. And our eyes are especially sensitive to light-anyone who has tried to nap outside on a sunny day can attest to that.
For those of us that live in the city with the prevalence of street lights and neighbours who insist of keeping their porch lights on 24/7, achieving a completely dark room requires some effort.
Many of you may have tried the light blocking curtains or shades, but if you are like me, after a long, cold winter I love to sleep with the windows open and feel a gentle breeze. Not possible with heavy curtains.
So I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be easier to darken my eyes with a sleep mask of sorts, rather than try to darken my entire room. And so began my quest for the perfect sleep mask.
I began my research like most of us do these days, on the internet. There, I found all kinds of sleep masks, but the one I ended up buying was recommended by pilots who fly transatlantic flights. These pilots constantly change time zones and need to sleep at odd times during the day, so a sleep mask that works is critical.
The sleep mask they recommend is called a concave sleep mask because it has concave eye pockets which allows you to blink without your eyelashes touching the sleep mask and disturbing your sleep. Most of the standard sleep masks don’t have this feature and can be irritating to the eyes since they put direct pressure on the eyelid. Plus, this mask is made of foam so it’s lightweight and comfortable to wear. And with it’s adjustable strap, you are able to get a perfect fit so it stays in place.
Concave Sleep Mask
I was sold. I ordered one and have been sleeping like a baby ever since.
Now if I could just get the raccoons to go to sleep. all would be well.
I’m like many women who had their kids when they were older…say late 30′s. Although it seemed like a good idea at the time, since it allowed me to focus on my career and postpone serious responsibility, I have now discovered there is a reason why women may want to have their kids when they’re younger. It’s called menopause.
Just at the point when your kids are entering puberty, you are entering menopause. So when you mix together 1 part menopause, 2 parts puberty and a dash of aging parents…you end up with the recipe for the perfect storm.
Many of my friends are in the same boat and what we all yearn for… is our own apartment. A place to go where everything is clean and tidy and pretty …and relatively hormone free. A place we can call our own. Where dirty dishes end up in the dishwasher and not hidden under beds. Where coats and knapsacks are hung up at the door, not on the floor covering the heat register and the only sounds are those sighs of contentment coming from you.
Not gonna happen anytime soon.
So…how is a menopausal women to cope?
Carve out a space in your home with a lock on the door and when you find the hormone levels in your house are above acceptable levels, give yourself a time out and retreat.
In my last post about all things menopausal, I discussed the painfully funny discovery of acne, post 50. Today I am going to discuss why getting acne at 50 didn’t put me into a state of panic, the way it would have in my teen years or even my twenties.
I just don’t care anymore.
Have I given up? Ready to trade in the fitted jeans for a pair of track pants and a leisurely stroll around Walmart…NO. I just find that now that I have reached…and slightly passed the ripe old age of 50, things that used to send me into a downward spiral don’t have the same effect. Take the other day for instance. I had long hair and went in for a trim. I had showed the hairdresser a photo in a magazine they had in their lounge of a cute short haircut. I don’t remember telling her that I wanted this haircut…just that I though it was cute.
Well, twenty minutes later and the haircut was now on my head. 20 minutes, 6 inches and I couln’t care less. Back in the day that would have sent me to my to room for at least a week all the while calculating to the minute how long it would take to grow back. Fast forward 30 years and I don’t even think I glanced in the mirror when I got home.
Sure, there are a lot of changes that come with getting older, but I think it can be an incredibly liberating time. Why? Because you’re more comfortable in your own skin (even though it is starting to look more like your husbands skin, whiskers and all). What other people think of you matters less…and conversely..what you think of yourself, matters more.
So all those things you had promised you would do for yourself start becoming a reality in your 50′s.
Are hormones the reason. Maybe. Advancing age…possibly. Maybe it’s just the realization that even though the days sometime seem to last forever, the years go by in a heartbeat….and given the finite number of heartbeats that each of us has…I going to spend mine on the important things that make me happy…not the latest pimple or the length of my hair.
Menopause. Just when you gained control of the hot flashes, crazy mood swings and full beard, you discover menopause does indeed have a sense of humour… pimples. Remember how a pimple often was the first sign of an impending period…well guess what? Even when you haven’t had a period in 2 years, the pimples keep coming. Menopause really is the gift that keeps on giving.
So what is a somewhat sane person to do? Well after reading extensively on the subject, I discovered that much like a teenager, the root cause of all these pimples is…you guessed it…hormones. Once you enter the years leading up to and including menopause, your hormones begin the fluctuate leading to breakouts, much like you previously had before your period. Combine this with the fact that as we age, our skin cells turn over (shed) at a much slower rate and you have the perfect storm for a pimple filled face. Not all women experience this, but as we all know, even one pimple, is one too many.
So let’s review the golden rules of skincare and what you can do to keep your acne at bay.
Simple Ways to Minimize Acne
• Wash your face with a mild cleanser twice daily using warm, not hot, water.
• Be careful not to scrub your face, as this may cause more irritation.
• Clean your bed sheets, especially your pillowcase, weekly with mild, chemical-free detergent.
• Do not pick or pop pimples. This may cause secondary bacterial infections and lead to more scarring.
• Only use cosmetics, skin or hair care products, labeled non-comedogenic – meaning they do not clog pores and are less likely to cause acne.
• Keep your hands off your face. Your hands contain dirt and bacteria, which is easily transferred to your face.
• Manage your stress. Although stress doesn’t cause acne it has been shown to aggravate acne, which is why breakouts occur during more stressful times.
• Eat to nourish your skin. Recent studies are now suggesting that high- glycemic foods such as refined grains and processed sugars may, in fact, trigger acne breakouts. Low glycemic foods such as whole grains, lean meat, and fish may keep acne at bay because they stabilize blood sugar and prevent insulin spikes.
• Consider a hair, skin and nail supplement like femMED’s Hair, Skin & Nails to provide essential nutrients for optimal skin.
• For severe cases, where there are multiple lesions or cysts, consult a dermatologist.
• Resist the temptation to treat acne topically without first addressing the underlying cause of breakouts – hormonal imbalance.
For those women suffering from the symptoms of perimenopause or menopause, consider a natural health product, like femMED Hormonal Balance or Menopause Relief.
Well there you have it. Stay tuned for my next blog on why menopause might make you more like a man or as I call it; “Why I Just Don’t Care Anymore”