My mom always said that I "could fall asleep on a picket fence", and she would be right. Put me in the back seat of a car on a long ride and soon enough I will be out cold. When I board an airplane-no matter how long the ride-I always drift off to dream land shortly after take off. So it was much to my surprise that just as this summer had turned into fall, I found myself awake at some strange hours of the night. I go to bed anywhere between 10:00 and 11:00 PM, usually not waking up until 5 or 6 AM. Lately? I'm awake at 12:30 AM, 2:30 AM and 4:45 AM and so forth. I can always fall back to sleep, but the waking up in the middle of the night is becoming more and more frequent.
I did a bit of research and learned a few valuable things:
- I am a stomach sleeper, which could be part of my problem.Sleeping on your stomach is BAD for several reasons, but the one that really stopped me dead in my tracks is this: Stomach sleeping causes WRINKLES!!! OMG! I tell people all day long how to prevent the forming of new fine lines and wrinkles and I just realized that I am putting my face in jeopardy almost every night! I never really thought about it, but I have been seeing those "pillow marks" or vertical lines on my face and cheeks that just don't fade as quickly as they used to. I also sleep on my side-another wrinkle producer-and the tell tale signs show more on the side you sleep on. Oh the horror!
- Stomach sleeping is also bad for your back and neck. I am always looking for a neck and shoulder massage, now it totally makes sense. This form of sleeping also puts an enormous strain on you spine and spinal strain can cause numbness and tingling. No wonder I sometimes wake up with "dead arm", like my arm has fallen asleep-but I am wide awake. And forget about what it does to your neck? turning your head to the side on your pillow causes your head and spine to be out of alignment, a recipe for more pain.
- Here's the kicker- AGE and STRESS can be a large contributor to "middle insomnia". Great-I've got both of those in spades and I wonder why I'm waking periodically through the night? Alcohol consumption and an underlying condition could also be the answer to waking in the middle of the night. Let's hope there is no underlying condition because I'm not giving up a glass of wine at dinner. Or two.
Bottom line is doctors say that waking in the middle of the night is a normal occurrence but that you should be able to fall back to sleep easily. So far I have been lucky to drift back off to sleep, but I have been more conscious of the position I sleep in. While I am sleeping on my back more frequently, I wonder if this position change may have something to do with the middle of the night waking? Back sleeping is not my sleeping position of choice, but if it means a better night sleep, I will continue to try it.
At most, my face will someday thank me for it, of that I can be sure.