Among the many symptoms that accompany peri-menopause and menopause, insomnia is often the most disruptive. Sleep deprivation not only makes you feel drained, it also impacts your mood, memory, motivation and productivity . It’s estimated that 40 percent of women will experience insomnia during the menopausal years. This debilitating symptom typically lasts one to two years.
Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do right now to help you sleep better and manage menopausal symptoms.
8 tips to help you sleep soundly
Turn off the lights. First things first, create an environment that invites you to sleep and relax. Keep your room dark and quiet and use it as a place to sleep; don’t use it for watching TV, doing computer work or other activities associated with wakefulness. Did you know, for example, that electronics – TV, cellphones, tablets, radios – can negatively impact your sleeping patterns? The light exposure from computer screens (and other screens) suppresses melatonin, a hormone that tells the brain it’s time to sleep. Bed side lamps and open curtains can also impede you from sleeping. In fact, research has also linked bedtime lights to a higher risk of suffering from depression and learning issues. So make sure all amps are turned off and smart phones and tablets are away from the bedside table at least a half an hour before bed time.
Establish a regular bedtime routine. Go to bed at the same time each night and try to get up at the same time in the morning . Try to avoid sleeping in on weekends since doing so can disturb your sleep during the week. Avoid daytime naps that might interfere with nighttime sleep. Following a regular evening routine of brushing your teeth, washing your face and setting your alarm will help set the mood for sleep.
Keep the room temperature cool. A room that’s too cold or too hot can make it difficult to sleep comfortably . As well, hot room temperatures can also trigger night sweats. Sleep wearing loose clothing made of natural fibers.
Avoid alcohol. There’s no question that alcohol can disrupt sleep, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. It also dehydrates you which can worsen fatigue the next day.
If you suffer from insomnia, avoid alcohol for a few weeks to see if your sleep improves. If you do drink, limit your intake to 1 alcoholic drink per day (e.g. 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of sprits, 12 ounces of beer). Drink alcohol with a meal rather than on an empty stomach.
Curb fluids. Stop drinking fluids two hours before bed. This will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up in the night to go to the bathroom. Reduce your liquid intake after 8 pm and go to the washroom before you lay down for the night.
Avoid heavy meals. Don’t eat a heavy meal two hours before bedtime. Research suggests the more fat you eat at your evening meal, the more likely you are to experience sleep disruptions. If you have heartburn, avoid spicy meals which can trigger symptoms and prevent a good night’s sleep. What’s more, various studies have linked late night eating and a lack of sleep to weight gain, so changing your diet help you sleep better and maintain a healthy weight!
Balance your hormones. Many menopausal symptoms are caused by fluctuating hormonal levels. Initiating bio-identical hormone replacement therapy can recalibrate hormones and ease many symptoms including night sweats and sleep disturbances. Talk to your doctor about the potential benefits of BHRT or contact BodyScience Medical for a complimentary consultation.
Get moving. Regular exercise helps you fall asleep faster and relieves stress. Exercise at least three hours before bedtime. Working out right before bed can make falling asleep more difficult.
What tips do you have that help you sleep well? Share with us!