And How to Overcome It
When you first start to go through peri-menopause, all the way through post-menopause, you will begin to have issues falling and staying asleep. Many women report having insomnia throughout their menopause journey.
You may be thinking “Well that doesn’t pertain to me, I don’t have trouble sleeping through the night.”
The truth is that even if you can still sleep through the night, the hormone changes and hot flashes your body is experiencing will affect the quality of sleep you are getting. Frequent sleep interruptions will leave you feeling fatigued during the day.
Lack of sleep will not only lead to depression and anxiety but will also affect your other menopause symptoms. It is essential to recognize the importance of sleep and take necessary steps to make sure you are getting a quality nights sleep.
Natural Sleep Techniques
The first step to increasing your quality of sleep is to address the environment you are sleeping in and your daily habits. I recommend taking the time to make your bedroom a relaxing haven of sleep. Making sure you feel comfortable and safe is key to help you relax at night and fall asleep. Other steps you can take to increase your sleep include;
Keep your room dark and quiet.
Sound and light can interrupt your sleep cycle, even if you don’t wake up completely. If you have a light outside your window, I highly recommend investing in some blackout curtains.
Keep your room cool and wear lightweight clothing to sleep.
Hot flashes can greatly affect your sleep, even if you won’t wake up. Make sure your room is not making those worse. Lightweight clothing and a cool environment will improve your sleep quality. Also, try keeping a cloth in a small bowl of ice next to your bed to help cool you off during hot flashing. Avoid thick, heavy blankets and use a fan to keep the room cool. (Many women report that the white noise of the fan helps them sleep as well.)
Eat small dinner portions.
Eating a large meal before you go to bed will affect your sleep quality. Spicy and acidic foods are known to increase hot flashes, while soy-rich foods can decrease hot flashes. Maintain a healthy diet and track what you are eating. Everyone is different, and certain foods may make your symptoms worse.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before bed.
You likely know that drinking caffeine late in the day can affect your sleep, but you may not have known that alcohol and nicotine can as well. Drinking alcohol before bed will negatively impact your REM cycle. Nicotine is a stimulant which will increase your heart rate and make it difficult to fall and stay asleep.
Reduce stress and anxiety.
I know this one is easier said than done. Inadequate sleep will increase your stress levels which will, in turn, lead to more sleep issues. That is why it is so important to recognize the importance of sleep and stop those cycles before they get out of control. Yoga is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, although exercise will stimulate the body and cause issues falling asleep. Instead, try doing yoga in the mornings and meditation before bed. Meditation is a common way to relax the mind and let go of stress before fall asleep.
Avoid naps during the day.
Making it through the day can be hard but taking a nap can leading to difficulty falling asleep at night. If you need to rest, limit yourself to 20 minutes. I know, this sounds pointless, but a 20-minute rest can give you a quick energy boost, and you won’t leave you feeling groggy.
If you are still experiencing sleep-related issues, it may be time to look at different treatments. Sleep is such an important aspect of menopause and often gets placed on the back burner.
There are also many over-the-counter supplements that can be used to treat sleep issues. If you would like to look into different sleep treatments, make an appointment with your doctor to go over the different options and how they may affect your current symptoms.
If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed, don’t worry. I can help! Check out the Free Online Menopause Workshop and take control of your life with this 4-part video series.