How to sleep well in spite of menopause

Aug 17th, 2022 | By | Category: Health & Fitness

Menopause, which typically begins between the ages of 45 and 55 and can last as long as 14 years, affects every woman differently. Some can’t sleep.

Dr. Allie Hare, a consultant in sleep and respiratory medicine, noted insomnia can often  occur during menopause, despite it being one of its less-known symptoms.

Jessica Hanley, founder of luxury linen bedding and sleep brand Piglet in Bed has pulled together some top tips for getting a good night’s sleep when experiencing night sweats from menopause.

Get into a routine.

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (when possible) for the best sleep quality. A good night’s sleep is one of the best things to alleviate general symptoms of menopause and is vital for preventing other health conditions.

Avoid napping if you can! Hot flushes and menopause can make us feel more tired during the day but napping can make it even harder to fall asleep at night.

Maxine Brady, a blogger and interior stylist with her own menopausal experiences, with uses a Fitbit fitness watch to track her bedtimes. “I track my sleep and make sure I set regular bedtimes and wake up times,” she said.

Keep your bedroom ventilated and cool.

Dr Neil Stanley, a sleep expert and author of the book “How to Sleep Well,”  said the ideal temperature 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, “although this is a matter of personal preference.”

Other ways to keep cool and hopefully prevent a sleepless night include leaving a bedroom window open, especially during the spring and summer months. During the winter, or if you live on a noisy street, use a quiet fan to circulate the air around your room. And try leaving the bedroom door ajar to help prevent the room from feeling stuffy.

Try linen bed sheets.

According to researchers in France, linen achieved the highest score for airflow through the fabric in comparison to other regularly used bedding materials.

Bradywho has struggled with skin sensitivity in her menopause, said linen sheetsfeel nice on my skin,” and their natural fibers “help with sweat-wicking so that my skin can breathe. I don’t sweat as much as I used to.”

Wearing linen pajamas helps much the same way,

Sleep in darkness.

This may sound obvious to some, but keeping your room dark is essential for a good night’s sleep.  Consider investing in black-out blinds or curtains. An eye mask will keep the light out of your eyes in the morning and throughout the night, especially if your bedtime isn’t in sync with your family or partner.

Wear good-quality pajamas.

Maxine Brady house, Brighton

We do not sleep well if our skin feels wet from sweat – and any woman experiencing hot flushes at nighttime will be well aware of this. Linen rapidly absorbs moisture and is the best material to help keep your skin dry at night. What’s more, the soft, fresh feel of linen will help to instill the feeling of well-being, a necessary pre-condition for sleep.

Hydrate before bed.

Drink enough water throughout the day to prepare your body for a good night’s sleep and alleviate some symptoms of menopause, including dryness. But avoid drinking large amounts of water just before turning in, as you don’t want to end up running to the bathroom all night long. And avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee or cola for a few hours before you go to bed, and limit any beverages which have high volumes of sugar.

“Caffeine is a stimulant, and different people have different sensitivities to its effects. For some people, even a small amount of caffeine early in the day is enough to cause problems falling asleep 10 to 12 hours later,” Stanley said.

Put your phone to bed.

Scrolling endlessly on your cell phone before bed is a bad idea at any age, The screen emits blue light, signaling your brain that it’s still daytime, knocking your body clock out of sync, and preventing you from being able to easily doze off. Try to switch off your phone an hour or so before bed to let your eyes rest, and give you some much-needed wind-down time.

 

YOU KNOW YOU HAVE MENOPAUSE WHEN …

According to the National Institutes of Health, menopause affects each woman uniquely and in various ways. Their bodies use energy differently, fat cells change, and they gain weight, among other physical changes

Because they may be caused by changing hormone levels, the frequency and severity of symptoms is unpredictable. Signs and symptoms at various stages of menopause include:

  • Hot flashes. A sudden feeling of heat in the upper body, lasting between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. Face and neck flushed, red blotches on chest, back and arms. Can continue for many years.
  • Loss of bladder control–incontinence. Around midlife, some women start having trouble getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Poor sleep. Can’t fall asleep easily, wake too early, night sweats.
  • Vaginal pain during sexual intercourse, due to dryness.
  • Moodier or more irritable.
  • Bodily changes such as thinner skin, stiff and achy joints and muscles. Headaches, and heart palpitations are also possible.

Consulting with a doctor is recommended for treatment of menopausal symptoms. More information on the subject is available from the North American Menopause Society (menopause.org, 440-442-7550) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (acog.org, 800-673-8444.

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