As women begin to undergo menopause, many tend to report similar symptoms such as weight gain, period irregularities and hot flashes. However, one of the most challenging symptoms can be insomnia.
Adults should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. During menopause, meeting this recommendation can be a hard task. Because sleep is so important to our health, insomnia is one symptom that should not go unchecked.
Here are some techniques that may help you in dealing with sleeping problems during menopause.
1) Ditch the Joe
Caffeine is a stimulant. It can not only keep you awake, it can also trigger hot flashes. If you are currently experiencing sleeping problems or hot flashes during the night, it is best to resist the temptation to consume any caffeinated foods.
However, if you’d rather not do without your cup of coffee, it is best to have it early during the day. According to Everyday Health, caffeine can take up to eight hours to leave your system. By having your fix early in the day, you can allow the caffeine to leave your system before it is time to hit the hay.
2) Try relaxation techniques
Going through menopause can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. This combination often leaves women restless during the night. If you find that your worries are keeping you up, try meditation, yoga or simply taking some deep breaths.
According to the Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders, clinical evidence has shown that meditation is a good therapy for panic disorder as well as for generalized anxiety disorder. Meditation can help give you a sense of calmness and balance.
3) Create a schedule and commit to it
Maintaining a similar schedule throughout the week may also help you get a better night’s sleep.
You should try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day. This way, you won’t disrupt your sleep by staying up late one night, then trying to make up for sleep deprivation by sleeping in the next day.
Additionally, taking a walk while using sun protection can be a good way to get some sun exposure and improve the quality of your sleep.
4) Keep it cool
Maintaining your bedroom at a low temperature as this can signal your body that it is time for bed. Additionally, sleeping in a cool environment may also help reduce hot flashes.
Another alternative is to take a hot shower before going to bed. After coming out of the shower, your body should respond to the heat by dropping in temperature.
5) Wear something comfortable
If you deal with hot flashes during the night, you may want to wear your gym clothes to bed. Clothing made to be worn to the gym are made of breathable fabrics that can help absorb moisture. This should help ease night sweats if they’re keeping you up at night.
6) Make time for sex
There are various health benefits of engaging in a safe sex life. Sex can not only help lower your risk of a heart attack by balancing your estrogen and testosterone levels, it can also help you sleep better.
According to WebMD, after reaching an orgasm, a hormone known as prolactin is released. Prolactin is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness.
7) Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Although research studies have shown that long-term use of HRT can increase the risk of blood clots, breast cancer and gallbladder disease, it is still a viable option.
According to Dr. JoAnn Manson, who helped pioneer research on the dangers HRT, menopausal symptoms in some women can be severe enough to still call for this therapy. Short-term use of HRT can help keep these symptoms at bay.
8) Talk to your doctor
When all else fails, consult your doctor. Dealing with menopause can be difficult, so talking to your doctor is important.
If you have experienced problems with sleeping in the past, menopause may not be the source of your insomnia. A doctor can fill you in on better alternatives.
Meditation. Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
7 Tips to Sleep Better With Menopause. Everyday Health. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
10 Ways to Sleep Better During Menopause. Best Health Magazine. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
Reviewed April 28, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith