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Understanding the Connection Between Sleep and Menopause

Menopause can significantly disrupt sleep patterns. This post delves into the relationship between sleep and menopause, offering insights and tips to manage sleep disturbances effectively.

Navigating menopause often means facing a series of physiological changes that can disrupt daily life, with sleep disturbances being among the most common. It was a 3am wake up for me again this morning, a little too common at the moment.  The nexus between sleep and menopause is shaped by hormonal changes (again) that can lead to night sweats, insomnia, restless nights and those all too familiar monkey minds can’t go to sleep nights. 

Sleep deprivation is a torture technique. There are signs as we drive for driver revivers and how dangerous it is to be tired behind the wheel. We’ve probably all had a friend, or maybe it was even us, that thought they were going mad as they navigated the early years with a child that woke lots during the night.  Not sleeping well impacts EVERYTHING so understanding this connection is crucial for managing sleep patterns and maintaining overall health during menopause. 

This blog touches on the impact of menopause on sleep and provides some actionable advice to enhance sleep quality.

The Impact of Hormonal Changes on Sleep

During menopause, the production of oestrogen and progesterone, hormones that help regulate sleep, decreases significantly (it’s the same old story). This decline can lead to difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, and achieving deep sleep. The onset of symptoms like hot flashes / flushes and night sweats further exacerbates this sleep disruption, making it really challenging to get a restful night often enough.

Strategies to Improve Sleep During Menopause

Establish a Regular Sleep Routine:

  1. Consistency is key when it comes to sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help regulate your body's internal clock and improve your sleep quality.

Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment:

  1. Ensure your bedroom is a restful environment. This means a cool, quiet, and dark room. Consider using blackout curtains (my fave), eye masks, or white noise machines to create an ideal sleeping environment.

Mindful Relaxation Techniques:

  1. Practices such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises before bed can reduce stress and prepare your body for sleep. You can read some more tips here on mindfulness.

Avoid Stimulants:

  1. Limit consumption of caffeine and alcohol, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime, as they can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. I know as sad as it sounds, that late night macchiato or drambuie doesn’t actually help our sleep.

Stay Cool:

  1. To combat night sweats, use breathable bed linen (bamboo for the win), lightweight pyjamas (or as you were born), and a fan when needed. Keeping the temperature in your bedroom cooler can also help reduce the severity of hot flashes. Don’t forget that trusty ‘thermometre leg’ that most of us have, thrown outside the bed covers to regulate our temperature. 

The Role of Diet and Exercise

Making sure to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine can also improve sleep quality, and every other part of your life.  However, most of us need to avoid vigorous workouts close to bedtime as they might have the opposite effect. So even if your mood has you wanting to punch something, a Body Combat class is probably not a good idea at 9pm.  And yes, diets rich in a rainbow of fruits & vegetables, and whole grains can improve your overall health and help regulate sleep patterns.

Supplements and Added Extras

In addition to lifestyle changes, certain supplements may help in improving sleep quality during menopause. Magnesium, for example, is known for its ability to promote relaxation and improve sleep outcomes. Similarly, melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles, can be taken in supplement form to help adjust your body's internal clock, especially if you're struggling with insomnia. However, it's important to consult with your doctor before starting any new supplement. Some herbal remedies like valerian root and chamomile tea are popular natural sleep aids that many find helpful. I love my sleepytime tea from Celestial, especially in winter, warms me up and helps me to feel ready for sleep. 

You can also try our Be Calm Relaxing Mood Mist at nighttime before going to sleep or when you wake and are having difficulty getting back to lala land.

While menopause can disrupt sleep, understanding and addressing the underlying factors can greatly improve sleep quality. Implementing these strategies not only enhances sleep but also contributes to better health and well-being during menopause. 

The photo of our cat Ariel was used, because pets are much cuter asleep than us humans! Oh and sometimes it helps to think like a cat - able to sleep anywhere!

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