How to get a better night sleep, even during the menopause!
Women in particular struggle with sleep deprivation. From caring for a newborn to hot sweats during the menopause. Or struggling with unseen illnesses such as underactive thyroids, where you can sleep all afternoon but as soon as your head hits the pillow they are wide awake.
And now just as life is supposed to be slowing down we are hit with a hormone imbalance, the menopause. What with night sweats, restless legs and anxiety we find that those eight hours of pure rest become as sporadic as a frog trying to get away from a lawnmower. But what causes this, and is there anything that we can do to help ourselves?
Sleep is so underrated in today’s society. We live in a culture that tells us that our days should never end. That we can squeeze in that extra hour on that project that is killing our joy.
Well let’s begin by looking at what actually causes the night sweats. When we begin our menopause journey and estrogen and progesterone levels start to reduce it may cause confusion within the brains hypothalamus. The part of the brain that regulates the bodies temperature.
Having said that not all women suffer from hot sweats, and so this may not be the reason as to why sleep patterns are disturbed.
It could be that there is an increase in anxiety or low mood. And as we all know the worst time to start thinking about something is just before we go to bed. Yet this is the time we seem to choose to do so.
That word choice has a lot to play in the decisions we make about how we deal with may menopausal symptoms. Some elements are yes out of our control, yet there are things that we can do to help ourselves
One of these could be to look at why we are feeling anxious, and if there is something that we can do about a situation then for us to take the upper hand and deal with it.
Or maybe to understand the procedures our body goes through to arrive at feeling so overwhelmed. Once we understand this can become more proactive when it comes to instilling coping mechanisms.
Something as simple as keeping a note pad and pen by the side of the bed may help. So that once a thought enters the mind, write it down and leave it there until the morning. Even if that thought comes into play at 3 am.
Maybe even listen to a podcast, or download an app which helps relax the mind. Often focusing on something completely different can be enough to break a thought pattern.
So what else can we do that will practically help us achieve a better night sleep?
- Wear loose-fitting night clothing, that is if you are unable to sleep naked. Look for breathable fabric such as cotton or bamboo.
- Check the tog and linning of your bedding.Natural down is the best to keep you cool. Maybe invest in a top sheet so that you can throw off your quilt and still have a covering.
- Invest in some good quality bedding that will ensure you keep cool.
- Open a window so that the air can flow freely.
- Stay away from spicy food, especially before bed as this is said to increase hot flushes.
- Exercise regularly. Even a daily brisk walk will make a big difference.
- Drink plenty of water, but not before bedtime. And stay away from coffee in the evening as it is said to be a diuretic.
- Put together an evening routine. Such as a nice warm bath, read a book, note down all of your jobs for the next day. Switch off the television and listen to something relaxing, at least half an hour before bed. And make sure that bedtime is more or less the same every evening so that your body gets into a habit. Oh, and ensure that you will be in bed for at least 8 hours. So no going to bed at 12 am when you know you have to be up at 6 am!
- Invest in a Sunrise lamp. This is especially useful in the winter month’s as it is proven to help with SAD and low mood. A sunrise lamp will gradually guide you to sleep with the sunset setting and wake you up without the shrill of a loud alarm clock.
- Put that mobile device away. Having a mobile phone next to the bed really does disturb our sleep. The moment we start to stir, chances are a notification sets off our phones beeping sound or the bright I am here light wakes us up. We are scrolling through our feed wide awake. If you struggle to put it away, set up the sleep mode so that you cannot be disturbed during the night.
- Look at purchasing pillow spray, a sleep mask, or even some blackout curtains.
- Give your bedroom a little update. Maybe purchase a side lamp or a nice throw. Hang all of your clothes up, so that your room is a haven, a place of relaxation and doesn’t resemble those halls of residents you once frequented.