The physical, hormonal and psychological changes that women go through during menopause are known sleep disruptors. It’s common for women to experience insomnia, hot flashes, changes in mood, sleep-disordered breathing or other sleep disorders during this time causing you to wake up on the wrong side of bed all too often.
Sometime between the ages of 40 and 50 (the average age in the U.S. is 51), the levels of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone start to decline and eventually stop producing altogether. The transition is a natural and biological one, but can wreak havoc on women’s sleep quality and patterns. The worst of the sleep problems may occur during perimenopause, which is the period of time prior to menopause when hormone levels and menstrual cycles become more irregular. There’s a good chance that you may continue to have sleep issues throughout the entire transition and even afterward.
While there is no “magic cure” to help you sleep better during menopause, there are things you can do that may help:
Move your body during the day. Regular physical activity can help improve sleep quality to help you stay asleep. If you aren’t ready to run a 5k just yet, start with 30 minutes of light movement each day and increase from there. Avoid exercising too close to bedtime.
Focus on eating healthy foods throughout the day. Yes, what you eat can greatly impact your sleep. Consider how different foods can make your body feel. For example, eating a meal with fried foods may cause heartburn or GI discomfort and disrupt sleep. Menopause is an important time to make sure you are nourishing your body as you go through the transition.
Try a sleep aid. NB Pure’s Power Down is a melatonin-free and non-habiting forming supplement that promotes more restful and restorative sleep. With natural, plant-based ingredients like ashwagandha, L-theanine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), chamomile and rhodiola, it’s safe to take as often as needed.
Establish good sleep habits. Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids. Adults will benefit from an established routine just as much as kids. We’re telling our bodies that it’s time to rest. Think of it as setting yourself up for sleepy time success:
- Set a regular bedtime and wake time. Stick to it as much as possible.
- Turn off all electronics (phones, TV, tablets, etc.) at least 30 minutes before bed.
- Take time to wind down and calm your mind.
- Whether it’s mediating, listening to peaceful music, spraying lavender on your bed sheets, taking a warm bath or giving yourself an at-home facial, find something to relax you and ease tension.
Maintain a comfortable sleep environment. Invest in luxuriously comfortable, lightweight and breathable pajamas. Keep the room cool with a fan and an extra fan if you need it to find the temperature that’s right for you if a hot flash occurs. When it comes to bedding, set the bed up so it’s easy to remove or add layers in the night as needed. Use lavender essential oil or spray onto your sheets.
Invest in a really good pillow. This can make a huge difference in sleep quality. As most people have experienced at some point in their lives, an uncomfortable pillow will keep you tossing and turning all night. The right body pillow may also help you find a comfortable spot. The menopause transition can last for years so the investment will be well worth it.
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon or evening. Enjoying a cup of hot tea before bed may help you power down, just make sure it’s a caffeine-free brew.
Of course, these strategies are not one-size-fits-all solutions. It may take time, trial and error to find what works best for your individual needs. It’s important to be patient with yourself during this major life transition.