Menopause Minute: menopause and sleep

Welcome to issue No. 2 |Menopause Minute.

I can’t begin to tell you how many nights I lay awake tossing and turning.

I’ve tried counting sheep, counting backwards, deep breathing, relaxation and reading.

I scroll through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and anything else I can think of hoping to bore myself to sleep.

With each strike of the hour I feel more and more frustratated.

Some nights I feel so irritated I’m tempted to kick my husband outta bed just for sleeping so well.

I’ve tried a wide array of pillows. Lavender oils and spray.

By 5am I usually just give up on sleep and power through the day.

But I miss my sleep.

And when I talk to to doctors about it (women, by the way), they just look at me and nod in agreement and say nothing.

This is troubling to me because menopause can render us vulnerable to major health issues like, heart disease. (We’ll cover this stuff more, later).

So, what’s the deal with menopause and sleep deprivation?

Hormones!

Hormones can and do wreak havoc on the mind and body.

When you’re having your “periods” you have PMS. And when you’re In menopause…you have PMS.

Same acronym, different reasons.

According to National Sleep Foundation during the course of peri-menopause through menopause, a woman’s ovaries gradually decrease production of estrogen and progesterone, a sleep-promoting hormone.

PeriMenopause is the menopause transition and it starts several years before. It’s the time when the ovaries begin to make less estrogen.

The shifting of ratios of hormones can be an unsettling process, sometimes contributing to the inability to fall asleep.

Also, waning levels of estrogen may make you more susceptible to environmental and other factors and stressors which disrupt sleep.

What can I do about it?

Let’s start with some curated simple tips to coping. I think the first on this list is the best place to start.

Exercise. One of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep is to get regular physical activity. But you may need to work out earlier in the day.

Too much activity close to bedtime can make you more awake. Even if you have not exercised regularly in the past, starting to exercise during menopause may help you feel better.

Train your brain. If you wake during the night and can’t get back to sleep, get up and do something relaxing until you’re sleepy again.

Eat healthy. Avoid large meals, especially before bedtime. Maintain a regular, normal weight. Some foods that are spicy or acidic may trigger hot flashes. Try foods rich in soy as they might minimize hot flashes.

Dress in lightweight clothes. Avoid heavy, insulating blankets and think clothes. Consider using a fan or air conditioning to cool the air and increase circulation.

Is you have some tips, I’d love to hear from you. If you like what you read here, please share it. And please, chime in via the comments.

End of article

Sources: National Sleep Foundation, women’s health dot gov

  • 6 Comments Add yours

    1. Lovie Price says:

      i have been an insomniac for decades as i work the nightshift as a nurse. BUT with menopause, broken sleep syndrome has increased dramatically. I believe most of it is due to the constant, unexpected and seemingly random changes our bodies are going though. I would equate it with someone serving on the front lines in Military service. I’m pretty sure they do not sleep well either, and i try to explain this to those who offer me the usual solutions ( with good intent, of course). Menopause is complex, and a complex solution is required. I would definitely have to say learning to meditate regularly and effectively has been of the greatest help. I use Binaural tones. But there are dozens of other things i have cycled through, and many i still do.. Exercise- YES! But also cycling caffeine intake, sometimes mild prescription meds once or twice a week( not every day or they do not work after awhile) environment control ( black out curtains, cool mist humidity, and white noise) and, believe it or not- sleeping on the floor( with a mat,blanket and cooling pillow).I use various essential oils in my soaking baths, drink lots of water ( except before bedtime) and take a Multi vitamin and extra B12. I could probably write a book about insomnia..lol..but this is my 2 cents anyway..thanks for posting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. April says:

        Insomnia is the WORST but right now the aches and pains are getting to me too. Ugh. And YES! Menopause is complex! Gonna have to repost that quote from you lol. I agree with ALL of this. Feeling it all. You should consider writing that book!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I have been in peri menopause since my thirties and I am 48 years old. I suffered insomnia and tried Benadryl and that worked for a while but stopped. I tried melatonin and still worked for a while but I find I need to take a break from it in order to keep it effective. The best thing I have that works best is regular exercise.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. April says:

        Hi Vickie! Thank you for your comment! I appreciate you! 10 years is so disheartening for those of us in the menopause process but you’re not the first to say it. I will be featuring experts on this soon. I’ll be sure to cover this with them. Meanwhile, I’ll be checking out your blog and I hope you’ll keep chiming in! warmest, april

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks! With hot flashes I stay warm even in December 😱

          Liked by 1 person

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