Insomnia and Menopause
Many women have trouble sleeping during the menopause. Here we list 8 solutions to insomnia during menopause for you to try.
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Difficulty sleeping can be one of the more challenging symptoms of menopause
Insomnia is a very common symptom of menopause, but may not always be recognised or identified as such. Sleep changes include difficulty going to sleep or falling asleep quickly only to spring wide-awake several times a night or every hour on the hour.
What causes insomnia during menopause? Do hormones cause insomnia?
Some of this waking can be linked to menopausal symptoms. Anxiety and worry can prevent us getting to sleep, and when we finally get to nod off hot flushes can wake us again. Our sleep may also be disturbed by having to get up during the night to go to the toilet. It is also common to wake in the early hours of the morning, particularly if we go to sleep in an anxious state of mind with niggling worries and concerns. Women often say that they can put up with night sweats, but they can’t cope with the lack of sleep. This continuous lack of sleep can cause us to become depressed.
A time of transition in sleeping habits
Other sleep problems may be related to the fact that perimenopause, like adolescence, is a time of transition in sleep patterns. Typically, this changes again after menopause, when we tend to need less sleep than during our 20s and 30s. Some women find daytime naps help during the transition.
Some solutions for insomnia during menopause
- If night sweats are the main cause of your night time waking then the first thing to do is to try to reduce or eliminate night sweats – click here for some practical solutions.
- Avoid all caffeine, not just at night but during the day as well. Use calming herbal teas such as camomile and lemon balm to relax your mind.
- Consider using herbal tinctures such as Avena Sativa, best taken in warm water before bedtime. Alternatives include Valerian and Passiflora, and they all help to re-establish a good sleeping pattern.
- Look to make changes in diet and nutrition. Eat plenty of lean protein, green vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Eat early in the evening and ideally don’t eat after 6pm. If your digestion is working properly, you will probably sleep better.
- Develop good pre-sleeping habits: a regular sleeping ritual each evening helps set the tone for good sleep. Don’t surf the web or read, watch, or listen to anything that might be disturbing or thought provoking before bedtime. Avoid stressful discussions or difficult phone calls near bedtime. Spend time relaxing before going to bed – this helps to stop the mind from buzzing and we are less likely to be kept awake by stressful thought patterns and their effect on our adrenal glands.
- If you are waking during the night and feeling anxious try to anticipate this problem by writing down worries that are on your mind. Make a list of things you need to do the next day before you go to bed, and then try and forget them. This will help you calm down and means that you do not have everything rushing around in your mind as you try to go to sleep. Keep a journal or notebook beside your bed to jot things down if you wake during the night.
- You may need to improve your sleeping environment. Many people realise that their mattress has lost support and needs to be replaced. Don’t forget that you spend one third of your life asleep. Most mattresses need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years. Maybe indulge in some nice new bed linen. Make sure that your bed is a glorious haven!
- Listen to some guided meditations. If you search on-line you’ll find different voices and lengths of guided meditation search around for one that appeals to you. I like some of the 10 minute guided meditations, you might prefer something longer. Overall – it helps us to get to know ourselves better and consciously decide which solutions work best for us.