Women have it tough. We are born onto a hormonal roller coaster ride that we cannot get off and we are constantly adjusting to the wavering hormonal changes that our body goes through. One significant life stage that every woman must face is menopause. Each woman’s experience is unique, with both positives and negatives sides to this milestone.
Menopause marks the permanent end of fertility and menstruation, and while it can cause unwanted symptoms, it is a completely natural biological process that is necessarily a problem that needs to be solved but rather something that should be managed. Many women who experience menopause experience symptoms such as; mood swings, hot flashes, insomnia, depression and anxiety, all caused by the decline in female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
What does menopause do to my sleep?
For many women, menopause results in hot flashes, which causes them to feel the heat all over the body, accompanied by excessive sweating. Hot flashes can cause women to wake-up during the night, interrupting sleep and affecting sleep quality. Menopausal women generally experience:
- Shorter total sleep times by approximately 2 hours
- Shallower or lighter sleep (less Slow Wave Sleep)
- Trouble maintaining sleep rather than initial falling asleep
- Especially worse in the second part of the night and they can take almost 4 times longer to fall back asleep
- These menopausal related sleep problems can last beyond menopause and be compounded by age-related circadian rhythm processes that disrupt sleep
The constant interruption to sleep and frequent awakenings leads to many women experiencing fatigue during the day. This can lead to an exacerbation of a woman’s existing menopausal symptoms, increasing irritability, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.
What can we do?
- Cooldown – Open the windows, use a light duvet or use a fan or air conditioning. Keep your evening attire light and breathable
- Make your bedroom a sleep haven – nice sheets, good curtains, no clutter or TV, quiet, some organic essential oils such as lavender.
- Eat foods that help manage Menopause symptoms such as; organic fruits and vegetables (particularly broccoli, broccoli sprouts, and cabbage), high fiber foods (nuts, ancient grains, seeds, and legumes), and foods high in omega-3 fats (salmon, sardines and flaxseed oil). Make sure to also be drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day.
- Try relaxing breathing/meditation before bed – 5 minutes of mindful breathing from your belly. Pop on some relaxing music and place your hands on your stomach to feel it rising and falling.
- Supplementation – certain vitamins and minerals have been shown scientifically to help. Especially Vitamin B5, B6, Magnesium and Vitamin C – preferably at once.
If you struggle with your sleep and want help and guidance from a trained professional, call us on 0800 345 999 to discuss booking a consultation with our Naturopathic Doctor. Easy payment plans are available.