Sleeping Better Through Menopause: Navigating Sleep Disturbances and Cultivating Healthy Habits
Posted on 19th January 2024 at 13:40
Quality sleep is vital for overall well-being, yet menopause often brings about changes that can disrupt a woman's sleep patterns. Understanding these disturbances, adopting effective sleep hygiene practices, and seeking professional guidance can significantly improve sleep quality during this phase of life.
Understanding Sleep Disturbances during Menopause
Fluctuating hormone levels, particularly declining oestrogen and progesterone can contribute to sleep disruptions. These changes can lead to night sweats, hot flushes, and increased sensitivity to environmental factors, impacting sleep quality.
Night Sweats and Hot Flushes: Episodes of sudden heat and sweating, especially at night, can awaken women, interrupting their sleep cycles and leading to fragmented and insufficient rest.
Mood and Stress: Emotional fluctuations and increased stress levels experienced during menopause can also affect sleep, leading to difficulties in falling or staying asleep.
Certain foods and drinks can promote better sleep by providing nutrients essential to sleep.
Kiwi, cherries, milk, fatty fish, nuts, and rice have been found to aid in relaxation and sleep.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals 2 hours before bed so you are not still trying to digest food as you try to sleep.
If you need to get up to the loo in the night, try not to drink for 2 hours before bed. If you are getting urge during the day as well speak to your Healthcare professional to discuss vaginal oestrogen replacement.
Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule: Establishing a regular sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day helps regulate the body's internal clock, promoting better sleep.
Create a Relaxing Bedtime Ritual: Engage in calming activities before bed, such as reading, taking a warm bath, practicing relaxation exercises, or meditating to signal to your body that it's time to wind down.
Optimise Your Sleep Environment: Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep by keeping it cool, dark, and quiet. Consider using blackout curtains, white noise machines, or earplugs if needed. No television or phone, social media scanning before bed.
Limit Stimulants and Screen Time: Avoid caffeine and electronics at least an hour before bedtime, as these can interfere with your ability to fall asleep due to their stimulating effects.
Practice CBT-i (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia): CBT-i is a structured programme that helps address underlying issues causing sleep disturbances. It focuses on changing negative thoughts and behaviours around sleep, promoting relaxation techniques, and restructuring sleep patterns.
Seeking Professional Help for Sleep Issues
Consulting Healthcare Professionals: If sleep disturbances significantly affect your quality of life, consulting a healthcare professional is crucial. They can assess your symptoms, recommend lifestyle changes, and discuss potential treatments, including hormone therapy if necessary.
Developing Good Sleep Habits: CBT-i is an evidence-based approach that helps individuals develop good sleep habits, improve sleep quality, and manage insomnia. It involves setting consistent sleep schedules, stimulus control techniques, and relaxation strategies to retrain the mind and body for better sleep.
Navigating sleep disturbances during menopause requires a multifaceted approach that includes adopting healthy sleep hygiene practices and seeking professional guidance when needed. Understanding the factors contributing to sleep disruptions and implementing strategies like CBT-i and good sleep habits can significantly improve sleep quality, allowing women to better manage this phase of life with improved rest and vitality.
Remember, individual experiences with sleep during menopause can vary, so finding a personalised approach that works for you is key to achieving better sleep quality and overall well-being.
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