Are you awake all night, and then dragging through the day with toothpicks holding up your eyelids? Then try not to snooze through this one. Sleeplessness can be a real problem for women going through menopause. In fact, the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) lists trouble falling asleep as one of the five main symptoms of menopause. I, suddenly, without any notice, was not sleeping beauty, once perimenopause hit my life!
The Menopause Sleepless Society is a BIG club, Ladies! Why does menopause affect a woman's ability to catch her z's? According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), most women complain of sleeplessness during perimenopause to post-menopause, with about 61% of post-menopausal women continuing to have issues with insomnia. Why does menopause affect a woman's ability to catch her z's? The NSF says it has to do with the hormonal changes -- estrogen and progesterone -- that occur during menopause.
A study conducted in 2013 by scientists at the University of California San Francisco found a lack of sleep can put adults at risk for a variety of chronic health issues. And a report published in Harvard University's Harvard Women's Health Watch in 2006 says adults who sleep less than six hours a night can suffer from such issues as memory loss, poor cardiovascular health, irritability, and problems with their metabolism and weight.
Sound hopeless as well as sleepless? Don’t despair. Get your snooze on and get back in touch with Mr. Sandman by trying these 4 tips:
Get a Move On
Move your body more during the day. Menopausal women who had more leisure physical activity during the day reported rating their sleep as good. Those same women who did household physical activity during the day – like vacuuming and mopping – found they were sleeping through the night more (not to mention having cleaner houses).
Take Time to Relax a Bit
While you are lathering yourself in your latest and greatest wrinkle reducing moisturizer, think about preparing yourself for sleep, too. Before you hit the sack do something calming like reading a book while sipping on some chamomile tea, enjoying a candlelight bath, or just closing your eyes and listening to some soft music to relax yourself and get your body in to sleep mode. Prepare your bedroom so there are no distractions -- eliminate as much light and sound as possible. Think about turning off the TV and giving your smart phone a time out!
Keep Your Cool
Hot flashes can be another reason why women in menopause have a hard time staying asleep. To help combat the heat, Cleveland Clinic suggests wearing loose-fitting, lighter weight clothing to bed. Make sure the sleeping area is well ventilated. And if spicy food is your thing, cool it on the spicy foods before bed!
Hormones matter! I’m talking Hormone Therapy (HT) here. An article published in Menopausal Medicine -- the journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine -- says that studies have found hormone therapy helped menopausal women with sleeping issues, and helped them get more productive sleep. If sleeplessness is a major issue for you, discuss this option with your menopause gynecologist. If you don’t have one, use my Menopause Doctor Directory to find one near you.
So put away the toothpicks. No need to walk around with your “Eyes Wide Shut” (no, Tom Cruise, not referring to you). Using these simple tools can help you get your snooze back!
Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!
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