Have you recently discovered that your sleep is not as restful as it used to be? Maybe you have difficulties falling asleep—or staying asleep. Maybe you wake up from night sweats, drenched and needing to change your pajamas. You might find yourself awakening too early in the morning with no chance of falling back to sleep. Whatever the problem, the recommended nightly 6 to 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep seem to be just a dream.
More than 50% of women report sleep problems as they progress through the menopausal transition, experiencing insomnia and night sweats. Almost 1 in 10 postmenopausal women have sleep apnea, a potentially serious disorder. 1 in 4 menopausal women reports sleep problems severe enough to interfere with daytime functioning because they’re feeling fatigued or experiencing brain fog.
Many factors can contribute to sleep issues, some related to perimenopause and menopause, and others related to aging or illness. Here, we’re addressing only the reasons related to the hormonal fluctuations of the menopausal transition. These generally begin in your early 40s, when your ovaries (and other organs) start to produce lower levels of estrogen and progesterone. This decline in estrogen leads to higher levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Throughout your reproductive years, as estrogen levels diminish, FSH levels rise to stimulate your ovaries to release another egg (follicle). As you enter menopause and you produce less estrogen, you eventually stop ovulating, causing your FSH levels to remain elevated. In fact, sustained high FSH levels are often used to confirm a woman has reached menopause.
The changes in these particular hormone levels have all been linked to poor sleep quality and a greater risk of frequent night-time awakenings. Growing evidence suggests fluctuations in estrogen levels, common during perimenopause, also trigger changes in your brain that may contribute to (or possibly cause) sleep problems. In addition, declining estrogen levels affect the body’s ability to use and absorb magnesium, a mineral that helps your muscles relax; low magnesium levels have been linked to insomnia.
Here are a few tips that might help you get your Zzs back:
- Don’t eat large meals before bedtime. Avoid spicy or acidic foods because they can trigger a hot flash.
- Avoid smoking, caffeine, and alcohol—especially before bedtime.
- Exercise to maintain a healthy weight—but don’t exercise at least two hours before you hit the hay. Looking for exercise tips? Here’s a few from pilates teacher Micki Havard.
- Try to get direct sunlight for vitamin D.
- Use a fan or air conditioner to increase air flow and cool the bedroom.
- Keep the bedroom dark at night.
- Sleep in a lightweight fabric like cotton or one that wicks away your sweat and avoid heavy blankets. Coolibrium’s everyday essentials are designed with quick-drying and smooth-to-the-touch materials, the fabric wicks away moisture to cool the body, and the added anti-microbial finish neutralizes any smell of sweat.
- Establish and keep to a sleep schedule—even on the weekends.
- Add the Kindra sleep enhancing supplement to your self-care regimen. Formulated specifically for menopause, this 100% natural supplement contains precise doses of melatonin to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, without the grogginess in the morning, plus hot flash and night sweat relief via clinically-studied ingredients like Pycnogenol and Ashwagandha. We're pleased to share an exclusive promo for 15% off your first Kindra order or subscription with code: COOL15
- If you awaken and cannot fall back to sleep after 20 minutes, leave the bed to do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.
- Find ways to help reduce stress: meditation, yoga, deep breathing, massage, or a warm bath or shower before bed.
You don’t have to yawn your way through your 40s and 50s. Get the help you need now to put you on the road to recovering your zzzzzzz’s.