Getting a good night sleep tends to be more difficulty for women when they are going through menopause. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) reports that women report the most problems with sleep starting in perimenopause and continuing into post-menopause. These problems include hot flashes, mood disorders, and insomnia. “Generally, post-menopausal women are less satisfied with their sleep and as many as 61% report insomnia symptoms,” NSF stated.
So what can you do to sleep better? Here are six tips that may help:
- Beware of sleep-disorder breathing. “Snoring has also been found to be more common and severe in post-menopausal women,” NSF’s website stated. “Snoring, along with pauses or gasps in breathing are signs of a more serious sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).” Talk to your doctor if you think you’re experiencing symptoms of apnea so you can be tested and treated, if necessary.
- Eat a healthy diet - NSF recommends avoiding spicy or acidic foods that can trigger hot flashes as well as eating large meals before bedtime. Also, soy-rich foods may help minimize hot flashes.
- Avoid the "Big Three" of nicotine, caffeine and alcohol - According to the NSF; you should avoid using these substances especially prior to going to bed. If you suffer from night hot flashes and do have an alcoholic beverage, I’d suggest that you see if there’s a correlation between the type of alcohol you’re drinking and when you get hot flashes. For instance, I found that I would tend to get night hot flashes when I drink beer, but don’t suffer from them when I drink wine.
- Dress appropriately to sleep – NSF suggests dressing in lightweight sleepwear. Also, consider using a fan or air conditioning to keep the room cool and increase the circulation. And heavy blankets also may cause you to become uncomfortable, thus disturbing your sleep.
- Take a chill pill – Stress and worry can definitely keep you up at night. To get your brain ready for a good night’s sleep, NSF recommends trying relaxation techniques such as meditation, as well as massage and exercise. I wrote about how yoga can help menopausal women who are dealing with insomnia in a recent sharepost. If you’re feeling especially depressed, anxious or are having huge problems that cause you not to be able to relax, schedule an appointment with a behavioral health professional.
- Estrogen may help with the hot flashes - Reuters Health Information reported on a new study of 145 women whose nighttime sleep was disturbed by hot flashes who participated in a study that looked estrogen therapy and sleep. A third of these women were given 0.625 milligrams of Enjuvia, a mix of synthetic estrogens, per day while another third of the participants took 0.3 milligrams of this estrogen therapy daily. Participants in the third group were given a placebo. The three- month study had participants keep a diary that detailed how well they slept, how often they woke up during the night, and how sleepy they were during the day. Participants also were asked to wear an electric bracelet periodically during the study in order to measure how much they were moving while they were asleep. The researchers found that the women who were taking the highest dosage of estrogen therapy woke up five fewer times each week. Furthermore, the women who were taking the low dosage woke up approximately four fewer times a week than the group who took the placebo. However, the participants said the quality of their sleep and their sleepiness during the day remained the same. Additionally, the total amount of sleep measured by the monitoring bracelet remained the same. Please note that many experts recommend that if you decide to pursue estrogen therapy, talk with your doctor about taking the lowest dose possible for the shortest time possible.
While sleep might feel like it’s a luxury as you go through menopause, it remains a necessity for your physical and mental health. Therefore, it’s important to figure out what steps you can take so you can get a restful night’s rest.
Published On: January 04, 2012