Sleep Better During Menopause
Do you wish you could sleep better during menopause? Menopause can change numerous levels of hormones which can wreak havoc on your sleep. As a result of disrupted sleep, you can start to feel exhausted, suffer mood swings, impact your confidence, and even cause breakouts of the skin. Thankfully there’s plenty of steps you can follow to improve the quality of your sleep.
Melatonin – The Sleep Hormone
Melatonin, commonly known as the hormone of darkness, is a sleep inducing hormone. By boosting our levels of melatonin, we can improve the depth, quality and pattern of sleep. Our bodies produce most of our melatonin between 22:00 – 00:00, so it’s best to be in bed before midnight. Whilst young people have the highest melatonin levels, production of the hormone wanes as we age. Some foods contain melatonin and are therefore great to have as a light evening snack:
Foods which contain tryptophan can also be eaten in the evening as these boost production of serotonin, which is required to make melatonin:
- Sesame Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
Create a Bedtime Routine
The light emitted from screens can affect the release of melatonin, which can disrupt our sleep. It is best to avoid devices such as mobiles, televisions, and laptops an hour before bedtime. To improve your quality of sleep, you should find yourself in a relaxed state of mind. Take a warm bath an hour before bed, this will relax your muscles whilst allowing time for your body temperature to cool. Reading a book or practising light yoga will also relax your mind and body. Cardio exercise during the day can help you sleep, however, it causes a spike of the stress hormone cortisol so try and avoid heavy cardio up to four hours before bedtime. You should also avoid caffeine late in the afternoon – it can stay in your system for up to 6 hours.
Stay in Bed
Whilst menopause can trigger insomnia, it is often the fear associated with sleeplessness that amplifies the problem. Traditional advice is to get out of bed and do something until you feel tired, however, if you get up at a certain time on a regular basis, your internal body clock will begin to log it and it will become a habit. If you find your sleep disrupted in the middle of the night, it is better to lay and rest. Concentrate on breathing techniques which will clear your mind and allow you to sleep.
The more you worry about disrupted sleep, the longer you’ll suffer disrupted sleep. Mindfulness can help loosen the grip of unhelpful thinking patterns. Focus on your breathing or the touch of the bed on your body. Your mind will start to wander and then choose to let go of that thought and come back to your breathing or the touch of the bed. Using the technique of mindfulness will help you to let go of unhelpful thoughts.
Coping with Hot Flushes
By embracing the mindfulness technique, you are able to manage the aspects in your control. Once you’ve controlled everything you can, you should wear light clothing to reduce sweating. By accepting the elements you can’t control, such as sweating, and viewing them in a more objective manner, you will no longer amplify the problem with anxiety. If you begin to sweat, acknowledge and accept that you are sweating, by panicking you will only amplify the situation.