How to Get Better Sleep in Menopause
How to Sleep During Menopause
Menopause comes with a lot of changes. One of the more unexpected changes is that it can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. The good news is that these sleep troubles are temporary. The insomnia will pass along with your menopause. Until then, though, creating a restful environment, sticking to a sleep routine, and avoiding common sleeping pitfalls like taking a nap during the day can all help you get better rest.
Setting up Your Sleep Space
Use a cooling pillow or mat.Hot flashes can really do a number on your sleep. To fight them, you can find pillows that are specifically designed with cooling gel or water inserts. These can help lower the intensity of your hot flashes, making it easier to sleep through them.
- These pillows are available online, as well as in some mattress and home goods stores.
- If you have a pillow you already really like, you could get a cooling mat to place underneath. This won’t be quite as effective as a cooling pillow, but it can still help cut out some of the heat.
Keep your bedroom at around 65 °F (18 °C).Another way to combat those awful hot flashes is to lower the thermostat in your bedroom. If you have central air conditioning and don’t want to pay to cool your whole house, look into a window-unit or portable air conditioner to cool off your bedroom without heating up your energy bills.
- Start running your air conditioner at least half an hour before you go to bed to make sure your room is nice and cool when you settle in for the night.
- If you don't have an AC unit or you want to minimize the cost of cooling, you may be able to use a fan. Fans work best when it's not too hot in your room. For major temperature changes, AC may still be necessary.
Use blackout curtains to block out all light.Even small amounts of light can disrupt your sleep, especially during menopause. Try hanging blackout curtains over your windows to keep any excess light out of your room.
- If you have a digital alarm clock, face it away from your bed. That way, the lights from the clock face aren’t glowing at you while you’re trying to sleep. You could also replace your digital clock with an analog one.
- You could also wear a sleep mask to help block out light if you don't want to invest in new window treatments.
Declare your bedroom a tech-free zone.The lights from the alarm clock aren’t the only little lights that can wake you up. Keeping a tablet, phone, TV, or computer in your room can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Designate your room a gadget-free zone, except for maybe an e-reader without a backlight.
- If you feel like you need your phone with you at night for emergencies, try turning on the blue light filter and plugging it in away from your bed. That way, the light is less harsh and you’ll be less tempted to use it for random browsing.
Making a Sleep Routine
Set a bedtime for yourself.Going to bed at a consistent time can help trick your body into better sleep. Set a bedtime for yourself, and make sure you are in bed with the lights off by that time. Don’t start your nightly routine then or give yourself 5 more minutes to finish an episode. Be consistent, and you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to sleep.
- You should also aim to get up at around the same time every morning. This helps your brain get into a routine and clearly understand when it is and isn’t sleep time.
Do something to help you wind down before bed.Having an activity or a small string of activities can help let your brain know that it’s almost time to sleep. Try reading a book, listening to some music, or taking a warm bath right before bed.
- These activities not only help signal bedtime to your brain, they can help you disconnect from the stress of your day.
Put on loose, breezy pajamas.Your PJs should help you feel comfortable. They shouldn’t make you feel hot or smothered. Find pajamas made of a light, breathable fabric like cotton or linen. These can help make hot flashes more manageable if they strike while you sleep.
- Think about different pajama styles, too. If you typically wear pajama pants but find that you’ve been getting too warm recently, you may want to switch to shorts or a nightie.
Adjusting Your Daily Routine
Stop napping during the day.Naps may help you feel rested in-the-moment, but they can actually prevent you from sleeping soundly at night. Try as hard as you can to stop napping during the day. Take it easy and give yourself a rest if you need to, but don’t fall asleep.
- If you absolutely must nap, try to do so for around 20 minutes. Little power naps may help give you an energy boost without keeping you awake at night.
Take a 200 mg black cohosh supplement.Black cohosh is an herbal remedy that has been shown to reduce a number of menopausal symptoms including night sweats and sleep disruption. Take a supplement of dried black cohosh every day to get the greatest benefit.
- Remember to talk to your doctor before you start any new supplement or herbal treatments.
Minimize your intake of caffeine and alcohol.Drinking too much caffeine or alcohol can all mess with your sleep schedule. Try to minimize the amount of caffeine and alcohol you drink, especially in the hours right before bed. If you feel like you need a caffeine boost, try to stick to a single cup of morning coffee or tea.
Eat dinner at least a few hours bedtime.Eating a big meal may make you feel tired, but it can actually disrupt your ability to sleep soundly at night. Try to eat dinner at least 3-4 hours before your planned bedtime. This gives your body time to work through your meal before you go to sleep.
- If you know certain foods, such as spicy foods, give you headaches or cause gastrointestinal distress, avoid these completely during dinner. If you have a craving for a spicy dish that you just can’t kick, try eating it at lunch instead.
Getting Medical Help
Talk with your doctor about your sleep concerns.Since sleep-related problems are a common issue with menopause, your doctor likely has some tips and tricks you’d never think of. Make an appointment with them or ask them about sleep solutions during your next physical. Let them know what you’ve already tried, and they can tell you what other treatment may help.
- Don't try to wait out your sleep deprivation. Being sleep deprived can dull your senses and reaction time, and may also lower your resistance to illness. If you are struggling to sleep and home adjustments don't help, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
Ask about short-term treatment with estrogen or progesterone.Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) using progesterone have both been shown effective in treating menopausal symptoms. Either hormone needs to be prescribed by your doctor, so talk to them to see if either therapy could work for you.
- Hormones may be taken as pills, injected, or applied topically as patches, gels, or creams.
- Hormone therapy should be prescribed at the lowest effective dose, and only for short periods of time. This is because long-term exposure to HRT, particularly, may be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia.
See a sleep therapist.If you are struggling to sleep and other treatments haven’t helped, ask your doctor for a referral to a therapist that specializes in sleep problems. Even short courses of cognitive behavioral therapy focusing on sleep issues may help women going through menopause to sleep better.
- Therapy will differ for each person, but may involve processes including keeping a sleep diary and talking to a sleep coach.
Video: Sleep & Menopause
No-Bake Chocolate Truffle Pie
Florbetapir F-18 Reviews
How to Protect Your Teeth from Disease
How to Become a Certified Scuba Diver
How to Survive an Upset Stomach on an Airplane
How to Choose Vegetables to Grow
Can a Paleo Diet Treat Ulcerative Colitis
Anna Victoria Just Shared Two Photos That Prove The Number On The Scale Isnt Everything
How to make a better first impression
William and Kate’s rare PDA during joint royal engagement is so sweet