Menopause is a natural component of aging in a woman’s life. It usually occurs between the late 40s and 50s, when a woman’s body ceases to undergo a monthly menstruation cycle. Nowadays, women in their early 40s are also undergoing menopause induced by stress or lifestyle habits. The sudden change in hormone levels brought up by the menopause phase can show various changes in a woman’s physical and psychological being. The loss of hormones can cause various symptoms, including weight gain or loss, hot flashes, excessive sweat, urinary incontinence, mood swings, etc. But not many are aware that hormone fluctuation may even cause disturbance in the sleep cycle leading to insomnia.
What Is Insomnia, and How to Identify It?
While an odd case of a sleepless night is no indicator, insomnia has a particular pattern to it, and one must look for signs such as either taking too long to fall asleep or waking way too early. Less than 6 hours of sleep more than thrice a week, fatigue or sleepiness throughout the day, or not feeling fresh after a night’s sleep.
Reports suggest that nearly 60 percent of women transitioning into menopause may experience sleep issues due to changing reproductive hormone levels, circadian rhythm abnormalities, mood disorders, vasomotor symptoms, coexistent medical conditions, and lifestyle.
Following are a few tips to deal with menopause-related insomnia to ensure that one is well-rested and healthy through this phase.
Create a Sleep-Friendly Space – Sleep is mainly influenced by three major components in a bedroom – temperature, light, and noise. One may address this by keeping the bedroom temperature as cold yet comfortable as possible. Cool and breezy spaces increase the likelihood of a person’s ability to hibernate effectively. A cell phone’s buzzing or blinking light can wake up the brain even while sleeping, and an individual may wake up at unusual hours with no explanation. Turning off the radio, eliminating ticking clocks, and turning off appliances before going to bed can further help get a good night’s sleep.
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Daily Workout Routine – Regular exercise helps relax the body and loosens the muscles, which helps get a good sleep. Aerobic exercise is preferred regularly to enhance the quality of sleep, mood, and energy. Going for a post-dinner walk may relax both the mind and body and aid in getting good sleep. However, the timing and type of exercise are critical. Strenuous exercising two to three hours before bedtime may also interfere with sleep.
No Caffeine Before Bed – Caffeine, which is present in coffee, colas, tea, and chocolate, is a stimulant that can take up to eight hours to exit the body. In addition to keeping one awake, it may cause hot flashes in some women. If a person is suffering from insomnia or night sweats that cause them to wake up often, it is best to avoid it entirely, but if one must consume it, better slot in during the first half of the day.
Relax the Body – If mood swings or stress cause frequent all-nighters, try meditation, yoga, or deep breathing before hitting the bed. Make it a nightly routine, similar to brushing teeth. Soothing music or pleasant reading may also help. If hot flashes aren’t an issue, take a warm and relaxing bath that can help one fall asleep peacefully.
Maintain a Schedule – Just how our body craves food around the same time every day, our mind too needs a fixed routine to relax and recharge. One must keep up with the daily bedtime routine, sleep and wake up at the same time. If a person enjoys taking an afternoon nap, it is best to do so before 3 pm to not interfere with the night’s sleep. Also, try to get outside for 30 minutes a day to soak up some sun – exposure to sunshine leads to healthier sleep patterns.
While sleeplessness as a condition may vary with people and their life schedules, menopause-related insomnia can last for weeks or months if not treated effectively. Relaxing oneself and feeling comfortable is necessary to live a healthy lifestyle and get a good night’s sleep to recharge the body and mind. Suppose one is experiencing issues with their sleep and noticing a change in their menstruation pattern. In that case, it is best to consult an experienced gynecologist or general physician to understand the reasons and fix the concern.
Also, Read: Why Do Women Bloat During Periods
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