Are you quietly wondering what menopause and lack of sleep is doing to your body, your relationships or your career?
Are you awake repeatedly throughout the night either because you need a pee or you just can’t shut your busy brain down?
Hot flushes are embarrassing right, especially at work. The brain fog and poor concentration levels are frustrating and frankly career damaging.
But it’s the lack of sleep that brings you to your knees — you truly feel like you’re losing your mind.
The good news is you can learn to sleep again. The even better news is that once your sleep patterns return to normal your other symptoms will start to fade too.
In my experience poor sleep is the most common menopause symptom for us ladies of a certain age and it’s often linked to levels of cortisol, your main stress hormone, being out of whack.
What cortisol should do is give you a burst of energy first thing to get you out of bed and then levels rise throughout the course of the morning.
As the day goes on it begins to drop off and by early evening should have dropped off enough to allow your body to produce melatonin, one of your sleep hormones, which is a signal for your body to sleep.
But the internal stress menopause puts on your body combined with all the usual pressures of 21st century living disrupts regular production of cortisol and melatonin.
Consequently you find yourself awake every couple of hours hot, anxious and desperate to get back to sleep. It’s literally a waking nightmare.
Here’s how you get better at sleeping:
1. Get out
Your preparation for a good nights sleep starts during the day. Exposure to daylight is crucial to increase levels of melatonin, your main sleep hormone. 30–60 minutes outside each day is enough to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. The ideal time to go outdoors is around noon but anytime during daylight hours is useful.
2. Power down
Dim the lights approx. 90 minutes before bed to help your body and mind relax and wind down. Listen to relaxing music or enjoy a bath with magnesium bath salts. Read a book but nothing too exciting!
3. Go dark
Sleep in complete darkness or as close to it as possible. Even a small amount of light can disrupt your internal clock and your body’s production of sleep hormones. The glow from your alarm clock can be enough to signal to your brain it’s time to wake up and start preparing your body for action.
You know there’s a myth we need less sleep as you get older but actually you need more. When you’re sleeping your body heals itself and as you age your body needs more time to rejuvenate and replenish.
So what steps are you going to take to ensure a restful and restorative sleep every night?
Will you get out, power down or go dark? Comment below I’d love to hear from you
Originally published at medium.com