Menopause insomnia, a challenging sleep disorder
Menopause can be a challenging time for us women. It always seems worse at night when we lie awake wondering where our quality of life has disappeared to! The sleep disturbance called menopause insomnia can make our lives uncomfortable at a time when we should be slowing down and enjoying our middle years.
The link between menopause and insomnia
The main cause of sleep disturbances are hot flashes. In Australia we call them hot flushes but they’re the same nasty beast whatever language we speak! Hot flashes can vary from barely noticeable (lucky people!) to very uncomfortable, where hormones rush through our bodies and we become drenched in sweat. Some unfortunate ladies even have to get up and change the sheets.
The major culprit here is adrenaline which wakes us up with a jolt when it reaches our brain. The best way to help our sleep is clearly to lessen the impact of these hot flashes. There are a few ways to do this, but unfortunately this is something no-one can agree on.
There has been so much bad press in the last few years about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). So much so that some women were scared off this easy way to lessen their menopausal symptoms. If doctors can’t make up their minds about HRT, who are we to try and guess our way through it? I decided in 2006 to stop taking it and have been taking a herbal remedy ever since.
So are hot flashes the only cause of menopause insomnia? No. Speaking from experience I’ve found that the anxiety that sometimes comes with the menopause can be a major cause of lost sleep. Anxiety and stress can lead to a condition called “monkey mind”. This is where the mind jumps from one thought to another and is very difficult to quieten down.
Some women going through menopause tend to notice their sleep becomes fragmented, which means they wake up frequently during the night. While part of this can be blamed on hot flashes, it may also caused by the mind racing, making deep, relaxing sleep difficult.
My personal experience with menopause insomnia has not been a pleasant one. I found it almost impossible to quieten my racing mind when I lay down at night. This led to stress and of course once we start worrying about not being able to sleep, we all know where that leads…
So how do we deal with all this?
The best way to deal with menopause insomnia is to deal with the symptoms of menopause as best we can. Otherwise there is a real danger of sleep problems remaining long after the menopause has finished.
For us natural enthusiasts, stress and anxiety can be handled by a complex approach. Exercise is a great way to relax the body and help us sleep at night. Strangely it’s better to exercise in the morning as far as sleep is concerned, maybe because the sunlight sets our circadian rhythm for the day.
For some effective relaxation techniques visit the relaxation-techniques page for some ideas on how to relax. Do one or more of these each day if you can.
I’m not going to recommend drugs here. We know we can go to the doctor and get those at any time. If you feel HRT is the way for you then that’s fine. make sure you visit your doctor at least every 6 months and get your blood pressure monitored and have a breast check.
Menopause natural remedies are the answer for me. For safe effective relief from hot flashes, MellowPause is a safe and natural way to regain your cool. MellowPause also relieves anxiety, aching joints, early waking and other symptoms of menopause. This is what I’m using now after trying quite a few!
“I started taking MellowPause 9 days ago; for the past 5 nights I have had no hot flashes or night sweats and have had 6 – 8 hours uninterrupted sleep….
“Thank you very much for recommending your MelloPause treatment. I honestly felt like I could climb the walls! My mother also struggled during her menopause and I guess it must run in the family. I feel so much more calm and all the hot flashes have gone!”
Sandra, Beauford West.
Other ways to overcome menopause insomnia…
Make sure you are sleeping in a cool room and make sure your bedding is not too warm. If you have to throw off your bedding during a hot flash, feeling cold afterwards can wake you up.
Unwind for 2 hours before bed if possible. Easier said than done I know, but try not to work right up to bedtime. Watching TV may affect your sleep as well, because the bright light can affect our circadian rhythm (24 hour body clock).
Try to establish a night time routine. This works well for kids and it works for us too. A set of activities performed every night sets up a habit which tells our subconscious mind it’s time for sleep. Leave horror movies out of this!
Eat serotonin producing foods. Rice (especially Jasmine) and other carbohydrates, turkey, chicken and bananas all help form this sleep inducing neurotransmitter.
Menopause insomnia can be a problem but we can help to overcome it with persistence, natural remedies and good health habits.