You may have heard about all the changes that come with menopause, but there’s one issue that you might not have anticipated – insomnia. According to health professionals, up to 47 percent of perimenopause patients experience trouble sleeping. That number can climb to 60 percent once you’re fully in menopause. That’s a lot of people but it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it.
Why Menopause Causes Insomnia
The main reason that menopause causes insomnia is hormone changes. Studies show that hormone fluctuations can affect your brain in ways that disrupt your sleep. You may also be more prone to mood disorders like depression that have been shown to affect how well you rest. Many women who have trouble sleeping attribute it to hot flashes and night sweats as well.
Additionally, there’s research that links menopause to sleep disorders in general. Not only can you develop insomnia but you can also have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is another condition where you don’t breathe well when you’re sleeping. People with this disorder often don’t realize how badly they’re sleeping because they stop breathing several times at night.
How You Can Get Some Sleep
The first thing that doctors suggest when you’re dealing with insomnia is starting an effective bedtime routine. Since you’re going through menopause, you should focus on being cool and comfortable. To keep cool, it’s good to keep your bedroom well-ventilated and avoid spicy foods that are likely to make you sweat more easily. You should also wear loose, light clothing that’s made from natural fibers like cotton.
A bedtime routine has a few more steps but once you get started, it won’t be hard to maintain. The ideal routine starts with going to bed and waking up at the same time. Studies show that having a sleep schedule is highly beneficial to getting the right amount of sleep as your body gets used to winding down. You can help with that by preparing yourself for sleep in the hours leading up to sleep.
Sleep experts recommend avoiding large meals a couple of hours before sleep and drinking less before bed. You shouldn’t eat spicy food, drink alcohol, or drink caffeinated beverages as they can disrupt sleep.
Instead of watching TV or reaching for anything electronic, it’s better to read a book or listen to music closer to bedtime. If you like exercising, it’s better to do so in the earlier parts of the day. Only calming exercise routines like meditation or light yoga are recommended before bed.
Some people take over-the-counter sleep aids like melatonin. While they can help, you shouldn’t take them long-term as they may cause more harm.
Finally, you can have a plan to soothe yourself back to sleep if hot flashes wake you up. Some people find that