Tossing And Turning All Night?
If you are in perimenopause or post-menopause, there is a good chance you are learning what sleepless nights look like. Hot sweats, tossing and turning and the complete inability to fall soundly asleep like you used to just a few years ago. During midlife, women tend to have a lot on their plate. Teenage children, ageing parents, a busy career and all the other things life puts in the way of taking care of ourselves. Sleep tends to end up at the bottom of our list of priorities despite the fact that it is more important now than ever.
"During menopause (peri & post) the female body is already in a state of elevated cortisol".
The most common complaints I hear from midlife women are about the increasing size of their waistline, their poor energy levels and feeling like they are losing their mind. The menopause transition is stressful enough without everything else that is going on in our lives. Right now is the time to put your foot down and reclaim your sleep.
THE SOLUTION Develop a sleep hygiene routine and stick with it!
Sleep is your most important ally at this time in life. Sleep is where you recover and build muscle after exercise. Sleep restores a stressed-out brain. Sleep is a recovery powerhouse, so focusing on good sleep quality through sleep hygiene, is going to see you cope more readily with all the demands of a busy life.
"Sleep is your balm for cortisol, which is why it is so important for our overall health and wellness during midlife and beyond".
During menopause (peri & post) the female body is already in a state of elevated cortisol. If you know anything about cortisol, you will know it is one of our stress hormones that is part of our 'fight or flight' response. When cortisol levels are continually elevated it can be harder for us to lose fat mass, build muscle mass and recover from daily life. Elevated cortisol levels also make us more likely to crave calorie-dense foods like chocolate, wine and chips! Sleep is your balm for cortisol, which is why it is so important for our overall health and wellness during midlife and beyond. SLEEP HYGIENE But how do I get more sleep I hear you ask?
You need to develop better habits around sleep.
This means turning off your device screens earlier in the evening or turning down the screen brightness & activating a 'blue-light' filter. Blue light is known to upset our circadian rhythm and make it harder to sleep soundly.
Lower the lights in your house in the evening and opt for softer lightbulbs or add dimmer switches.
Reducing or eliminating caffeine in the afternoon/evening.
Keeping your bedroom as a quiet space dedicated to sleep, free from TV and computers.
Avoid alcohol at night. Alcohol helps us to fall asleep but disrupts deep restorative sleep.
Aim to be in bed in time for you to sleep for 7-9 hours each night.
Avoid eating big meals or too much sugary food before bed.
This list is just a small snapshot of the things you can do to improve sleep. I will write about some herbal sleep aids in my next newsletter.
Until then, sleep well tonight and send me a reply if you want to learn more.