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Menopause and Sleep: What is the Connection?

Jul 08, 2021

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, boiling hot and completely drenched in sweat?

Or perhaps you keep waking up to have a wee?

Even worse, maybe your brain just won’t stop ticking over and you struggle to fall asleep in the first place.

You’re not going crazy! These sleep issues happen frequently as women travel through the menopause. In fact, more than 50% of postmenopausal women report struggling with sleep.

Why might this happen?

There are a number of possible reasons why our sleep patterns become disrupted at the menopause. This includes the following:

  • Lower levels of oestrogen. Oestrogen is one of the building blocks that help our bodies produce melatonin, the main sleep hormone.
  • Feeling hotter. A high body temperature makes it harder to drop off and stay asleep.
  • Life stressors. When you are feeling worried or under stress, your body struggles to wind down. This could be caused by family, work, coronavirus, finances, health, and so on.
  • Blue light exposure. Too much time using screens and not enough time spent outdoors in natural light can disrupt our production of melatonin, that sleep hormone.

All of these things also cause your body to produce more of the stress hormone, cortisol. When your cortisol levels are high, you’ll experience more inflammation in your body that will exacerbate any symptoms you are experiencing such as pain, night sweats, brain fog and mood swings. The rest of your hormones will also be thrown out of balance, causing your serotonin and melatonin levels to decrease and making it harder still to sleep.

How can you improve the quality of your sleep?

Even though you may feel like you’re fighting a losing battle with your sleep, there are many things you can do to improve it. Try some of these and see how you get on.

1. Have a bedtime routine

Developing a bedtime routine will help your body to wind down ready for sleep and encourage your body to produce the stress hormone, melatonin.

Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, switch your screens off two hours before bedtime and consider having a warm bath, a cup of herbal tea or curling up with your book.

2. Stay cool

Our bodies are programmed to get slightly cooler in the evening, signalling to our bodies that it’s time to sleep. For that reason, aim to keep your bedroom slightly cool- around 18°C is usually ideal. If it’s hot outside, consider getting a fan, open those windows to create a breeze and sleep naked or wear light pyjamas.

3. Manage your stress

Stress is a normal part of life but it can interfere with your sleep quality and make your menopause symptoms even worse. Take care of yourself by adopting an effective daily stress management practice. Why not practice yoga or Tai Chi? Learn to meditate or practise visualisation? Burn some essential oils and get a massage? All of these will help you feel better. If you are still struggling, please seek professional help

4. Get outside

To help regulate your natural body clock, get at least 60 minutes of natural daylight per day. Also, avoid blue light for 2 hours before bedtime as it can interfere with your body’s melatonin production.

5. Try CBD oil

Studies suggest that CBD oil can help with a variety of sleep issues such as insomnia as it helps promote relaxation. This means it’s often worth trying if you’re struggling with your sleep. Choose a high-quality CBD oil such as this one and start with a low dose to see how your body responds.

If you’d like to get a discount on your first-time purchase of CBD products, simply enter the code SMARTERCHANGE10 at the checkout.

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