Hormones can cause havoc in your sleep during peri-menopausal or menopausal period. When one’s body begins to experience ups and downs concerning progesterone and estrogen hormones, the entire system seems to be thrown off. Menopause may start as early as the 30s or mid 40 s or 50s.For other women, menopause comes soon as a result of health conditions.
- During the menopausal period, physical changes occur in a woman body that not only hinders your daily activities but also gets in the way of good night sleep.
Here are the changes that take place during menopause, which could significantly affect your sleep:
- Hormonal changes
A woman’s ovaries gradually decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone production. The two hormones play a significant role in one’s sleep. This shifting of ratio hormones can be unseen and therefore a little hectic to deal with.
- Hot flashes
A hot flash is an adrenaline surge that awakes the brain from sleep. Sweat and changes in temperature usually occur which leads to insomnia. Unfortunately, the adrenaline takes time to decline hence it will take you sometime before you can fall asleep again.
- Depression or mood swings
Depression during menopause has been linked to estrogen decrease. Even though hormonal changes are not the only cause of depression, other life stressors may also make depression worse.
- Social changes
Other social life changes could alter your sleep during menopausal period. Coincidentally this social stresses may also alter your sleeping pattern together with changes occurring in your body.
Symptoms and signs of menopausal related insomnia
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Hot flashes
- Low or changes in sexual drive
- Changes in diet and exercises
- Irritability and mood swings
- Thinning hair and dry skin
- Breasts changes; Breasts become smaller and lose elasticity
- Increased urination
Perimenopausal and insomnia
Perimenopause period could begin as early as ten years before the actual menopause. Even though for several women the most noticeable signs do not show until its five years to the actual menopause.
During the perimenopause period, estrogen levels decline greatly causing symptoms such those mentioned above. For instance, one may experience an isolated hot flash or a night sweat.These random episodes of hot flashes and night sweats could to large extent destroy your good night sleep.
Menopause is said to have occurred when one has not experienced their menstruation at least for 12 consecutive months. Menopause symptoms become more intense and slightly irritating for the majority of women. It is reasonable for some women to complain of chronic insomnia during this period.
Are problems related to insomnia treatable?
Sleep problems related to menopause can be treated with Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) or with Estrogen and progesterone hormone replacement therapy(HRT).The two separate therapies have been found to relieve symptoms related to hot flashes. The replacement therapy contains a pill, patch or vaginal creams.
The above therapies have been used over the years however the recent studies reveal that estrogen hormonal therapy over an extended period increases risks of blood clots and stroke. It is therefore recommended that for severe menopausal symptoms one uses the lowest dosage as much as possible for the shortest time together with regular follow up with a doctor or a specialist.
Natural remedies for sleep problems during menopause
There are several ways in which you can manage your menopausal symptoms. Read on and find out which natural resources are of help when you are dealing with annoying menopausal symptoms:
1. Organic, healthy foods
As much as many might not agree, diet is the number one factor to consider when trying to get rid of menopause symptoms fast. Your diet at this time should consist of essential mineral salts and healthy fatty acids.
Your body needs healthy calories to maintain your weight and tissues even as you get older.It is essential that you limit the number of processed foods you take because they sow your metabolism.
Here are the foods to help you deal with metabolism accordingly:
Organic fruits and vegetables: These types of foods contain dietary fibre that helps you manage your appetite. Additionally, they also provide anti-oxidants that slow the aging process and phytosterols that help balance and regulate hormones in the body.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Vegetables in the cruciferous family include broccoli, cabbage, and kale. They contain indole-3 carbinol that naturally helps one balance their estrogen levels effortlessly. This class of vegetable also contains vitamin c, Vitamin K, and electrolytes that are vital for regulating your blood pressure.
Fermented foods: Fermented foods such as soy can help you regulate your hormones big time. However, talk to your doctor about this if you previously have had estrogen-positive breast cancer.
Omega 3 fats: The fats contained in the fish and flaxseeds help[ cushion and protect the heart. Additionally, they also promote smooth skin and counteract processes of inflammation. The best sources of omega-3 fats include salmon, halibut, sardines, and anchovies.
Cold pressed oils and healthy fats: Fats are the building blocks for hormonal production. They keep inflammation at bay, boat the body’s metabolism and increase levels of satiety that is essential for preventing unnecessary weight gain. For healthy oils looks for palm oil, coconut oil, and extra-virgin oils.
Probiotics: Probiotics are healthy bacteria that help improve the production and routine activities of hormones such as insulin ghrelin and leptin. Probiotic foods are perfect when it comes to boosting your immune function and cognitive functioning.
Water: The recommended amount of water for an adult is about eight glasses a day. This amount of fruit is essential for replacing lost fluids, decreasing bloating.
These are the supplements that help combat symptoms of menopause:
Black cohosh: Research has shown that black cohosh help improves sleep quality and reduce hormonal imbalances. It also combats hot flashes and night sweats.
Natural progesterone cream: Progesterone cream is a natural way to reduce menopausal symptoms such as loss of bone integrity and vaginal dryness. Additionally, it helps protect one from infertility, making it essential even for young women of reproductive age.
Vitex or chasteberry: Chasteberry has been clinically proven to reduce hot flashes. Again it has loads of several properties that help balance hormones related to sleep problems.
American Ginseng: Ginseng is well-known to increase energy and sexual arousal. It also helps relieve fatigue depression and vaginal dryness.
Red clover: Red clover helps prevent loss of bone density and lower risk of heart diseases. The red cloves contain isoflavones that help reduce symptoms related to estrogen decrease.
St John’s wort: This herb has been excellent in lowering anxiety and depression. It also helps stabilize moods and reduce inflammation. This way it helps transition through menopause much easier.
Maca Roots: This herb slows down the aging process by counteracting the functions of cortisol hormone. It effectively combats fatigue and hot flashes
Fenugreek: Fenugreek works as a natural HRT since it can profoundly boost sexual arousal and desire in women and raise their estrogen levels remarkably. It also helps lower cholesterol and contains steroidal saponins that prevent the body from absorbing harmful LDL cholesterol that helps balance levels of sodium to stabilize blood pressure.
3. Reduce and manage stress
During menopause, it is normal for women to experience depression and anxiety. Managing stress at this time means managing your emotional eating habits that lead to low libido, weight gain, and fatigue. You can reduce stress by:
- Volunteer work
- Spending time outdoor
- Spiritual meditation
4. Essential oils
Clary sage is the most widely used essential oil for balancing hormones. It helps relief from menopause symptoms including depression and hot flashes.
Other oils you can use for your aromatherapy include:
- Lavender oil
5. Regular exercises
Exercises are crucial when managing symptoms related to menopause. You may also reduce or maintain your weight through regular training. Exercises help regulate your hormones and also make you feel better about yourself resulting in a better sleep.
6. Avoid the following foods:
Here are foods to cut down or even better forget about:
Packaged foods: Some processed foods contain added sugar and chemical preservations and high amounts of sodium. Because these foods are also high in carbohydrates, they alter your hormonal structure leading to insomnia.
Conventional meat: Meat that contains added hormones can cause hormonal imbalance including inflammation. Avoid buying meat, poultry, and eggs that are genetically modified they could tamper with your natural composition of hormones.
Added sugar: High intake of sugar or refined foods lead to weight gain that causes havoc in the digestive tract. Hot flashes are also thought to be worsened consumption of such unnatural sugars.
Fried foods: Foods cooked in highly processed vegetable oils are high in omega 6fatty acids that are essential in leading the process of inflammation. One is always at risk of developing heart diseases, weight gain, and diabetes.
Alcohol: Alcohol contains caffeine that could lead to aggravation of hot flashes leading to insomnia.
Ways to sleep better during menopause
Here are tips to take into consideration to have a good night sleep:
1. Reinforce your sleep schedule
Just like other types of insomnia, menopause insomnia can be quickly dealt with by sticking to your earlier on sleeping and waking cycle. This way your body can overcome confusing messages and signals that it could be deriving from hormones activated by perimenopause.Make sure that your sleeping cycles are steady. Avoid sleeping- ins even during your free time or on weekends. It is essential that you develop a sleeping schedule your body shall thank you later.
2. Stay in bed
Chillow is a pillow with a cooling water insert that helps lower the body temperature.Even though it won’t stop hot flashes, it can greatly reduce their chances of disrupting your sleep.
3. Drop your temperature
It is essential for you to lower your bedroom temperatures before you get into bed. Low temperatures provide a suitable environment so that you can sleep well by making hot flashes less disruptive.
Taking a hot shower will make your body cool afterward. Yes, the body responds interestingly, its response to heat will help drop the temperature.
4. Meditate your way through.
Yes, meditation helps keep your nervous system calm. This way you can cultivate a good sleeping schedule.
5. Wick away your insomnia
If your hot flashes are causing you less sleep at night, buy yourself gym fabrics that athletes use to wick away any moisture and sweat. Wear these clothes as your pajamas, they won’t keep away hot flashes, but at least they will make you sleep soundly without any disruption.
6. Talk to a therapist
If you realize that the situation is going away too far, by causing you difficulties in breathing, seek medical help as soon as you can. A therapist can refer you to a sleep specialist or sleep center so that you get the help you deserve. Your sleep problem could be much more serious than you thought.
7. Empty your bladder before bed.
A full bladder is a significant distraction, even from deep sleep. To avoid such small disturbances prevent taking water 2-4 hours before bed, instead, have your drinks much earlier and visit the washroom before you go to bed.
8. Change your lifestyle
Lifestyle plays a significant role during menopausal period. Avoid foods that lead to massive sweating such as pepper and related spicy foods. Excessive caffeine could also cause you more unnecessary washroom trips.
9. Try alternative treatment
If you feel reluctant about using the estrogen replacement therapy, you ask your doctor if it is ok for you to use the anti-depressant Effexor. The drug decreases the hot flashes than it can disrupt sleep and is even prescribed by some doctors for breast cancer that is undergoing active therapy.
Even though this drug is not as good as estrogen therapy, it reduces hot flashes by about 50 percent. Again it could make you drowsy.
Menopause is a natural process in a woman’s life. As much as it is, it could make one’s life pretty uncomfortable. The above tips and natural remedies are effective when dealing with menopause. We sure hope that this article has shade more light on how to deal with this natural phenomenon to continue enjoying your life as much as you can.