UP ALL NIGHT
If you’re going through perimenopause, you may find it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get enough sleep.
You may also wake up feeling hot, sweaty, or restless.
Such sleep problems are common in perimenopause, and can affect your health and well-being.
WHAT IS PERIMENOPAUSE
Perimenopause is the time when your body transitions from the reproductive years to menopause, the end of your menstrual cycles.
Perimenopause can last from a few months to ten years or more, and it is different for every woman.
During perimenopause, your hormone levels fluctuate, causing various physical and emotional changes.
The Role of Estrogen
One of the main causes of sleep problems in perimenopause is the decline in estrogen, a key female hormone that affects your brain’s ability to regulate your body temperature.
When your estrogen level drops, your brain thinks you are too hot and sends signals to your blood vessels to dilate and release heat.
This causes a sensation of warmth, flushing, and sweating, usually in your face, neck, and chest.
These are called hot flashes, and they can occur at any time of the day or night.
Night sweats are hot flashes that happen while you are sleeping, and they can disrupt your sleep quality and make you feel tired and irritable.
The Role of Melatonin
Another cause of sleep problems in perimenopause is the change in your melatonin levels, a hormone that helps you sleep.
Melatonin is produced by your pineal gland, a small organ in your brain that responds to light and dark.
Melatonin levels rise at night and fall in the morning, helping you fall asleep and wake up.
However, during perimenopause, your melatonin levels may decrease, making it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
The Role of Other Factors
Sleep problems in perimenopause can also be triggered or worsened by other factors, such as
- mood swings,
- weight gain, or
- other menopausal symptoms.
Poor Sleep Impacts Your Health
Low quality sleep can have negative effects on your health and well-being, such as:
Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and stroke.
Impaired memory, concentration, and cognitive function.
Reduced immune system and increased susceptibility to infections.
Lowered mood, energy, and motivation.
Decreased sexual desire and satisfaction.
Therefore, it is important to find ways to improve your sleep quality during perimenopause and beyond.
Strategies for Better Quality Sleep
Here are some strategies to help you sleep better:
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine are stimulants that can keep you awake or disrupt your sleep cycle.
Caffeine can also trigger or worsen hot flashes and night sweats.
Avoid or limit these substances, especially in the afternoon and evening.
Instead, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and calm.
Keep a regular sleep schedule
Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends and holidays.
This will help your body and mind establish a consistent sleep rhythm and make it easier for you to fall asleep and wake up.
Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and avoid napping during the day, as it may interfere with your night sleep.
Create a comfortable sleep environment
Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable.
Use fans, air conditioners, or humidifiers to regulate the temperature and humidity.
Use curtains, blinds, or eye masks to block out any light.
Earplugs, white noise machines, or soothing sounds help to mask any noise.
Try cotton sheets, blankets, and pillows to absorb sweat and keep you dry.
You can also keep a cold pack or a bottle of water near your bed to cool yourself down if you have a hot flash or a night sweat.
Practice relaxation techniques and exercise regularly
Stress and anxiety can trigger or worsen hot flashes and night sweats, as well as make it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Find healthy ways to relax and cope with your emotions, such as
- breathing exercises,
or any other activity that helps you calm down and feel good.
Relaxation techniques can also help you fall asleep faster and sleep better, as well as improve your mood and energy levels.
Exercise can also help you sleep better, as it can
- improve your blood circulation,
- lower your blood pressure,
- balance your hormones, and
- reduce stress.
Exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which can reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes and night sweats.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week, but avoid exercising right before bedtime, as it can raise your body temperature and make you more prone to hot flashes and night sweats.
Consider hormone therapy or other medications
If your sleep problems are severe and interfere with your daily life, you may want to talk to your health care provider about hormone therapy or other medications that can help you.
Hormone therapy involves taking estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone to replace the hormones that your ovaries stop producing during perimenopause.
Hormone therapy can reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes and night sweats, as well as prevent osteoporosis and vaginal dryness.
However, hormone therapy also has some risks and side effects, such as increased risk of blood clots, stroke, breast cancer, and heart disease.
Hormone therapy is not suitable for everyone, so you should discuss the benefits and risks with your health care provider before starting it.
**PERIMENOPAUSE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A NIGHTMARE **
Sleep problems are common and normal in perimenopause, and they usually go away after you reach menopause.
However, they can also affect your quality of life and well-being, so it is important to find ways to improve your sleep quality.
By avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, keeping a regular sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, practicing relaxation techniques and exercising regularly, and if necessary, considering hormone therapy, you can sleep better during perimenopause and enjoy this stage of your life.
The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.