Are you going through menopause and can’t sleep? As women approach menopause, they begin to experience major hormonal, physical, and psychological changes, and it can even disrupt their sleep patterns. For those who don’t know, menopause occurs when women’s bodies stop producing estrogen and progesterone and they stop having periods. In other words, it marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Sleep problems are one of the most common symptoms that can affect menopause.
A study published in the journal Sleep Breathing Physiology and Disorders found that 51.6% of postmenopausal women enrolled in the experiment had sleep problems. Although menopause can cause insomnia, it can lead to problems if not addressed. Dr Hira Mardi, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynecology, Manipal Hospital, says, “Menopausal symptoms disrupt sleep in many women and you need to follow certain strategies to manage these symptoms. »
Menopause causes insomnia: how to manage the symptoms?
Here are some steps to help you manage menopause symptoms and promote better sleep, as Dr. Mardi suggests:
1. Maintain a Sleep Schedule
It is important to create a sleep schedule and follow it to avoid problems. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. A consistent sleep schedule helps regulate your body’s internal clock and promotes good sleep.
2. Create an environment conducive to sleep
You can’t expect to sleep well if the TV is running in the background or the lights are on. You need to organize your space or create a cool, dark, quiet bedroom that promotes restful sleep. To reduce noise, use earplugs, blackout curtains, or a white noise machine. Consider investing in a comfortable mattress and pillows that support your body and relieve night sweats, the expert advises.
3. Practice relaxation techniques
Engaging in relaxation techniques before bed can help calm your mind and body. You can try techniques like deep breathing exercises, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, etc. Tai chi, meditation and yoga have been proven to help relieve stress and promote sleep, according to John Hopkins Medicine.
4. Manage stress
Menopause can be a stressful time for women, and too much stress can also cause sleepless nights. Even studies have linked high stress levels to sleep problems like insomnia. A study published in Elsevier found that stress and sleep influence each other. Too much stress can cause sleepless nights and insomnia can lead to stress. It is therefore crucial to manage stress by practicing yoga, engaging in hobbies, spending time in nature or seeking support.
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5. Exercise regularly
Getting regular physical activity can help relieve menopausal symptoms and improve sleep. “Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Avoid any vigorous exercise close to bedtime, as this can overstimulate your body and make it harder to fall asleep,” the expert adds.
6. Watch your diet
Certain foods and drinks, such as caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol, can trigger hot flashes and disrupt sleep. Observe how your body responds to different meals and modify your diet accordingly. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can support overall health and well-being.
7. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
HRT involves taking medicines containing hormones (estrogen and progesterone) to supplement declining hormone levels in the body during menopause. This can be an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats and trouble sleeping, says Dr. Mardi.
Read also: Menopause management: is hormone replacement therapy useful?
8. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-1)
CBT-I is a structured, evidence-based therapy that targets the underlying factors contributing to insomnia. It is usually conducted by a qualified therapist and focuses on addressing the behavioral and psychological factors contributing to sleep difficulties. This can be an effective long-term solution for managing menopausal sleep disorders, particularly useful for women experiencing sleep difficulties during menopause, says the expert. This therapy includes sleep hygiene education, sleep restriction, stimulus control, relaxation techniques and cognitive restructuring, explains the gynecologist.
Menopause symptoms can be different for every woman and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s essential to listen to your body, be patient, and try different ways to manage symptoms. You can also talk to your loved ones or seek professional help.