During menopause, hormones start to shift. And for many women in their late forties and early fifties, this could mean dealing with menopause insomnia. If you’re struggling to get a decent amount of shut-eye each night, keep reading for our best tips and hacks for a better sleep!
7 Symptoms of Menopause Insomnia
Wondering if you’re experiencing menopause insomnia? You may have one or more of these 7 symptoms:
- Exhaustion during the day
- Change in mood
- Difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep
- Waking up too early
6 Causes of Menopause Insomnia
When it comes to menopause insomnia, it may be a result of any of these 6 causes:
- Hot flashes – When hormone levels like estrogen and progesterone drop, your body temperature increases. This rise in temperature can cause you to wake up. Hot flashes can take some time to pass, making it difficult to fall back asleep once they’re over.
- Night sweats – Hot flashes can lead to night sweats. Night sweats are the biggest reason women lose sleep. More than half of women experience night sweats that reduce the amount of sleep they get to less than seven hours a night.
- Restless legs syndrome – Many women can begin to experience restless legs syndrome during menopause, causing tingling or crawling sensations in their legs during the night. As a result, it can be harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Sleep apnea – During menopause, hot flashes and night sweats are more likely to occur, which can increase the risk of developing sleep apnea. It’s also more common for women who have had a surgical menopause to develop sleep apnea, resulting in issues with insomnia.
- Change in estrogen – Progesterone and estrogen levels significantly drop during menopause. Both of these hormones are known for their sedative effects. Estrogen especially has a big influence on how well you sleep. It works with neurochemicals like serotonin to help you fall asleep at night. When those levels begin to lower, your quality of sleep goes down. You may take longer to fall asleep and wake up more often during the night.
- Decrease in melatonin – Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. The levels of melatonin your body produces decreases with age. This decrease can contribute to sleep issues.
5 Risks of Untreated Menopause Insomnia
When you lose sleep, it can affect many things. Left untreated, menopause insomnia can cause potentially harmful effects such as:
- Accidental injuries
- A change in reflexes
- Impaired judgment
- Uncontrolled mood swings
- Constant tiredness
How to Beat Menopause Insomnia: 7 Tips
These 7 tips can help you combat menopause insomnia:
- Start with your bed – The last thing you want is a bed that makes you feel too hot at night. Start by choosing sheets and bedding that is breathable. Fabrics like cotton and bamboo allow air to flow, keeping you cooler. Even your mattress has the ability to lower your body temperature. Some memory foam mattresses are made with plant-based materials that retain less heat.
- Change what you wear – What you wear to bed each night can affect the way you sleep. Go for clothing that is loose-fitting and made from a breathable material like bamboo or cotton. These fabrics will help your skin breathe at night and can wick away moisture.
- Check your thermostat – The simplest way to stay cooler at night is to lower your thermostat. Ideally, you want to keep it between 60 and 67 degrees. When you sleep, your body temperature drops, and if your room is already cool to begin with, you can help your body fall asleep faster.
- Change your diet – Certain foods can actually trigger night sweats and hot flashes. Avoid alcohol and spicy foods, and try to limit the amount of caffeine you have each day. All of these things can cause acid reflux as well, which makes it more difficult to get to sleep. Talk to your doctor about adding foods rich in plant estrogen, such as chickpeas, lentils, or soybeans, to your diet.
- Stick to a routine – Creating a routine and sticking to it can help you establish good sleep patterns. Make sure to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. After a few weeks, you may notice a difference in how much sleep you’re getting.
- Avoid naps – When you’re feeling tired, a nap can seem like a great idea. But when you’re dealing with menopause insomnia, it’s best to avoid them altogether. If you must take a nap, keep it to no more than 30-40 minutes and sleep during the early afternoon.
- Address anxiety – Anxiety is a big sleep deterrent. During menopause, hormone fluctuations can increase your levels of anxiety and cause heart palpitations. It can also cause night sweats. Try stress reducing techniques such as mediation, exercise, or breathing techniques.
How long insomnia lasts during and after menopause will be different for everyone, so take some time to find the solutions that work best for you.
If you’ve tried everything you can and you’re still having issues with menopause insomnia, try talking with you doctor. They may be able to offer over the counter medications. natural sleep supplements, or hormone replacement to help with sleep problems and night sweats.