This is one of my favorite topics since I suffered in my own skin. For over two years, I woke up almost every night between 3 and 5 in the morning with no way to get back to sleep. This left me totally worn out, and affected my work, my health, and my mood.
According to 2018 research from the University of Western Ontario, the perfect amount of sleep is seven to eight hours a night. Sleeping less can negatively affect our cognition.
Insomnia, typical during pre-menopause and menopause, triggers hormonal balance and affects our immune system. Getting enough sleep is very important for our physical and mental energy. Lack of sleep affects our attention or concentration capacity, our work motivation, our efficiency in general. Additionally, it can worsen many health problems, including type 2 diabetes, dementia, mood disorders, high blood pressure, obesity, and neurological disorders.
That is why I want to show you some tips and tricks to get a good night’s rest again.
1. Develop a sleep routine
Go to bed no later than 10 pm for at least a week, so that your internal clock stabilizes. Get in the habit of doing your routine, like brushing your teeth, applying night cream, and putting on your pajamas, 20 minutes earlier. Once in bed, don’t check your social networks and don’t watch TV as the screen of your mobile phone, your computer or the TV will activate your sympathetic nervous system.
2. Dark bedroom
Try to make your bedroom as dark as possible, as even the dimmest light can disrupt your sleep.
3. Pets to their beds
We all love our pets, but during the night, they should not be in your bedroom, as any noise can interrupt your sleep.
4. Have an early dinner
Do not go to bed on a full stomach, as this could lead to heartburn. It would be better to have dinner 3 hours before bedtime and have a light dinner that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
5. Avoid alcohol at night.
Many use a glass of wine to settle down at night and to induce sleep, but alcohol disrupts the sleep mechanism and you will end up waking up in the middle of the night.
6. Avoid caffeine after 2 pm
I know, this is hard, but even a single cup of coffee in the morning can disrupt your sleep at night. In addition, it stimulates our bladder and will wake you up at night, since you will have to go to the bathroom.
7. Keep your bedroom cool
If you want to avoid hot flashes, the temperature in your bedroom should be around 17ºC.
Use cooling sheets and pillowcases. There is even the option of getting a cooling pillow, the “Chillow”, a foam pillow that you put water on, keeping your face cool all night (www.chillowstore.com).
The best sheets for menopausal night sweats are ones made with breathable fabrics. This means choosing natural fibers such as cotton, viscose, linen or silk. These fibers allow moisture to evaporate through the fabric, helping you stay cooler as you sleep and wake up feeling cooler.
8. What should I wear to sleep during menopause?
Wear sleepwear made from lightweight natural fiber fabrics. Cotton and viscose are perfect options. If you want to allow yourself a little luxury, choose linen and silk.
9. Exercise regularly
In general, exercising regularly improves our ability to sleep well. However, you should exercise as little as possible 3 hours before going to sleep, as too much activity will stimulate your nervous system. Relaxation exercises, on the other hand, like meditation, are absolutely recommended.
10. Avoid emotionally stressful situations close to bedtime
Avoid arguments with your partner, your children or anyone else before going to bed, as this will ensure a sleepless night. Save it for the next day, as everything gets brighter in daylight.
Natural sleep aids*
You can take an infusion of Valerian or valerian pills (150 – 300mg) 30 minutes before going to sleep.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland that plays a role in regulating biological rhythms, including reproductive and sleep cycles.
You can take 0.5 to 3.0 mg one hour before bed.
c) Natural Progesterone
Natural progesterone has a calming effect on our brain. You can apply 1/4 teaspoon of 2 percent natural progesterone skin cream (providing 20 mg of progesterone) at bedtime.
d) Pueraria mirifica
Pueraria mirifica is an endemic Asian Legume in countries such as Thailand where it is used in traditional medicine under the common name of “White Kwao Krua or Guao Krua”.
Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that mimic the behavior of estrogen. Since Pueraria mirifica is rich in phytoestrogens, it is often used to relieve menopausal symptoms.
e) The combination of Amantilla and Babuna
Amantilla is an extract obtained from the root of Valeriana officinalis, the true valerian. Babuna is the chamomile flower.
Take 15 drops of chamomile extract (Babuna) half an hour before going to bed and 15 drops of valerian extract (Amantilla) just before turning off the light.