Menopause can be a major hormonal, physical, and psychological change for women. Hot flashes and night sweats are two of the most common side effects of menopause, contributing to insomnia. But poor sleep may not be caused by sleep disturbances; some women report an inability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Kathy Abernethy, menopause specialist nurse and immediate past chair of the British Menopause Society, comments: ‘During menopause, levels of oestrogen and progesterone, a sleep-promoting hormone, begin to decline. This hormone shift can trigger several changes, including sleep onset insomnia (trouble getting to sleep) and maintenance insomnia (trouble staying asleep). As a result, some women describe exhaustion that seems unrelenting.’
In addition to unpleasant feelings of exhaustion, sleep deprivation can have serious consequences on physical health. According to the NHS, regular poor sleep can increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, even shortening your life expectancy. There are also links between bad sleeping habits and mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
A popular treatment option for menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and insomnia, has been hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, some women may not want or need medical treatment. Instead, they may wish to consider an alternative approach to managing their menopausal symptoms, such as having the proper support from the mattress.
Kathy commented: ‘It’s important that women know their available treatment options for menopause, so they can make an informed choice. If women are experiencing disturbed sleep as a result of menopause, a valerian-based product could be considered to help aid sleep without leaving you feeling drowsy the next day.’
Here are some tips to improve your sleep through the menopause transition and beyond
Review your routine
Go to bed and get up regularly. Routine is very important to establish a good sleep pattern.
A digital detox before bed
Avoid ‘screen time’ close to bedtime. According to the National Sleep Foundation, light exposure and mental activity promote wakefulness. Switch off your TV, phone, laptop, and iPad to let your brain ‘wind down’ before bed.
Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake, especially at night
Both may disrupt your sleep as well as worsen symptoms such as flushes.
Consider over-the-counter sleep aids such as Kalms Night One-A-Night
The valerian root extract found in Kalms One-A-Night tablets has been shown to improve the quality of sleep for menopausal women. Based on its long-standing use as a traditional herbal remedy, Kalms One-A-Night relieves sleeplessness without causing drowsiness the next day.