Ah Menopause... For some, uncharted territory, for others an experience they’re all too intimately familiar with. Of more than 108.2 billion people who have ever lived, roughly half are women, and ALL who have clocked up a reasonably full lifespan, have lived and slept through this somewhat oddly-named mid-life change (not crisis). But what is it?
Menopause is driven by the decline of key hormones (estrogen, progesterone and, to a lesser extent, testosterone), which work together to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and reproductive function in tandem with mood, energy, sexual drive, cognitive and emotional health, and - you guessed it- sleep. If you’re a woman, menopause will happen. Period. #NoPeriod.
The transition to menopause (and ultimately perimenopause) can feel like one long, hot and frustrating heat spell. As we know, not only can menopause impact your ability to operate day to day, it too can get it’s hot little hands all over your precious beauty sleep. Infact, close to 50% of menopausal and perimenopausal women said they wake feeling tired at least four days of the week, leaving many left trying to navigate the hormonal minefield without the backing of restful and restorative sleep on their team.
Whether you’re fighting hot flushes, irritability, restlessness or night sweats, there are many things you can do to aid in this transitional period and the range of unique and unwelcome sleep challenges it lobs at you. Here are five of our favourites.
Our Top Tips For Menopause
1. Feeling Hot Hot Hot? Get That Bedroom Temperature Right
The National Sleep Foundation recommends 18 – 22°C as the optimal sleep temperature. That’s because your body temperature naturally starts to drop as bed time approaches, paving the way for a good night’s sleep. It’s important to maintain this happy equilibrium. Anything higher or lower than 18 – 22°C leads to disrupted sleep duration and quality. Set the temperature in your bedroom a degree cooler than the rest of the house or crack open (or seal tights) your window for a truly optimised sleep experience.
2. Slip Onto Silk
Forget the constant pursuit of the cool side of the pillow, silk pillow cases are here! Hypoallergenic & breathable, silk is going to be your secret weapon when trying to battle those sleep-disrupting night sweats or pesky hot flushes. With dermatologically proven technology that not only helps to regulate your temperature, but will also leave you waking with silky smooth hair (wins all round!) our stunning Silk Pillowcases will be your new best friend.
Say goodbye to bed hair and sweaty pillowcases forever, silk is naturally moisture wicking, preventing the bacteria and mould-built up that can cause odour and skin problems and a whole host of sleep disruptions. Pop them over your existing pillows and watch as your sleep experience is transformed.
3. Get Physical!
Olivia would be so proud! Many studies have shown a correlation between engagement in regular, moderate aerobic exercise and bettered quality of sleep. Understanding how best to schedule your exercise and which type of exercise works best for you is very important. Generally speaking, it is recommended that you avoid high intensity workouts two to three hours before bedtime, as that can interfere with rest and your ability to fall asleep.
Get your “Om” on. If anxiety or stress during menopause is the culprit behind your restlessness, it could be worthwhile incorporating a relaxation technique into your night time routine. Deep breathing exercises, stretching or meditation are all simple tricks you could weave into your evening. Just like brushing your teeth, make these routine non-negotiables, you’ll be surprised how quickly and easily these things become part of your nightly ritual.
Reducing screen time 30-60 minutes before bed may also be helpful in allowing your brain to switch off by decreasing it’s levels of exposure to artificial light stimulation. If you’re not suffering from hot flushes, run yourself a warm bath, grab a book and play yourself some soothing tunes. Those whale calls can really be helpful in setting the stage for sleep.
One thing’s for sure, you’re not alone if you’re struggling to get enough quality sleep, particularly if the cause is bothersome menopause. If you feel you need more assistance with persistent sleep concerns be sure to chat to your GP for more personalised interventions. We’ve also developed an easy-to-use guide that answers all your burning sleep related questions. You can find it here: 10 Steps / 10 Days: Your guide to Sleep Well, Be Well