Baby boomer women in transition (menopause and perimenopause) frequently have problems sleeping, but there are practical solutions and ideas to help.
If you have ever been in a room with a group of women between the ages of 45 and 55, chances are you have overhead a conversation about sleep, or more appropriately, the lack of it. Baby boomer women, menopausal women and women in the perimenopause stage experience some form of sleep disruptions, and there is good reason.
The physical changes which take place during menopause and perimenopause tend to break up normal sleep rhythms with the major complaints being insomnia and night sweats. Although the degrees may vary, the end result is poor sleep quality and many tired women dragging their weary bodies through the day. Many experience excessive fatigue, trouble focusing and feelings of irritability or even depression. Does this sound familiar?
So, what can we do to help? Let us begin by saying that you should always consult your physician when you have significant changes in your routine and patterns to rule out a serious, underlying medical condition. Once that has been done, and if you feel that HRT and prescription sleep aids are not for you, there are some basic, common sense ideas you can try.
• Develop a bedtime routine...the goal here is to relax and unwind. Take a hot bath, read (as long as it is something fluff-no stimulating work), meditate, organize your clothes for the next day. Remember how well routines worked when your children were small?
• Go to bed at the same time each night....again, think about your children as babies and how important is was for them to have consistency.
• Avoid the -ines late in the day and at night.....caffeine and nicotine are stimulants which are sure to work against you when you are trying to sleep.
• No late meals....of course late eating is a nightmare for the waistline and will prove to make you more uncomfortable especially if what you have eaten doesn't agree with you. In addition, spicy foods may trigger night sweats.
• No napping....but if you think you just can't make it to the end of the day, limit your nap to 20-30 minutes just to take off the edge.
• Make your bedroom a sleep haven....dark, cool and quiet is best. You are preparing your mind and body, so prepare your room as well.
• Only use your bed for sleep and sex....yes this means no TV watching, reading, using laptops, eating, bill paying, list making etc. Your bedroom is not your office, kitchen or family room. There is a reason why you have more than one room in your house!
• Face your alarm clock towards the wall.....you don't need to see those blue, glowing numbers if you happen to wake and roll over. That alarm will go off soon enough!
• If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up...do something that is not too active or stimulating. Have you ever tried journal writing? Once you feel drowsy, try again. There is no sense in frustrating yourself by tossing and turning.
• Sleep in the most comfortable sleepwear you can find...wicking sleepwear, more commonly called hot flash pajamas or menopause pajamas offer tremendous relief for night sweats. There many soft, stylish, functional options to fit everyone’s sleepwear preference. They can be a bit more costly, but how much do you value a good night’s sleep? You will truly be amazed and delighted at how well they work.
You deserve a good night's sleep. You need a good night's sleep. Sometimes following some practical, common sense ideas can do the trick. Give them a try...you have nothing to lose, but you could end up gaining some valuable shut eye.