Hot flashes are a regular part of menopause for many women, but many women don’t realize that disrupted sleep is too. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you’re not alone. Many women experience disrupted sleep during perimenopause and menopause. While you can’t change your hormones, you can develop good sleep habits to give you the best chance at getting a full seven to eight hours of sleep.
The Importance of Sleep
Sleep deprivation makes it harder to deal with life. Between hormone and life changes, nearly twenty percent of women going through menopause struggle with depression. Depressive symptoms increase during chronic sleep deprivation.
How to Get Better (and More) Sleep
Though it might be difficult to get the same quality of rest you had before menopause, you can improve your sleep habits to get better sleep. Make sure you’re giving yourself the best possible chance by checking your mattress to make sure discomfort isn’t waking you up or causing aches and pains. If you need a new bed, check mattress reviews for insights before purchasing.
Some mattresses like memory foam can trap heat against your body, intensifying hot flashes. Cooling mattress toppers, sheets, and pajamas can all help you stay cool while dealing with fluctuating body temperatures.
1. Cool Your Bedroom Down
Because hot flashes cause most of the sleep disturbances attributed to menopause, cooling your room down can help keep you comfortable. Most people sleep comfortably at 60-68 degrees, but you might need to go even lower if your hot flashes are severe.
2. Be Prepared at Night
Even with a low temperature, you might wake up hot and sweaty. Try keeping a cool glass of water near your bed and a pair of breathable pajamas for a quick change during the night.
3. Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a standard treatment for hot flashes and works well for many women. However, there are circumstances under which it isn’t recommended like if you’re at high risk for breast cancer or have a history of blood clots. Talk to your physician to find out if HRT might work for you.
4. Healthy Diet and Regular Exercise
A healthy diet is always a good idea. Adding in regular exercise helps wear out your body, so you’re more tired and prepared for bed at night. Exercising daily also prevents the loss of bone and muscle due to age. However, try to avoid strenuous exercise for at least three to four hours before bed to avoid the rise in body temperature and adrenaline that may interfere with your sleep.
5. Turn Off Your Screens
Light plays a vital role in your sleep-wake cycle. The bright blue light from televisions, laptops, smartphones, and iPads can suppress the release of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. To prevent sleep disturbances, shut off your screens at least an hour before bedtime.
6. Cut Back on Stimulants
Caffeine and similar stimulants block sleep hormones and throw off the sleep-wake cycle. They can linger in your system for hours. Stop drinking them at least four hours before bed, earlier if you’re more susceptible to their effects.
Tuck Sleep is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NPR, Lifehacker, Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web.