How to get a good night's sleep
There you are, awake again all hot, sweaty and bothered and you know from experience that you will not get back to sleep for ages. Tomorrow morning seems a long way away!
You have tried warm lavender baths, not watching telly late at night, etc and nothing so far seems to work. So, lets have a look at some things you may not have thought of.
There is a theory that you shouldn’t eat before bed. Unfortunately, the menopause tends to make the whole system more jittery and sensitive to changes. If you don’t eat much in the evening, by the middle of the night your blood sugar levels may dip so low that it triggers an adrenal panic attack.
This adrenal rush wakes you up, triggers a sweat and keeps the mind racing… sound familiar? Have a sensible snack maybe an hour or so before bed (not a chocolate biscuit!) such as plain yoghurt, nuts and seeds, an oatcake and cheese or fruits such as a pear, apple or berries as these all release energy slowly.
You may find that this prevents a blood sugar dip and you can get some extra sleep! Just remember that sugary foods will rev your system up followed by a big dip so avoid them in the evening and cut down or avoid during the day as well.
Caffeine can have a huge impact on sleep. Even an early afternoon cup can keep the liver under stress for hours and a stressed liver can actually wake you up around 2-3 am! So, although it is best to avoid caffeine completely during the menopause, try not to have more than 2 cups daily if you can’t manage to give it up, and don’t have any after 12 midday.
Tea is not quite so bad as long as you are not drinking lots. If you are a bit of a tea jenny, you could try drinking green tea or Rooibosh instead, or at least in place of some of the normal tea. Just remember that if you intend to cut down on tea and coffee do it slowly – these are addictive drinks and if you come off too quickly you can end up with a nasty headache for several days, which is not recommended!
How often do you lie awake at night going over all the deeds of the day, what you should have done or said, what you haven’t done or said, what you must to tomorrow, next week, next month? Often, I bet! If this is you, you could try one of the Flower Essences. These gentle remedies work on the emotions and help to calm the mind and reduce those incessant thoughts that go round and round your mind, stopping you from sleeping.
Nice ones for the menopause are Night Essence, Relaxation Essence or Female Essence. These can be taken during the day, at night or both.
If you are looking for something herbal then tinctures such as Valerian and Hops traditionally used for sleep or Sage, traditionally used for hot flushes/night sweats can be taken before bed. Both usually work quickly and can be taken either singly or together for as long as needed. If you are on any medication just check first that these are suitable.
Magnesium is vital for a calm nervous system and many women in the menopause find that taking a magnesium based supplement before bed gives a relaxed sleep. Go for a liquid magnesium or a skin spray, these are better absorbed than tablets and can work quite quickly. We call magnesium your ‘happy mineral’, as it keeps your mood level and muscles relaxed – such an important one for the menopause!
Last but not least …. RELAXATION!! I keep mentioning it but is so, so important during the menopause. Taking 30 minutes a day to relax can set the body up for a good night’s sleep and can help to keep you both mentally and physically relaxed throughout the day too: well worth the effort!