5 other symptoms made worse by poor sleep

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Menopause Advisor
Ask Eileen

11 March 2019

Today's topic

So here we are at week 2. Hopefully, you've been putting into practice some of the tips from last week and your sleep is improving. Today, I'm looking at five other symptoms that are made worse by poor sleep.

1. Hot flushes and night sweats

Now, if I mention hot flushes and night sweats, most people think that they make your sleep worse, but it can also be the other way around. If you are getting poor sleep, you are going to wake up tired and your nervous system is not going to be rested. This can then trigger more hot flushes during the day and more night sweats in the evening and during the night.

So, this scenario of poor sleep, daytime flushes, and night-time sweats can very quickly become a vicious circle that literally just goes on and on. The other thing that can happen is that obviously if you're being woken up in the middle of the night by night sweats, that's going to make it much more difficult for you to go back to sleep as well.

What can help?

So, what can you do about this? What can you use to break this cycle? You can look at sage. Sage is traditionally used for hot flushes and night sweats.

If you're using a sage tablet for night sweats, then take it with your evening meal. I know a lot of you out there tend to take tablets just before you go to bed. The problem here is that if you take tablets on an empty stomach, they may well end up going right through you without being properly broken down.

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The other really important thing here is water because if you have had lots of hot flushes during the day, you are going to be dehydrated. This can be problematic as dehydration will affect your nervous system, which will then affect your sleep and can then trigger the night sweats as well.

Again, dehydration can be part of this vicious cycle, so, remember, plenty of plain water during the day. One of the things that I'm finding works really well, and a lot of women are coming back to me saying that this really does help, is to have a small shot glass of warm water just before you pop into bed.

This is often enough to stave off dehydration during the night thus reducing your night sweats. It can also help to calm the nervous system and, because you're just taking a little bit of extra water, it's not going to put pressure on your bladder so you might find that you end up getting up less to go to the toilet during the night.

2. Weight Gain

Number two is weight gain. Now, we know that poor sleep can cause a steady creep of weight gain. We know, too, that poor sleep weakens your resolve, so you're more tempted by sweet things and things that make you feel more comfortable.

So there can be a whole range of issues going on here and you may find it just that little bit more difficult to control your weight with the poor sleep.

What can help?

If you find that cravings are an issue, you could look at kelp. This is a nice one to help to balance thyroid function but, just remember, if you're on thyroid medication you can't take it.

Remember, too, that magnesium can be really good for sugar cravings as well. Some people do find that having a little evening snack can improve their sleep and that will also help with controlling your appetite the following day too.

3. Joint Pain

Number three is joint pain and this is a horrible one for several reasons. If you're in a lot of pain, it can be more difficult to get off to sleep and, if your sleep is shallower because of falling oestrogen, then any movement that causes inflammation and pain in the joints is likely to wake you up as well.

What can help?

You can look at Devil's claw. It's a nice remedy that's traditionally used for joint inflammation and pain. Remember, too, that poor sleep decreases your pain threshold, so any area of your health that involves pain is likely to feel worse because of your poor sleep.

4. Brain fog

Number four, brain fog - oh, don't we know this one well!  Poor sleep will interfere with your concentration. If you wake up feeling tired and irritable, and you feel totally unrested or fatigued, that, in turn, is going to affect your concentration. It's going to affect your memory as well.

What can help?

You can look at remedies such as Ginkgo biloba and you can also look at the flower essence, Concentration Essence.

This is a nice one that you can take as and when you need it if you feel that you've really got to concentrate on something properly.

5. Fatigue

The fifth one is fatigue - so many women end up with general fatigue in the menopause. If you are getting poor sleep, then that fatigue is going to be worse as well. So, again, this is another one that can become one of these vicious cycles. The less sleep you have, the more fatigued you get. The more fatigued you get, very often, the more difficult it is to fall asleep at the end of the day.

What can help?

We have a lovely mineral drink called Balance that has things like calcium, magnesium, and potassium in it. This can give you a lovely little boost and a lot of women tell me they find it really helpful.

I know in the office, we all tend to get that kind of mid-afternoon slump around 2:00 where we just want to crawl under our desk and have a nice little sleep. In this instance, I find it lovely. It just helps to give me that little bit of an energy boost and allows me to carry on for the rest of the day.

The one thing about fatigue, though, is if you are getting it constantly; if it's really beginning to affect your quality of life, either by affecting your job or everything else, then there may be other reasons this problem is cropping up so it's important to get this checked out by your doctor.

It could be underlying issues like low iron, especially if you've been getting really heavy or prolonged periods, or it can be poor thyroid function which we know creeps into the menopause. It could also be low vitamin D as well, so get these things checked out by your doctor just to rule them out.

So, hopefully, this has given you a little bit more of an insight for some of the things that you can do to help yourself.  Next week, I'm going to be looking about bad habits before bedtime and what you can do to sort them.

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