Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, it's Week 2 of sleep problems during perimenopause.
Last week, I spoke about why it is harder to fall asleep, but once you finally get to sleep, it can also be easier to wake up!
So, once you got off to sleep, there you are, thinking you're going to get a good night, and the next minute, you wake up, your mind is going into overdrive again and you find that you can't get back to sleep. You're tossing and turning for ages. And very often, when you get to sleep, half an hour later, the alarm goes off and you wake up feeling completely unrested.
And, as I mentioned last week, if you don't' get a good night's sleep it can affect all different areas of your health, both physically and emotionally the next day. So, I'm going to look at why there may be problems with you staying asleep and some nice, easy tips to help you to remedy that.
Your hormones and waking up
There are a number of factors that can cause this, including night-time symptoms that wake you up and make it harder to get back to sleep. But the main root cause is often due to your hormones!
Oestrogen is known to be connected to the metabolism of serotonin and other neurotransmitters that affect our sleep and control our sleep patterns. So, if oestrogen starts to really fluctuate in the perimenopause, the control of these neurotransmitters gets completely disrupted. They don't work properly. They kick in at the wrong time.
And that can cause you to have a very shallow sleep, so you may find that you wake up at the slightest little thing. And also, these neurotransmitters are not around to help you to go back to sleep either.
It can also be due to aging. As we age, we tend to need less sleep. And very often, we tend to go to bed later. We tend to wake up earlier. But, obviously, with all the physical and emotional issues going on in menopause, we want to still try and get at least seven to eight hours of good sleep every night.
Perimenopause symptoms that can cause sleep disturbances
Other symptoms can also contribute to sleep disturbances during menopause causing you to wake up more. These include:
This is one of the biggest disruptors of sleep during perimenopause and menopause. So, you're sleeping and suddenly you wake up with a night sweat. You can also wake up with palpitations at the same time. You're absolutely soaking. You're really hot so you have to get up. You maybe have to change your nightwear and bed linen and by that time, your nervous system is all revved up, and, of course, you can't get back to sleep again.
If you're getting night sweats that are waking you up, you can look at the herb Sage, either as a tablet such as our Menoforce Sage tablets with your evening meal or as a liquid maybe about 30 minutes before you jump into bed.
Have a small shot glass of water if you're getting night sweats because even one night sweat can dehydrate you tremendously. That will affect your nervous system. It will affect brain function. And that can stop you from getting back off to sleep as well. So, I recommend just a small shot glass of warm water, maybe 5- 10 minutes before you get into bed.
Low blood sugar levels
I talked last week about not having a big meal late in the evening because that puts pressure on your digestive system which will affect your sleep. But especially if you have blood sugar control issues, which are common during perimenopause and menopause, then just a small snack maybe about an hour and a half before bed can often be really useful in preventing your blood sugar levels from dipping too much that they wake you up.
And stabilising your blood sugar can stop night-time sweats, nightmares, and also, palpitations as well.
So many women tell me they have to get up two or three times during the night to go to the toilet. It seems quite logical that if you're having to get up a lot during the night to go to the toilet, then you shouldn't drink a lot before you go to bed. The problem here is that if you're dehydrated during the night, your urine can become very acidic, which can irritate the bladder and cause you to wake up needing the toilet.
A good indication that dehydration is causing this problem is if you wake up desperate to go to the toilet, but when you get to the toilet, you only pass a small amount of urine, that's just bladder irritation.
So again, make sure you drink loads of plain water during the day. In the evening, have an early evening drink, not coffee, not an irritating drink but maybe a herbal tea,like Chamomile tea or Peppermint tea.
And then, again, that small shot glass of warm water before you get into bed can make a difference. I've had so many women say, "That's not going to help. I'm going to have to get up twice as much to go to the toilet." And they're so surprised when taking that extra little bit of water, that they end up getting up less. So, this can be a really helpful little remedy.
Digestion and your Liver
Now, I mentioned last week about digestion stopping you from getting to sleep but falling oestrogen can affect our digestion in many different ways. And one of the organs that can be struggling a bit is the liver and this can be due to all sorts of different reasons. It can be just due to the physical changes that are going on. It can be due to hormonal disruption that's going on.
The busiest time of the day for the liver, when it's working its hardest, is between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. in the morning. So, if you continually wake up at that point for no apparent reason, it may be that your liver is just working a little bit too hard.
So, in that case, you could look at a combination of herbs that help to support liver function, such as dandelion and artichoke. And we also have a lovely little liver support plan, which can help you detox and cleanse your liver in a gentle way. And again, it's amazing how many women tell me that they've done just a little bit of gentle liver work and that had a really beneficial effect on their sleep.
Again, this is so common and often due to low magnesium. Low magnesium affects muscle function and as you get into bed, your legs can be doing their own little dance that you really can't control.
You can look taking at magnesium taken with your evening meal. There's a remedy called a Mag Phos tissue salt, and this is one that you just put under the tongue and take just before you jump into bed.
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What else can help you get a deeper, less disrupted sleep
If you are getting disrupted by noises more easily or other things such as partners snoring, or even if there's no other disruption but you're just waking up for no apparent reason during the night, there are the herbs Valerian and Hops which can help aid sleep and restore a more natural sleep.
These helpful herbs can be found in our Dormeasan Valerian-Hops Sleep Oral Drops, which you take about 30 minutes before bed.
If your brain's going twenty to the dozen, if you're having really disrupting dreams, then you could look at Night Essence which is one of the flower essences, because flower essences can help with emotional issues.
The sleep tips I gave you last week can also help limit the number of times you wake during the night, so remember to try and incorporate a good sleep routine, a comfortable sleeping environment and watch what you eat before bedtime.
Also, avoid drinking alcohol to help you sleep. While it may make you sleepy enough to get to sleep, it makes you have a shallow sleep so is not good quality sleep! Alcohol has such a sedating effect on the brain, this can often trigger stimulatory neurotransmitters that will keep you awake maybe for two to three hours. So, alcohol is not really a good one for helping you to stay asleep during the night.
So hopefully, this has helped. Again, so many of you have such fabulous tips on things that have helped you. Please post them, and share them in the comment section below or ask any questions you may have here too.
Until next week, take care.