Menopause is full of new changes and challenges. This includes a unique struggle to get to sleep and stay asleep. We are going to go into the details on what it is about menopause that creates challenges for your sleep, as well as ways in which you can get through hot flashes and sleep well. Keep reading for our top tips on getting great sleep through menopause.
Is sleep different for men and women? Find out in our post: Is Sleep Different For Men and Women?
A Common Misconception About Menopause:
Many people think of all the many symptoms of menopause happen after your body has gone through the hormonal transition. However, this is simply a common misconception. In actuality, menopausal symptoms tend to occur when you are pre-menopausal and going through the transition.
Once you have fully entered into menopause (which is typically considered after you have had at least one year between periods.) Then you will likely be past all of the sleep disruptions caused by the hormonal shift.
Now that we have all of that cleared up, lets get into the reasons as to why menopause makes it so difficult to sleep.
Why Menopause Makes It Difficult to Sleep:
During menopause, your estrogen production slows down. Giving you less estrogen in your system. This lower level of estrogen makes your hypothalamus believe that your internal body temperature is too high, which sends signals to the rest of your body in order to attempt to cool down. Which makes you feel hot, and you begin to sweat and become flush as your body tries to cool off.
While this process is not overly disruptive or any cause for alarm, it can be rather uncomfortable. Which of course makes it difficult to get to sleep.
However, there are many more contributing factors as to why menopause makes it difficult to sleep. General irritation and mood swings can make it difficult to regulate your mood, relax, and rest. Menopause can also trigger bouts of depression and insomnia. Even general discomfort and irritation caused by menopause can make it difficult to get comfortable and sleep well. Follow our tips on how to find relief and get great sleep despite menopausal symptoms.
Menopause Symptoms That Disrupt Sleep:
There are many different menopausal symptoms that are not featured on this list. These are simply the most common symptoms that disrupt getting a good night’s sleep. Hot flashes are by far the most commonly discussed symptoms of menopause, however there are many more that can just as easily make it difficult to get to sleep at night.
- Hot Flashes
- Joint and muscle aches and pains
- Bladder control issues
- Racing heart
Learn more about how to deal with insomnia in our post: Guide To Insomnia
How can I get better sleep during menopause?
Switch to a Biphasic Sleep Schedule:
Many neuroscientists believe that a multiphase sleep schedule is more natural within our circadian rhythm. If you are able to adjust your sleep schedule to include an afternoon nap, you may find that you feel well rested and full of energy overall.
Biphasic, simply means to have two phases. We use it to refer to have two major sleep sessions throughout a 24-hour period. You may find that as you take more naps your sleep at night is not as long, with you either staying up later or waking up earlier. This is completely normal, and as long as you’re getting enough rest to make up for it throughout the day. Then you should have nothing to worry about.
Learn more about it in our post: Biphasic Sleep, Naturally Preferred
Decrease Vaginal Discomfort:
Any kind of discomfort can make it incredibly difficult to get to sleep, and stay asleep. Vaginal dryness can be incredibly uncomfortable. We suggest getting a water based lubricant and gentle massaging. This will relieve your dryness while also increasing blood flow. Sex can also increase natural lubrication and blood flow as well.
When searching for a lubricant, avoid any that have scents, stimulating ingredients meant for increased pleasure, glycerin, or oil. These ingredients can be highly irritating to sensitive or broken skin.
Create a Relaxing Nightly Routine:
Having a routine that you do before bedtime each night, this helps to set the mood for heading off to sleep. If you are struggling with stress, irritability, or mood swings making your nightly routine as relaxing for you as possible can make heading off to sleep much easier.
It can be difficult to let go and jump into bed, a relaxing nighttime routine can help you do just that. Your relaxation routine can help you to let go of the day’s irritations and frustrations so you can get some peaceful sleep. Overall, this will help your mood swings the following day too.
You May Also Enjoy: Bedtime Relaxation Exercises
First off, we all know that smoking in general causes all sorts of terrible health issues. However, it is also terrible for your sleep and can increase severity and frequency of hot flashes. Whether you are a chain smoker, or only smoke occasionally you will benefit from quitting smoking.
Note, while cigarettes are our main focus and where most research comes from. We advise quitting e-cigarettes and vaping as well in order to lower hot flashes, increase overall health, and get better sleep.
Learn more about how to smoking and the quitting process affects your sleep in our post: How To Quit Smoking and Still Sleep Well
Working out on a regular basis can help keep your cardiovascular system healthy and strong. Which can immensely help to regulate your body temperature throughout the day.
Getting your heartrate up daily can also help reduce overall stress, and increase sleep drive in the evenings. These are all great reasons to get in a workout at least a few days a week, if not every day you can.
Learn more about the many sleep benefits of working out in our post: Exercise and Sleep: Is Exercise Good For Sleep?
Keep Ice Water by Your Bed:
If you often wake up from a hot flash throughout the night, try to keep ice water next to your bed. This will help you to have an instant cool off without even needing to get out of bed.
You can drink the water in order to hydrate and cool off. You can also dap your wrists and forehead with the cold water in order to cool off a bit as well. A wash cloth can be helpful for using as a cool compress.
Click the link to learn more about the benefits of staying hydrated for better sleep: Sleep & Hydration
Turn Down the Temperature:
We suggest not going any lower than 66 degrees in your home. This should be more than enough to keep your home at a proper temperature for sleeping. You may still find that you are experiencing hot flashes.
This is where personal cooling devices like pillow or mattress pads can be a great way to cool yourself off in a jiffy without chilling out the entire house, or spending a fortune on your AC. Click below for our favorite cooling sleep products.
Click the link for our favorite cooling products for hot sleepers: Best Cooling Sleep Products For Hot Sleepers
Mattress Made to Stay Cool
The mattress you sleep on obviously plays a huge part in your comfort as you sleep. However, did you know that some mattresses have a hard time letting go of heat? Different builds and materials play a huge part in how cool your mattress sleeps.
If you’re looking for a cool sleeping mattress, check out our post Best Mattresses For Hot Sleepers. This guide is specifically built to help you find mattresses that have the build and materials to keep you comfortable and cool throughout the night.
The bedding you use can make a huge difference in how cool you can sleep. Breathable and heat wicking materials can keep you cool for longer, even throughout a hot flash. This can keep you asleep for longer, as well as help to lull you back to sleep after waking up.
Try to find materials that also wick away moisture, as a sweaty bed can lead to shivering after your hot flash is over, and also generally be uncomfortable. We love the Wharf Tencel Sheets by Eli & Elm. They are silky smooth, breathable, lightweight, and wick away moisture. All of which are perfect for staying comfortable throughout the night.
If you have ever slept inside of a cheap sleeping bag, then you know how terrible a non-breathable blanket can be with trapping heat. Blankets that trap in air, make it impossible for your body to cool off. Leading to hot sweaty night.
Breathable blankets help you to cool off, while also allowing any perspiration to wick away as well. Keeping you cool and dry throughout the night. A great option for something like this is the Napper Blanket, by Bearaby. This woven blanket style lets in a lot of airflow.
Menopause and Sleep: Sleeping with Hot Flashes – Final Thoughts:
We hope all of this new information, sleep tips, and product recommendations all help you get the sleep you need through menopause. Staying calm and cool are the main focuses in order to remain comfortable. However, there are a few other tips that could help out as well, like staying lubricated for better comfort. Overall, we hope this new information helps you get back to sleeping well.
If you have a question for us, we would love to hear from you! Send a message to our Contact Us page and we will help in any way we can.