Sleeping Well Despite Menopause
Sleep. Remember that? Remember the evenings when you would side beneath cool sheets and close your eyes, waiting for the blissful oblivion of eight hours of unconsciousness, before waking for a new day refreshed and filled with vigor?
Yes there were nights when illness, small children or partners with a twinkle in their eye might interrupt your normal routine, but never before have you woken in the night feeling like the cleansing towel they hand you after dinner at a restaurant – hotter than the sun and wringing wet!
When my sleep patterns first started changing I did not associate it with the menopause. I would start off cold, then throw the covers back, tossing and turning with a fevered brow. I found I would have to get up, splash water on my face then creep back and try my hardest to lie still so as not to disturb my other half. Apart from anything else, my libido disappeared with the first signs of menopause so nighttime athletics were the last thing I fancied!
It was only when I confessed to a female friend that I was struggling with night after night of disturbed sleep that she admitted she too suffered – turns out it’s yet another menopause thing. Some women wake suddenly in the night for no apparent reason, some are woken by hot flashes, palpitations or night time sweating and some just can’t fall asleep in the first place.
According to the American National Sleep Foundation a staggering 61 per cent of menopausal women suffer sleep problems. Anyone making menopause products? I’d hit Twitter in the middle of the night for maximum impact if I were you!
It’s once again down to the diminishing quantities of estrogen and progesterone during perimenopause and menopause. These low hormone levels cause the hot flushes and sweating that are usually the cause of menopausal insomnia.
Next page: tips for sleeping better.