There is one “M” word that strikes fear in the hearts of middle-aged (or those approaching middle age) women everywhere. It’s the dreaded menopause.
While it’s easy to try to take a healthy approach to the idea of menopause, it’s often difficult to do when dealing with the restless nights filled with sleep disruptions that are so common during menopause. These tips, however, will help to minimize the disruptions so you can face your days in a better frame of mind.
Consider Your Diet
There are many ways your diet impacts your ability to sleep. Eat healthy foods that are nutrient rich and avoid eating large meals before bedtime. Consider foods that are rich in soy to avoid potential hot flashes and night sweats, while avoiding spicy and acidic foods that may trigger them. Also consider eating foods that promote sleep as an evening snack instead of your traditional choices:
- B6 fortified cereals
- Herbal tea
- Whole-grain bread
Keep Your Cool
Hot flashes are one of the common and disturbing problems women face during menopause. Turn the thermostat down inside your room or run window air conditioners along with ceiling fans to make your bedroom cooler at night than you keep it during the day. Sleep in lightweight clothing, and avoid insulating blankets and bedding that might trap heat near your body. Also consider making the switch to a natural latex mattress or a newer memory foam mattress that both offer cooling comfort as well as ample support for your changing needs.
Examine Your Medications
Chances are good that you’re taking quite a few medications and/or supplements. Read labels and consult with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of your medications could be causing difficulty sleeping, and ask if there are changes they can recommend that would promote sleep rather than impairing it.
Meditate Before Turning In
If you make meditation part of your nightly bedtime ritual, you’re accomplishing two sleep-promoting goals. First, you’re clearing your mind of the things that cause you stress and keep you up at night. Second, you’re establishing a bedtime routine that will, in time, trigger your brain that it’s time to go to sleep.
Avoid Bedtime Stimulation
The hour before bedtime needs to be a time of quiet and peace. Don’t engage in rigorous exercise routines, watch television, work, or do computer research during this important time for your brain to begin disengaging for the night. It also helps to cut out caffeine, wine, and other stimulants prior to this time so that your body is prepared for sleep.
The key to minimizing or managing sleep disruptions during menopause is to eliminate the activities you do control that cause these disruptions. The fewer outside influences on insomnia remain, the less impact the occasional disruption leaves behind.
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