Insomnia can be a contributing factor in many menopause related conditions. Fatigue and tiredness caused by lack of sleep can contribute to irritability and mood swings, which lead to increased stress levels that can trigger heart palpitations and hot flashes. Many women have found that once they get their sleep under control and can get 6 to 7 uninterrupted hours sleep per night then many of their menopause symptoms reduce significantly.The reduction in estrogen levels in the body during menopause affects the production of serotonin, which is a chemical that helps to produce melatonin (the hormone responsible for sleep). By keeping the hormone levels in balance natural sleep patterns should return. Obviously without embarking on a course of hormone replacement therapy, this is not always possible and other methods of re-establishing a healthy sleep pattern need to be explored. Where possible a long course of sleeping tablets should be avoided as these can lead to addiction and result in more problems than they cure. By getting hot flashes or night sweats under control and using natural methods you should soon be able to regain your natural sleep cycle.
You first need to make sure that you are comfortable in bed. If your mattress is old and worn consider replacing it with a new one. Use cotton sheets and wear cotton night clothes as these will help keep you cool. Set the thermostat to around 5 degrees cooler than normal, this should help to keep night sweats to the minimum. The more comfortable you are the easier it will be to sleep.
If you have a TV in your room move it out to another room and try to avoid reading in bed, as both books and TV’s can stimulate you (which is something you must try to eradicate at bedtime). Finally...get into a simple routine and try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
A change of diet can play a large part in curing insomnia. You should try to cut out all caffeine and alcohol if at all possible. If it’s not possible try to restrict intake 8 hours before you go to bed. It can take this long for the effects of caffeine to wear off. Calcium can help you to sleep so hot milky drinks with no sugar are good an hour or so before bed.
Alternatively try some herbal teas like peppermint of chamomile. Finally, repeating a string of numbers in your head can help a lot. The constant repetition can help the brain stimulate theta waves which occur when you are drowsy. If you have ever driven a long distance on a freeway and suddenly can’t remember the last few miles that was probably the brain in theta wave mode. By entering into this state sleep should come naturally. Menopause insomnia is treatable with patience and practice.
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