Let’s have a conversation about menopause and sleep. We love it, we want more of it, but most of the women I talk to aren’t able to get enough of it or the sleep they do get is lousy. Poor quality sleep is a hallmark of our perimenopausal years but it doesn’t have to be.
Even one night of inadequate sleep and we can wake up with insulin resistance leading to off-kilter appetite and weight gain. It may affect your exercise routine and the quality of the work you do. Your hormones are what are altered behind the scenes. Your appetite hormones ghrelin (the one that makes you feel hungry) and leptin (the one that tells you to stop eating), usually in sort of a see-saw balance become unbalanced when sleep is compromised. To make matters worse, cortisol (the stress hormone that stores fat) plays a prominent role. So you feel hungry when you’re really not and you start craving high-calorie, high-carbohydrate foods.
How to Get Some Quality ZZZZ’s
Relax. Sip on some chamomile tea to calm nerves and reduce anxiety. Another option, take a magnesium glycinate supplement or soak in a warm bath with epsom salts to relax muscles.
Aromatherapy. Add lavender oil to a diffuser to fill the room with a relaxing scent.
Silence. One of my favorite sleep tools are earplugs which I put in before I fall asleep. I use the foam type which mute sounds enough to allow me to stop reacting to little noises but not enough to block out the gentle sound of my morning alarm.
Ready the Body. A restorative yoga practice or evening meditation helps to prepare body and mind to convert to shutdown mode.
Just Say No to Stimulants. How sensitive are you to caffeine? Determine at what point in the day you need to put the breaks on caffeine in order to get a good night’s sleep. Remember even decaf contains some caffeine.
Shut Down the Screens. The blue light that is emitted from tablets, computers, and smart phones messes with our sleep hormone, melatonin. Best to power them down at least an hour before you want to hit the hay.
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