Monday, 28 October 2013

Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep

I did what I said I was going to do in the last post.  I went in search of ways to try and get a good night's sleep despite all the menopause mayhem currently going on in my body.

It wasn't a very complicated search; I should stress that up front.  Most of my information came from doing a Google search of 'menopause sleep'.  I only ever go to the 'recognized medical' sites - The Mayo Clinic, Web MD and so on.  I did also check out a couple of articles from The National Sleep Foundation (U.S.) and The Huffington Post.

However, if you need help like me, here are the results I found.  Basically, most of these sources say the same thing:

  • Set a sleep schedule that allows for at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. 
  • Reinforce this schedule by sticking to it, even on weekends.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants.
  • Avoid alcohol (this is starting to sound like no fun at all!!  But then... neither is not sleeping!).
  • Avoid stimulating entertainment (books, TV, video games, etc.) just before bed.
  • Exercise can help; just make sure it's done two to three hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid eating within two hours of bedtime.
  • Yoga, tai chi and meditation can help calm us down, ready for sleep.  Yoga especially, can help with insomnia in menopausal women, according to this article.

Some suggestions to help with the hot flashes that can wake us up are:

  • Try PJs made from either wicking or 'breathable' natural fabrics
  • Try a Chillow cooling pillow
  • Keep bedroom temperature cool
  • Take a hot bath before bed.  This sounds counter-intuitive, but apparently it lowers your body temperature afterwards

Further help can come from supplements and medications:

  • Melatonin is a natural sleep aid.  A common dosage recommendation is 3-5 mg.  Getting outside during the day can also help with melatonin formation in the body, so can help with getting to sleep.
  • Hormone Therapy can be prescribed if this is suitable for the individual involved and if the situation warrants it.  The process for prescribing HT is different now than in the past, so check with your doctor on this one.
  • Prescription sleep aids can also help.  As has been widely reported though, many of these can be habit forming, so again, check with your doctor and know what they are prescribing and what the side-effects might be.
These tips seem to be the consensus of what I found on the Web.  Some of them I already do; some I could do better on.  Some of them I would be reluctant to try. 

I'm going to see my own doctor this week, hopefully; after that maybe I can come up with one or two other things that may help.  I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, if you have any tips on how you get to dreamland, please (please!) share them in the comments.  At this point I would gratefully consider almost any suggestions!



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