“Of all the problems that menopause brought, persistent sleep issue is the hardest to deal with as it turned my routine upside down. I could not have let that take control of me, so I am making some changes in my lifestyle and that is helping me.” Miss Geeta Narang, a schoolteacher in her late 40s, who lives with her family in New Delhi, is one among thousands of women who are suffering from menopause insomnia.
And what causes insomnia in females when they are transitioning to menopause? It is the plunging levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body. This change in hormones increase the symptoms of menopause, one being insomnia. Insomnia is a disorder that makes it difficult in falling and staying asleep. With it, multiple personal care issues arise as one ends up feeling tired, stressed and forgetful most of the time. But there are many steps you can take to cure it. Start with not getting impatient while counting sheep.
1 – Exercise regularly
Exercising can get things in your body moving and release endorphins that in turn reduce stress levels. It is best to work out in the morning or at least a couple of hours before your bedtime so that your brain and body have enough time to wind down. Make it fun by doing it with a friend or playing your favourite music or integrating dance into it.
2 – Eat healthier and earlier
By now you already know the importance of eating healthy and might have made a balanced diet a part of your life. If not, then do it now and eat at least two hours before going to bed. Start adding protein packed foods like legumes, chicken, paneer to your cart. Make eating salads a regular part of your routine with vitamin and mineral-rich fruits and vegetables greens, berries, apples, bright beets, capsicum etc. For snack time, replace crisps with nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, flaxseed that are high on omega-3 fatty acids. These can help regulate your hormones, and thus menopause sleep problems.
3 – Keep your bedroom cool and dark
Noisy surroundings only add trouble to your sleep problems and increase your perimenopause anxiety at night. So, make your bedroom sleep-friendly by keeping the temperature, lights and noise low. The cool temperature can help you with the hot flashes that wake you up in the middle of the night, while less blue light exposure will aid in making you drowsy.
Minimise blue light exposure well before your bedtime and keep smartphones and other such devices away. Don’t forget to remove loudly ticking clocks if there are any.
4 – Drink warm milk before bed
Sometimes even after trying all the above, you might still have problem falling asleep. Assure yourself that it is going to be okay and try some natural remedies. warm up a cup of milk. Milk contains compounds like tryptophan and melatonin that increase drowsiness and help you fall asleep. So keep calm and drink milk in your favourite cup.
5 – Hormone replacement therapy
With falling hormones around perimenopause or menopause, insomnia can sometimes aggravate beyond the control of home remedies. Thankfully you can try hormone replacement therapy that can ease your sleep problems. The therapy helps supplement your estrogen levels to create a balance. Some also resort to low-dose birth control that may be able to stabilize hormone levels, thus easing insomnia. Consult your doctor before trying these.
Making healthy lifestyle choices would prove beneficial for you in general as well as in easing menopause and insomnia. Chalk out a discipline that works for your routine and stick to it. While you are going to eventually see improvements, stay patient with yourself. A little self-love goes a long way.