The hormonal changes and hot flashes associated with menopause can make getting a good night's sleep seem like a distant and unachievable dream. Learn about the importance of sleep and how to fit more ZZZs into your life.
Going a night without sleep can make you feel groggy the next day, but it can also wreak havoc on your body. Lack of sleep, especially over an extended period of time, can increase your risk for:
Anxiety and depression
High blood pressure and heart disease
Obesity and Type 2 diabetes
Stroke and loss of brain tissue
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that people sleep at least seven hours each night.
Roadblocks as You Age
Decreased production of estrogen and progesterone, a sleep-promoting hormone, can cause you to lose sleep. When you combine these hormonal changes with night sweats and mood disorders caused by menopause, getting seven hours of restful sleep every night can become an uphill battle. Hormone replacement therapy may be an option for you. Your healthcare provider can provide you with the benefits and risks.
There are some steps you can take to help secure more sound sleep as you get older:
Avoid caffeine, sugar and alcohol as you near bedtime, and nix nicotine entirely. All of these things can prevent you from getting restful REM sleep.
Create an ideal sleep environment by keeping your room dark, cool and quiet at night.
Don't eat large meals or drink too much fluid before bedtime.
Exercise daily, but don't exercise within three hours of bedtime.
If you can't fall asleep after lying in bed for 20 minutes, get up and perform a relaxing activity like reading a book or listening to calming music. Once you're feeling sleepy, try going back to bed.
Keep electronics out of the bed, as their blue light can keep you from falling asleep.
Naps can be a good way to catch up on sleep, but make sure not to nap in the late afternoons or evenings.
Set a sleep schedule and stick to it. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day-weekends included.
Sleep in comfortable, loose clothing.
Wind down in the hour leading up to sleep by taking a warm bath, reading, or listening to soothing music.
If these tips don't result in better sleep, consider speaking to your physician about cognitive behavioral therapy, dietary changes, over-the-counter supplements, and hormone replacement therapy.