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Sleeping issues and menopause go hand in hand, and if this is something you are dealing with, then you are not alone.
Menopause can be a very difficult time for women, especially due to the physical, psychological, and hormonal changes they go through.
These changes disturb the sleeping pattern, and sleep issues become more and more common. So if you are struggling with these issues or know someone who is, then you have come to the right place. Here’s how you can ensure a good night’s sleep while dealing with menopause.
What Are The Common Menopausal Symptoms?
Some common symptoms of menopause that most women go through include:
- Periods irregularity
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Sleeping issues
- Weight gain
- Vaginal dryness
- Slow metabolism
- Loss of breast fullness
- Thinning hair and drying skin
Different Sleep Issues Associated With Menopause
Menopausal symptoms change from woman to woman, but sleep issues are one of the most common symptoms associated with it. These sleep problems include:
Insomnia is a chronic condition where you struggle with staying asleep or have difficulty falling asleep. This condition can occur three times a week, and individuals with insomnia tend to experience restlessness during sleep, cannot sleep at all, wake up super early, or feel tired and sleepy throughout the day.
Due to this sleep deprivation, you can get super irritable and anxious, have a weak memory, are unable to focus, and also feel painful headaches. The risk of insomnia increases when women enter into menopause.
Hot flashes are when you experience a sudden sensation of heat all over you unexpectedly, and you start to sweat vigorously. Hot flashes usually start from your chest and then follow to the rest of your body. They can occur even in the coldest of weather and can last for around 15 seconds to around 5 minutes or sometimes even more. This symptom affects women going through menopause, and the worst part is that it can continue affecting them for over 7-10 years.
When hot flashes take place at night, they are called night sweats. So during sleep, the temperature rises and directs the blood flow to the face, creating a heating sensation to wake you up. Due to the increase in temperature and adrenaline, hot flashes can be very energizing and make it difficult for you to fall back asleep.
However, even if you do fall asleep, the quality of sleep is very poor because of the discomfort caused by body sweat and because you tend to wake up constantly. This can lead to fatigue the next day and even cause depression over time.
Apart from insomnia and hot flashes, women undergoing menopausal symptoms may develop other sleeping disorders. These disorders include periodic limb movement disorder or even restless leg syndrome. Both of these disorders create an uncomfortable sleeping sensation with uncontrolled leg jerking. Anxiety and depression follow these sleep disorders and worsen any sleep issues you may have. They also lead to irritation during the day.
Inconsistent Breathing Patterns
Sleep apnea and snoring are two other common sleep issues that menopausal women go through. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that leads to poor sleep quality due to temporary pauses in your breathing. It also causes you to make snoring, gasping, or choking sounds during your sleep and not only wake you up but also make it uncomfortable for your partner.
Tips to Deal With Menopausal Sleep Issues
A weak sleep pattern can ruin your overall health and make you easily irritable and even sick. The following sleep tips can help you with menopausal sleep issues and ensure a long and peaceful sleep:
To avoid sleep issues such as sleep apnea, maintaining a healthy diet and weight are very necessary. Usually, sleep apnea tends to take place in females with high body weight, and since menopause causes your weight to increase drastically, it worsens sleep apnea.
So in order to keep your weight healthy, avoid spicy food, large meals, and acidic food before bedtime since this can cause hot flashes.
Before you head to bed, it is best to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and even nicotine. These vices can disrupt your sleep pattern and lower the quality of sleep. Try to steer clear of them, especially after 5 pm, so that by the time you sleep, your body is prepared to provide you with a night of good REM sleep.
Stress plays a very important role in disrupting sleep and can keep you up all night long. It is important that you reduce stress and keep anxious thoughts away so that you can fall asleep quickly. Some tips to keeping stress at bay include exercise, yoga, and regular massage. If you feel severely depressed or anxious, consult a professional right away.
Use The Restroom
Usually, sleep patterns get disrupted if you have to get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. The light from the washroom can wake you up and make it difficult for you to fall asleep again. To avoid this issue, it is a smart idea to use the restroom right before going to bed and also avoid consuming liquid an hour before bedtime. This way, you can avoid waking up in the middle of the night or early morning to pee.
Try To Fall Back Asleep
Since menopausal symptoms such as night sweats tend to stay with you for quite some time, you must develop a routine of learning how to fall back asleep. Some tips you can follow include staying in bed with no lights on and keeping your phone and TV turned off.
As soon as you look at your phone screen, your sleep will be disturbed, and falling back to sleep will become difficult, so avoid using gadgets. Also, night sweats can make your clothes all wet, which is why it’s a good idea to keep a clean set of PJs and a cool glass of water near your bed.
Create A Bedtime Routine
If you tend to deal with night sweats on a routine basis, you need to create a routine that cools down your body temperature and reduces stress. Some tips to do that are listening to calming music, taking a bath before going to sleep, or reading something. You can also opt for relaxation techniques such as facial massage, deep breathing, stretching, and meditation.
Lower The Temperature Of Your Room
To make sure you avoid hot flashes during the night, it is a smart idea to keep the temperature in the room very low. You can lower the thermostat so that your room remains cold and you avoid sweating and hot flashes. Also, we recommend placing a small portable fan next to your bed to increase circulation and cool you down.
Try To Stick To A Schedule
Try to follow a consistent sleeping schedule. If you get up early one morning, try not to nap throughout the day and sleep on time. This way, you will be able to get up again early the next morning. However, if you think a nap is absolutely necessary, do not nap for longer than 20 minutes since this can interfere with your ability to sleep at night.
Wear Airy Clothes
It is also a smart idea to dress in lightweight pajamas and stay cool throughout the night. If you sleep alone, you can also sleep naked but if you are not comfortable, then consider wearing moisture-wicking clothes. You can also change your bedding for cooler fabrics.
How Can You Alter The Bedding Material For A Good Night Sleep During Menopause?
When choosing a bedsheet to avoid night sweats, it is smart to go for a lightweight and breathable material. Fabrics that are absorbent and moisture-wicking help keep hot flashes at bay. Examples of such fabrics include:
- Eucalyptus Fibers: Eucalyptus sheets are incredibly breathable and help regulate the temperature naturally.
- Microfiber: Microfiber fabrics help wick away moisture and are very absorbent, making them effective for night sweats.
- Linen: This material doesn’t retain heat due to the loose weave construction and is very breathable, making it great for dealing with hot flashes.
- Bamboo: Bamboo bed sheets provide you with a more cool and breathable sleep surface than cotton.
- Percale: This woven polyester or cotton is also cool to touch and very good for dealing with hot flashes.
Apart from keeping these materials in mind, some factors you should consider when buying bedding for menopause include:
- Avoid High Thread Count
When buying a breathable sheet to deal with hot flashes, avoid buying a higher thread count. A higher thread count means a premium-quality bedsheet that is very heavy and less breathable.
- Moisture Wicking Technology
Many sheets come with moisture-wicking features that allow them to absorb the sweat from your body. This helps you deal with night sweats without any issue and makes your damp body feel dry.
How well you look after your bedding reflects directly on how well it breathes. If you do not wash your breathable bed sheets, they will not allow proper airflow and will work exactly how higher thread count sheets work.
Also, if you tend to experience night sweats on a constant basis, we recommend changing sheets every two days. When washing your sheets, avoid using a fabric softener because it can bind the fibers together and reduce airflow.
- Cooling Technology
Nowadays, there are plenty of sheets that come with additional cooling technology and help keep sweat away from your body. These technologies release a cold sensation to keep your body temperature intact when you undergo night sweats.
How Long Do Menopausal Hot Flashes Last?
When it comes down to hot flashes and night sweats, there is no determined pattern for it because menopause has different stages. The three stages include perimenopause, post-menopause, and menopause, but menopause and perimenopause night sweats can last for around four years.
However, this changes from person to person, and some women experience it for two years only while others can experience it for over six years. If you go through prolonged symptoms of menopause, especially hot flashes, then make sure you consult your doctor right away.
Menopause can be a very stressful time for a woman, and during this time, extra affection and support can go a long way. Menopausal symptoms can be very difficult and irritating to deal with. However, with some quick tips and changes in bedsheets, most of these symptoms can be dealt with easily. So, make sure you keep the tips mentioned above in mind and make your menopause easy to handle.