Menopause is a body change unique to each woman in her hormonal life cycle, but many will agree that it’s one of the biggest factors in uprooting a good night’s sleep.
Sleep comes to us through the hormone melatonin, but melatonin production capacity becomes much less robust as women age.
Sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on our overall health, from a low mood to making us more susceptible to serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Leading psychologist and mindfulness expert Hope Bastine, who is also a resident expert at sleep technology company SIMBA, has shared her top tips for a better night’s sleep with FEMAIL.
Leading psychologist and mindfulness expert, Hope Bastine, who is also an expert at sleep technology company SIMBA, has shared her top tips for a better night’s sleep with FEMAIL Pictured: stock image
Turn the thermostat down
With utility bills rising, hearing may be that the key to a better night’s sleep lies in putting together a nice and cool bedroom, music to our ears, and bank balance!
Whether you are in perimenopause or not, the optimum room temperature for a good night’s sleep is between 16-18 degrees Celsius.
If you’re going through “the change,” I recommend lowering that temperature to 12 degrees if you want to banish the tossing and turning.
Start by turning off your radiator thermostat in the bedroom and opening a window at night.
If you’re sharing a bed, try a Scandinavian favorite – two single duvets. This is an easy way to avoid scalding under a winter duvet.
You can stick it to a lower summer dress, while your partner will welcome the warmth of something heavier.
Try the self-hypnotic exercise with ice water
If your mind can believe it, your body will receive it.
In an effort to be ‘the cold’ – try a self-hypnotic exercise with ice water – the first time you try this, grab a bowl of ice/cold water and place one of your hands in it.
Take a long, deep breath and count yourself down from 10-1. Then visualize the coldness of your hand going up and through your entire body.
Once you are adept at this exercise, you can do it without the ice bucket.
You can do this exercise every time you get a hot flash or just before bed.
Some of my favorite cooling meditations: ‘the Cottage in the Snow’ mediation by the Honest Guys on YouTube or ‘One Winter’s Night’ on the Meditation Vacation YouTube channel.
Avoid synthetic fibers
Keeping an eye on the latest catwalk trend, thinking about what it’s made of can help you in your quest to cool down.
Avoid wearing synthetic fibers during the day and night, as they trap heat and make us sweat. Wearing linen, silk, wool, and cotton during the day can help prevent hot flashes.
Accept the things that change
The resilience of our human mind tells us that we can get through almost anything if we know it has an end date.
Standing firm in the knowledge that “this too shall pass” can help us cope with life’s adversities. The good news is that once we get to the other side of the change period, slow wave sleep improves.
Wear yourself cooler at night with PJs that really help you cool down. Eucalyptus fibers work a treat for this.
Linen, silk and cotton are also cooling.
Beware of soy-based foods
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is now a common medical intervention, but some GPs are reluctant to prescribe it in the early stages of the hormonal transition.
It may be helpful to adjust your diet. Foods such as flaxseed, edamame, dried fruit, tofu, and cruciferous vegetables all contain phytoestrogen and can help promote the production of estrogen and progesterone, which can help moderate body temperature, among other things.
If you want to stay cooler, keep an eye out for soybean-based foods as well. Some supplements are also convenient ways to get phytoestrogen.
Avoid foods and drinks that cause heat peaks before bedtime! That includes coffee, tea and herbs.
Instead, drink Red Clover flower tea which provides us with a form of estrogen – coumestrol – which helps control hormonal fluctuations.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Research shows that hormonal interventions plus mindfulness-based CBT or plain CBT are extremely effective in managing menopausal symptoms.
Mindfulness-based CBT is a 4-8 week course that combines the principles of mindfulness with the practical tools of CBT to help us cope with this important life change and insomnia.
Psychologist Hope Bastine, pictured, who is also an expert at sleep technology company SIMBA, shares her top tips for a better night’s sleep with FEMAIL
Exercise is an important part of sleep hygiene.
One of the other symptoms of menopause is fluctuations in heart rate. Heart rate variability is crucial to get into the right sleep state.
So taking in 30 minutes of HIIT will not only make you feel fit, but you will also feel cooled enough to sleep.
There is an ongoing debate about the best time of day to exercise for optimal sleep.
However, researchers are gradually beginning to understand the different benefits of exercising at different times.
I recommend leaving at least an hour and a half before bedtime. This gives the body’s endorphin levels and core temperature time to drop and return to levels more favorable for sleep.
Achieve sleep improvement with space-inspired technology
Creating the right conditions for sleep depends a lot on what we actually sleep on. Anything that traps heat will only increase and worsen your frustration.
Simba’s high-tech comforter has been hailed as a “menopausal miracle” thanks to its ability to regulate body temperature throughout the night.
Women who experience hot flashes — a common symptom of menopause — say the sleep tech company’s “hybrid” comforter has helped them stay cool while they sleep.
It contains STRATOS®, a technology inspired by the type used to protect astronauts from temperature changes in space, it works by absorbing and releasing heat throughout the night, maintaining a constant temperature and help you move into a deeper, more restorative state.
Simba’s hybrid pillow also features this clever phase-change material that actively responds to the outside temperature – absorbing body heat to cool the wearer if it’s too hot, and vice versa.
Menopause occurs when a woman stops menstruating and cannot conceive naturally.
It is a natural part of aging, occurring in women between the ages of 45 and 55.
However, 1 in 100 women may experience menopause before the age of 40, which is known as premature menopause or premature ovarian failure.
Symptoms often include hot flashes, night sweats, low mood, decreased sex drive, vaginal dryness, increased facial hair and trouble sleeping.
According to the advice of the NHS, symptoms can start months or even years before your period stops and last for about four years after your last period.
Premature or early menopause can occur at any age and in many cases there is no obvious cause.