Sleep. We all know how important it is. But getting a good night’s sleep is something we can all struggle with from time to time, at any age. Then we reach menopause and getting those magical eight hours suddenly feels a whole lot harder.
Why sleep is so important
While we’re asleep, our bodies are working hard to heal and repair essential functions. So, we should never view sleep as a luxury – it’s critical for good health.
One night of poor sleep can leave us feeling groggy and irritable. But several nights of insufficient sleep can have a major impact on our health and can lead to other issues such as an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and stroke.
Of course, sleep doesn’t just affect us physically. It also plays an important role in how we feel emotionally too. Without a good night’s sleep, getting through the day can feel like a hard slog. So, there’s little wonder that a lack of sleep can leave us feeling anxious and irritable.
If you’ve found your sleep patterns have changed during menopause, you’re not alone. We asked women who are either menopausal or post-menopausal about the symptoms they were experiencing and 87% mentioned disrupted sleep.
How menopause affects sleep
During peri-menopause and menopause, our levels of the hormone oestrogen drop rapidly. This change in our hormones causes many different symptoms from hot flushes to loss of libido. But it also causes a number of symptoms that impact on sleep.
The good news is, there are steps you can take to restore your quality of sleep during menopause. So, let’s have a look at some of the symptoms and what you can do to help.
Many women experience night sweats during menopause. For some, it means drenched bed sheets almost every night. Naturally, experiencing night sweats is uncomfortable and can cause you to wake. You may wake feeling uncomfortably hot, or you could wake shivering, in wet nightclothes, as your body tries to regulate its temperature.
How to help: Swap heavy duvets and blankets for lighter options. If you share your bed with your partner, it’s a good idea to invest in separate duvets so you can easily kick yours off when you feel yourself getting hot. You may find a bedroom fan is a big help, especially in summer. Or simply opening a window – although you may also want to use earplugs to block out any sounds from outdoors.
You might not immediately associate itching skin with menopause but for many women, itchy skin (also known as pruritus), is an uncomfortable symptom that keeps them awake.
Itchy skin occurs when oestrogen levels decline, causing the epidermis (the outer layer of skin) to become thinner, leading to increased water loss and dryer, itching skin.
How to help: Avoid hot baths and showers before bedtime. Try wearing loose-fitting cotton nightclothes, which will allow your skin to breathe, rather than synthetic materials.
For lots of women, anxiety levels increase during menopause. This can lead to sleeplessness – especially if you’re lying awake with a million thoughts running through your mind.
How to help: Try downloading a meditation app onto your phone to listen to as you prepare for sleep. Alternatively, find activities during the day that help reduce anxiety – some women find jogging helps while others swear by yoga.
Remember, if you’re struggling with menopause symptoms, especially if they’re impacting on your sleep, it’s a good idea to chat to your GP who will be able to suggest ways to help.
The morning after
Poor sleep affects every aspect of your waking life from how much you enjoy your day at work to whether you feel like socialising in the evening.
Trying to get through the day after a poor night’s sleep isn’t easy. But there are a few things you can do to help you look and feel like you’ve had those eight hours.
Move and stretch
Take a walk outdoors, ideally before noon, to reset your body’s circadian rhythm. Or try out a new exercise class. Exercise is a great way to ease anxiety and low mood which in turn can help you get a better night’s sleep.
When we’re tired, it’s tempting to reach for coffee and sugary snacks to get us through the day. But eating healthy foods instead, including lots of fruit and veg plus lean protein, will help your body heal and repair following a poor night’s sleep. Reducing caffeine and sugar will also help improve the chances of a good night’s sleep.
Freshen up your appearance (even after a poor night’s sleep)
A lack of sleep inevitably affects our appearance, resulting in dull skin with those tell-tale dark circles under the eyes. But during menopause, even when you’ve had a good night’s sleep, you could find you still get that ‘tired look’. This is purely due to the dropping levels of oestrogen which causes accelerated collagen loss and skin ageing, leading increased to dryness, wrinkling, dullness and laxity.
If, like many women, you’re feeling less confident about your appearance during menopause, it’s a good time to review your skincare regime – especially when suffering from disrupted sleep.
Emepelle, is the revolutionary line of skincare products, developed especially for skin affected by menopause. Featuring, revolutionary MEP Technology®, Emepelle is clinically proven to effectively and safely reinvigorate the natural functions of skin, targeting the root cause of ageing in skin affected by menopause. Emepelle addresses dryness, wrinkling, dullness and laxity, helping you look your best through menopause – even if you’ve had a less than perfect night’s sleep!