How many hours’ sleep did you get last night? The experts tell us that as an adult we need 7-8 hours of undisturbed sleep per night to stay healthy, alert and able to work effectively in our everyday lives. Unfortunately for many women going through menopause, that amount of undisturbed nightly rest is only a pipe dream! Lack of sleep can leave you irritable, unable to concentrate at work or on daily activities.
Over time, insomnia may result in depression and a weakened immune system. Although the inability to get a great night’s sleep could be connected to emotional problems like anxiety, stress on the job, family or relationship worries and fiscal concerns, changes in hormone levels are often the source of insomnia in women during the menopausal years.
A reduction in fertility, which normally includes a sleep-inducing effect, can mean you’re unable to fall asleep fast or soundly, while decreasing estrogen levels can cause hot flashes and night sweats, waking you up several times each night and interrupting your sleep cycle.
Fortunately there are ways that you can wind down your body and your brain to cause sleep and get the rest you require. Herbal remedies are a safe and natural drug-free alternative treatment for menopausal symptoms and insomnia.
Plant extracts like Black Cohosh and Dong Quai have been proven to cover the hormone imbalance that causes insomnia, hot flashes and night sweats. Melatonin, Passion Flower and Valerian Root can be effective in assisting you to unwind and in promoting restful sleep.
Guided meditation and music therapy, either in the kind of CD’s or downloadable MP3 files, can be particularly successful in promoting deep relaxation and finally, sleep. Breathing techniques utilized in meditation will also be calming and relaxing and help to prepare you for sleep.
Lie on your back and try to concentrate fully on your own breath, in and out. Whenever thoughts enter your mind (and they will), just calmly put them apart and return your attention to your breathing. It requires a little practice but is also a wonderful method for getting back to sleep if you wake up during the night.
Progressive muscle relaxation techniques concentrate on relaxing the body which then relaxes the mind. Lie on your back and consciously relax every muscle one by one starting at your feet and moving slowly upwards through your ankles, knees, upper thighs, thighs, stomach, chest, hands, arms, shoulders, neck, neck, face and head.This technique works so well you’ll probably be asleep until you get to your neck!
Something benign and soothing; no experience books, psychological thrillers or horror stories. A few paragraphs at bedtime can often be enough to lull you into sleep mode. An easy yoga stretch and comfort routine before bedtime can set you up for a relaxing night’s rest. Try using a warm, relaxing bath or shower about 15 minutes prior to bedtime. Scented candles or candles can give a feeling of calm and comfort to your night- time ablutions. Just do not forget to blow out the candles before going to bed!