Become A Sleeping Beauty
Sleep plays an extremely important part in a healthy menopause lifestyle and far too many of us get far too little! Stress and sleep are inversely related; the less you sleep the more difficulty you’ll have facing life’s challenges creating greater stress; the more sleep you have the less stressful every day pressures seem to be.
During the day the appropriate stress hormones are at play and you’re in a state of ‘Fight, Flight or Freeze’, a constant state of alert designed to keep you alive and well. However, it’s not possible to live in this state 24/7 so overnight when you sleep different hormones become dominant and the body transforms into a state of ‘Rest & Repair’; a time to recharge your cellular batteries, enable tissue repair and cellular growth to occur. During sleep the body’s essential elimination organs are also cleansing the body of toxins accrued throughout the day.
Here are some other side effects of poor sleep:
- the stress hormone cortisol levels are disrupted and they stay high for far too long accelerating the ageing process 
- your immune response is lowered. A study shows that missing just a few hours of sleep a night on a regular basis can decrease the number of natural killer cells which are responsible for fighting off bacterial and viral invaders
- inadequate sleep can also cause insulin resistance which may increase the severity of chronic age-related disorders 
- little or disrupted sleep can contribute towards weight gain 
So reducing stress AND getting your beauty sleep is vitally important!
All very well and good to know all this information, but what can you do about it?
Many women find that their sleep is restless and disturbed during and post menopause. Symptoms may include more frequent waking, snoring, disturbed sleep and a general inability to fall asleep. In order to address the problems associated with these sleep disorders it’s necessary to assess both the psychological and physiological factors.
What Causes Menopausal Sleep Problems?
Quite simply the hormone imbalance between oestrogen and progesterone is linked to:
- Night sweats which interrupt the sleep cycle
- Decrease in the happy hormone serotonin which is used to create the sleep hormone melatonin
- Any and all stress
Tips for a good night’s sleep:
- Avoid all dietary stimulants that will increase production of the stress hormones:
- caffeine, found commonly in coffee, tea, Red Bull (evil stuff) , coca cola (more evil stuff!) and chocolate (evil but nice!)
- decaffeinated products
- refined sugars
- Eat a little and often during the day to keep blood sugar balanced
- Avoid food just before bedtime
- Eat your evening meal at least 3 hours before bed
- Include plenty of serotonin/tryptophan inducing ingredients in your evening meal. Don’t be fooled into thinking that dairy, eggs and turkey are the only sources! Tryptophan is also high in the following vegetables:
- Dark chlorophyll rich leafy greens (spinach, kale, mustard greens, swiss chard)
- Soya (beans, tofu, tamari, miso). Ensure these are organic and don’t come from genetically modified soya sources.
- Lentils and beans (kidney, black, pinto, navy etc)
- Cauliflower, cucumber, celery, peppers, aubergine
- Seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower) and nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds)
- Whole grains and seeds (quinoa, oats, buckwheat, rye, bulgur)
- If you awake during the night with palpitations, have a snack of carbohydrate with protein. For example, Oat cake, rice cake or rye bread with (organic only) cottage cheese or tahini paste.
- Have a calming cup of chamomile tea before bed
- Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a handkerchief and keep by your pillow so you can inhale the relaxing fragrance
- Go to bed at the same time every night, arise at the same time every morning. This will help break old learned habits and create new ones.
- If you suffer from restless legs (how awful is that?) or muscle cramps, taking a magnesium supplement can be really helpful.
- Having a relaxing Epsom Salts bath before bed can aid restful sleep.
- Valerian and passionflower herbs can be very relaxing. Talk to a local herbalist.
- Clear your mind of the day’s worries and woes.
- Write a to do list for the next day
- Complete a Gratitude Journal for the day. Write down 3 things you are grateful for.
- Listen to a relaxation CD prior to sleep
- Meditate or practice visualisation techniques
- Create a calm and relaxing sanctuary in your bedroom
- Remove ALL electronic equipment from the bedroom. That means no TV, no mobile phone, no electric alarm clocks. In fact ANYTHING that has a plug at the end should be removed.
- Remove everything from the bedroom that is not to do with sleep, eg work, pets
- Turn the heating down a little, you sleep better in a cool environment
- Staying cool by wearing loose clothing to bed, or even go naked!
- Keep your bedroom well ventilated
- Keep your bedroom dark to stimulate melatonin levels
- Exercise regularly but not just before sleep.
- Avoid naps during the day, which can prevent you from sleeping well at night
- If you take sleeping pills then don’t stop without consulting your GP
- Have sex!
Nutritional Therapist, Award Winning Menopause Coach
Member British Menopause Society
Helping busy ladies naturally create harmony and health through the menopause years and beyond. Regain control, confidence, and be free to live the life they choose.
A full hysterectomy in her 30s led nutritional therapist and health coach Clare on an amazing adventure exploring the many opportunities available to manage her enforced menopause and create long-term health.
Clare prefers the natural approach, and qualifying in nutritional therapy gave her the confidence to come off HRT, take back control of her life and health, and look forward to living the best third of her life free of prescription drugs. Understanding the importance of creating harmony of health of both body and mind through menopause and beyond, she’s now on a mission to inspire, educate and empower other women, too.
Click HERE to find out more about how Clare shares her years of exploring, experience and knowledge through 1:1 consultations and online programmes, and where you can request a FREE 30 minute consultation with Clare to discuss any personal menopause/health concerns you may have.