Menopause is a body change that is unique to every woman in her hormonal life cycle, but many would agree that it is one of the biggest factors in uprooting a good night’s sleep.
Sleep comes to us by way of the hormone melatonin, however, the melatonin production capacity becomes far less robust as women age.
Missing out on sleep can have a negative affect on our overall health, from low mood to making us more prone to serious medical conditions including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Leading psychologist and mindfulness expert, Hope Bastine, who is also resident expert at sleep tech firm SIMBA, has shared her top tips for getting a better night’s kip with FEMAIL.
Leading psychologist and mindfulness expert, Hope Bastine, who is also resident expert at sleep tech firm SIMBA, has shared her top tips for getting a better night’s kip with FEMAIL Pictured: stock image
Dial down the thermostat
With energy bills on the rise, hearing that the key to a better night’s rest lies in curating a nice cool bedroom could be music to our ears, and bank balance!
Regardless of whether you are in the perimenopausal state or not, the optimum room temperature of a good night sleep is between 16-18 degrees centigrade.
When going through ‘the change’, I recommend reducing that temperature to as low as 12 degrees if you want to banish the tossing and turning.
Start by turning off the thermostat of your radiator in the bedroom and opening a window at night.
If you share a bed, try a Scandinavian favorite – two single duvets. This is a simple way to avoid having to swelter under a winter tog duvet.
You can stick to a lower summer tog, while your partner will welcome the warmth from something heavier.
Try the ice water self-hypnotic practice
If your mind can believe it, your body will receive it.
In an effort to ‘Be the cold’ – try an Ice-Water self-hypnotic practice – the first time you try this get a bowl of ice/cold water and place one of your hands in it.
Take long deep breaths and count yourself down from 10 – 1. Then, visualise the cold from your hand traveling up and throughout your whole body.
Once you become skilled in this practice, you will be able to do it without the ice bucket.
You can apply this practice every time you start feeling a hot flush or just before bed.
Some of my favourite cooling meditations: ‘the Cottage in the Snow’ mediation by the Honest Guys over on YouTube or ‘One Winter’s Night’ on the Meditation Vacation YouTube channel.
Avoid synthetic fibres
If you’re eyeing up the latest trend off the runway, thinking about what it’s made from can help you in your quest to cool.
During the day and night, avoid wearing synthetic fibres as they trap heat and cause us to sweat. Wearing linens, silks, wools, and cottons by day can help to avoid hot flashes.
Accept the things that are changing
The resilience of our human spirit tells us that we can get through almost anything when we know it has an end date.
Standing firm in the knowledge that ‘This too will pass’ has a way of helping us cope with life’s adversities. The good news is that once we come out the other side of the change period, slow wave sleep improves.
Wear yourself cooler by night with PJs that actually help cool you down. Eucalyptus fibre works a treat for this.
Linen, silk and cotton are also cooling.
Look out for soybean based foods
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is now a common medical intervention but some GPs aren’t keen on prescribing it in the early stages of the hormonal transition.
Making adjustments to your diet can be helpful. Foods such as flax seeds, edamame, dried fruits, tofu and cruciferous veg all contain phytoestrogen can help promote the production of oestrogen and progesterone, which amongst many other things, may assist in moderating body temperature.
If you want to stay cooler, also look out for soyabean based foods. Some supplements are also convenient ways to get phytoestrogen.
Avoid foods and drinks that cause heat spikes before bed! That includes coffee, tea, and spices.
Instead, Sip Red Clover flower tea that provides us with a form of oestrogen – coumestrol – which helps to control hormonal fluctuations.
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Research shows that hormonal interventions plus mindfulness-based CBT or just CBT are extremely effective in managing the 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 major life change and insomnia.
Psychologist Hope Bastine, pictured, who is also resident expert at sleep tech firm SIMBA, shares her top tips for getting a better night’s kip with FEMAIL
Exercise is an important part of sleep hygiene.
One of the other symptoms of the menopause is heart rate fluctuations. Heart rate variability is crucial to getting into the right state for sleep.
So, getting in 30 minutes of HIIT will not only get you feeling fit but feeling chilled enough to sleep.
There is ongoing debate about the best time of day to exercise for optimal sleep.
However, researchers are gradually starting to understand the differing advantages of exercising at different times.
I recommend leaving at least an hour and half before bed. This allows time for endorphin levels and core body temperature to reduce and return to levels that are more favorable to sleep.
Achieve sleep lift-off with space-inspired tech
Creating the right conditions for sleep lie heavily on what we actually sleep on. Anything that holds heat will just add to and exacerbate your frustration.
Simba’s high-tech duvet has been hailed a “menopause miracle” thanks to its ability to regulate body temperature throughout the night.
Women suffering hot flushes – a prevalent symptom of the menopause – say the sleep technology firm’s “Hybrid” duvet has helped them to keep cool while they sleep.
Containing 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 consistent temperature and helping owners fall into a deeper, more restorative state.
Simba’s Hybrid Pillow also includes this clever phase change material that actively responds to the temperature outside – absorbing body heat to cool the wearer down when they are too hot, and vice-versa.
The menopause occurs when a woman stops having periods and can no longer fall pregnant naturally.
It is a natural part of ageing, which occurs in women between 45 and 55 years old.
However 1 in 100 women can experience menopause before the age of 40, which is known as premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency.
Symptoms often include hot flushes, night sweats, low mood, reduced sex drive, vaginal dryness, an increase in facial hair and difficulty sleeping.
According to NHS advice, symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and last around four years after your last period.
Premature or early menopause can occur at any age, and in many cases, there’s no clear cause.