Insomnia! Another menopausal woe. Some nights, I’ll say to myself: “What would I pay tonight for a good night’s sleep? “
I’m always glad to read of sleep research, so I was delighted to be contacted by Tuck.com, a sleep science research hub. Do check out their website here. Lots of great resources!
Here’s a post by Sara Westgreen, a researcher for Tuck:
Sleep and Menopause
Adults need six to nine hours of sleep per night. But how much sleep you actually need depends on a number of factors, including your age, physical activity, mental activity, and health, including conditions such as menopause.
Although healthy sleep habits are important for everyone, women in particular need to focus on healthy sleep. Women are more prone to insomnia than men, and hormonal changes, such as those experienced in menopause, can make sleep difficult and change sleep quality and duration. At 45 years of age and older, women are 1.7 times more likely to have insomnia than men.
How Menopause Affects Sleep
During perimenopause and menopause, women are more likely to experience difficulty with sleep. Women experiencing menopause may suffer from:
Trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep (insomnia)
Longer sleep latency (the time it takes to transition from full wakefulness to sleep)
Less slow wave sleep (deep sleep)
How Women with Menopause Can Improve Sleep
Create a healthy sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable to create a healthy sleeping environment. You may need blackout curtains or a white noise machine to make your room dark and quiet.
Stick to a sleep routine. Maintain a regular sleep routine, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Practice all of the same pre-bedtime steps each night, such as brushing your teeth and then reading a book for 30 minutes before lights out.
Avoid habits that are bad for sleep. If you head into menopause with bad sleep habits, menopause will only make things worse. Limit screen time before bed, as screens can influence wakefulness in your brain. Avoid large meals before bed, and don’t consume coffee or alcohol close to bedtime, as they can keep you awake and decrease the quality of your sleep.
Sleep cool. Hot flashes and night sweats are likely to occur whether you’re in flannel sheets or sleeping under a fan. However, you can make changes to your sleeping environment, bedding, and sleepwear and sleep a little cooler. Choose a mattress that is breathable and known to sleep cool. Memory foam mattresses may retain body heat and make it difficult to cool down at night, so consider a mattress that sleeps cooler, such as an innerspring. Sheets should be cotton or another breathable fabric, and your sleepwear should be a breathable material as well. Turn on an overhead fan, or keep a desk fan next to your bed at night, and bump down the air conditioning while you’re sleeping to sleep cooler. Check out Tuck’s Mattress Buying Guide.
Sara Westgreen is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com. She sleeps on a king size bed in Texas, where she defends her territory against cats all night. A mother of three, she enjoys beer, board games, and getting as much sleep as she can get her hands on.