At what point menopause starts is different from woman to woman. Sometimes the physical and emotional changes start in their mid-40s, in other cases they do not start until the end of 50. Regardless of age, many women experience change – the body feels change. As a result of the hormonal fluctuations, symptoms such as hot flashes, dry skin or sleep disorders during menopause can also occur.
Why do sleep disorders occur during menopause?
Menopause and sleep disorders – how is this related? With the menopause ends the fertility of the woman. The cycle changes, ovulation occurs less frequently and ultimately stops altogether. This change is accompanied by a hormonal adjustment of the whole body. In the meantime, severe hormone fluctuations can occur which lead to changes in the body.
When does fertility end?
It is important to know that a woman who is at the beginning of menopause is still able to get pregnant. The ovulation is still possible, whereby a fertilization can theoretically take place. If you don’t want to get pregnant, it is important to prevent at least until a menstrual period has stopped for one year.
The hormonal change mainly affects the female sex hormone estrogen. The production of estrogen and other female hormones in the ovaries is shutting down. In addition, all metabolic processes associated with these hormones must be adjusted. Estrogen, for example, is significantly involved in the metabolism of the skin. If the estrogen level drops, this will result in a reduction in the water and fat content, which will make the skin drier.
Sleep disorders during menopause arise because the brain also reacts to the fluctuations in the estrogen balance: the production of certain messenger substances, in this case acetylcholine and norepinephrine, decreases as a result of the falling level of the female sex hormone. These substances together with our sleep hormone melatonin are responsible for the regulation of our sleep phases. Since the melatonin production decreases sharply during this time, insomnia is usually the result of menopause.
In addition to a disturbed sleep-wake cycle, other symptoms can be triggered by the hormone fluctuations. These include, for example:
- dry skin
- depressive mood
- increased hair loss or hair growth
- dry mucous membranes
- migraines and headaches
- muscle and joint complaints
Hot flashes are also a common symptom of hormonal changes. This symptom can also be a trigger for sleep disorders during menopause. Partly the nocturnal sweat attacks are so strong that the complete bedding is soaked. Nocturnal awakening is then inevitable. To prepare for such nights, get yourself a second blanket and change of linen (preferably cotton). If you wake up at night due to a hot flush, you can quickly and easily change the soaked fabric without having to get up. As a result, fatigue may not be completely lost – and fast falling asleep is more likely. Ventilate well before going to bed to ensure a pleasant, cool room climate.
Insomnia during menopause: This is what you can do
When menopause is associated with sleep disorders, it can be very distressing for affected women. But there are ways to reduce the menopause-related insomnia or calm to deal with it:
- Allow relaxation before going to bed. Make something that relaxes you about an hour before you go to bed. You find peace with a nice warm bubble bath? Or relax with a book and a cup of herbal tea? Try it and integrate a good time into your evening program to prevent sleep disorders due to the menopause.
- No heavy meals in the evening. Especially after 6pm you should only eat light meals. Otherwise, the stomach and bowel have a lot to do at night and cause insomnia. However, with a growling stomach you should not go to bed, which can also affect the quality of sleep.
- Ensure complete darkness. If you suffer from insomnia during menopause, the room should be well darkened. Remove all light sources and if street lights shine in, make sure you have a proper cover. Light disturbs the household of the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for our sleep phases.
- Bridging up recovery phases makes sense. Rolling from one side to the other brings nothing but anger and worry about the lack of sleep. Better get up and read a book or solve a puzzle. When your body is ready, it gets tired on its own.
- Valerian products can help. In addition to its calming and anxiolytic effects, valerian can help with sleep disturbances during menopause through its sleep-inducing effect. Valerian preparations can be taken, for example, in the form of teas or as dragees.
If hot flashes are the cause of your insomnia during menopause, you can counteract them with appropriate measures. So enough exercise is important to prevent the heat waves. Exercise trains the ability to better regulate your body’s temperature and also helps you maintain a healthier blood pressure. From cycling to swimming to jogging: you have no limits.
Soothing sounds – music can help: The sound of music can help you fall asleep. Get some relaxing music or find your favorite song on Spotify and try it.
If you notice an approaching hot flush, it is also pleasant to cool your wrists under running water – this improves the condition. Even herbal tea (for example, red clover, sage or mistletoe) can reduce changes in menopause. An evening cup of tea in conjunction with raised legs and a light reading not only relaxes, but also prevents possible sleep disorders.