We recently discussed how important keeping cool is while you sleep. Some of you may have read this article and said “I wish I could stay cool!” Many females in their late 30s, 40s, and beyond who cannot keep cool at night are actually experiencing either the beginning of their transition to Menopause, which is called Perimenopause, or after Menopause, which is Postmenopause. Sleep can be impacted by many things, including the hormones released in this life change. Insomnia and other sleep disruptions from hot flashes are unfortunately very common in women going through Menopause.
While you know the cause, you don’t need to just accept it. Here's what you need to know to get the deep sleep you need, each and every night:
#1 Understand the hormones at work. In order to know how to minimize it or even fix something, you must first understand what it happening. One cause of Menopause-related sleeplessness is hot flashes. In 85% of Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal women, fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone occur and cause hot flashes. When they strike during the night, they can have devastating effects. These nighttime hot flashes are often associated with drenching night sweats that lead to awakening from sleep. Some women even have to get fully up to change clothes or bed linens. Obviously, this amount of activity occurring in the middle of the night makes it difficult to resume sleep and awake fully rested the next morning.
#2 Get plenty of exercise. So, the question becomes- what can a woman do about it? For starters, work out! You may be thinking “Won’t exercise make me hotter?” No, because regular exercise keeps your hormones more in balance, particularly those that can wake you up at night. Exercise also goes a long way to keep your weight down, which helps your temperature at night on its own. Don’t forget that the timing of your exercise is important, however. You should never exercise two to three hours before bedtime, as that can also interfere with rest whether you are Menopausal or not.
#3 Sip in small doses. Sipping coffee, hot teas, and cappuccinos late into the evening causes problems for several reasons. For one, they raise your temperature even before your hot flashes begin. Also, the extra boost of caffeine will make it even harder to fall back asleep once you wake up too hot. It’s best to avoid it altogether if you are struggling with Insomnia or night sweats, but if you must have it, indulge early in the day. Caffeine stays in your system for up to eight hours!
#4 Keep external factors cool. Before you go to bed, prepare yourself for a successful night. Make sure the temperature in your bedroom is comfortable and low. Wear breathable cotton pajamas and choose cotton or other natural materials for sheets over synthetic options. You may also want to consider taking a cool shower an hour or so before bed.
#5 Sleep on the right mattress and bedding set. Your mattress can help you stay cool, from the moment you lay down, until you fall asleep, until you wake up in the morning. There are mattresses made especially for this, like the PranaSleep mattresses that feature Outlast® Smart Fabric. It seamlessly absorbs excess body heat. This unique fabric helps to facilitate the body’s cooling process, enabling deep sleep and REM. There are many other options that feature this type of temperature regulation that helps you stay comfortable during the night, both from PranaSleep and others, such as Stearns & Foster and Serta. If you already have a mattress you love and don’t want to switch, you can always get a cooling pad to place on top. You’ll enjoy the comfort and support of your current sleep system with an extra cool feeling!
Restlessness and an endless night of tossing and turning is often the result of hot flashes. It’s easy to see why female hormones, like those that are in effect during Menopause, would have a major impact on your sleep, making it nearly impossible to stay asleep long enough to reach both Deep Sleep and REM. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 61% of Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal women report frequent bouts of Insomnia. The solution is clear: to keep healthy during the day and prepare for a deep sleep each night on a supportive and high-quality mattress, as well as breathable sheets and pillows. You may also have more individual needs, like a specific type of firm, innerspring mattress or even an extra cooling pad. You can get all of these items, as well as advice on all sleep products from a Sleep Expert at City Mattress!