Sleep hygiene is the practice of implementing rituals to help you sleep and we created a handy downloadable guide for you to have on-hand.
We’ve created this gift for you because sleep issues can be a major drawback for women going through perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause but with the advent of the global pandemic that is COVID-19 we’ve noticed a marked increase.
This is important to address because good-quality sleep is crucial for both overall health and healing of the body.
You might assume that because your eyes are closed and you’re resting in bed your body is in slow mode. However, in actual fact, it’s very busy processing the byproducts of stress, toxins, and emotions, repairing damaged tissue, boosting your hormone supply and strengthening your immunity.
And you thought you worked hard during the day?! Your body is a warrior beavering away all night long. 😊
Unfortunately, a lot of our lifestyles these days – many of us run on stress overload, caffeine, alcohol and other sleep inhibitors – impede the body’s hard working night shift. As such, our our natural sleep processes aren’t supported and we have difficulty getting a good night of ZZZ’s. This can be even more problematic for women in the meno years as estrogen – a BFF and protector of sleep – declines and the adrenals and cortisol (the stress hormone) come more into play.
And then we get hit with a global pandemic.
Put the three things together: lifestyle, hormones and a pandemic (or the first two during normal times) and voila! We’ve got the perfect storm for an epidemic of sleep problems covering all the bases: falling asleep, staying asleep or full-blown insomnia.
Centers for Disease Control Study
In America, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published scientific reports (in 2017) about the sleep quality of women going through the meno years.
- They found that sleep problems increase during perimenopause (late 30s to 40s) with more than half (56 percent) sleeping less than seven hours per night.
- The findings also showed that nearly a quarter of women in perimenopause reported having trouble falling asleep and 30 percent had trouble staying asleep.
- In addition, nearly 50 percent of women in perimenopause awoke still feeling tired.
- Once women transitioned through into post-menopause this tended to improve but every woman is different and this is definitely not the case for all.
- In fact, the CDC found that 40 percent of women in post-menopause slept less than seven hours per night, 27 percent struggled to fall asleep, nearly 35 percent found it difficult to stay asleep and insomnia became more common.
So that’s a lot, isn’t it? The good news is there are some rituals and habits you can put in place to help.
Your Sleep-More-Soundly Guide
These practices should be a priority because a good night’s sleep supports your overall health and immunity, helps manage your weight (sleeping difficulties are linked with obesity), and encourages you to make more healthy food and lifestyle choices.
How Sleep Works
We have a tiny pea-sized glandule in the middle of our brain called the pineal gland. It works according to the circadian rhythm – our natural 24-hour sleep/wake cycle – and is inactive during the day. As darkness falls it begins to secrete the hormone melatonin.
Melatonin is extremely important to our wellbeing and it helps to calm the brain and counters the stress hormone cortisol. It usually begins producing around 9 pm and makes you feel more chilled out and relaxed as it prepares you for sleep. For ideal sleep, melatonin levels should rise and cortisol levels should lower until daylight when the pineal gland becomes inactive again, and waking cortisol is produced.
However, sleep may be prevented or interrupted if you’re exposed to bright light at night and the release of melatonin is inhibited, if you’re in a noisy environment which causes cortisol to elevate or if you’ve eaten a heavy meal and your digestion is actively working to process it.
The good news is that by making some more small changes you can improve your sleeping story:
7 Simple Sleep Tips
- Have your last meal at least three hours before bed and don’t snack. My functional medicine mentor says this one surprises many people as they don’t realise the digestive process can impact sleep. If you have insomnia this could be your secret weapon.
- Say no to caffeine after 2 pm. This includes coffee and tea (even green tea), cola and chocolate. Caffeine can stay in your system for many hours after you’ve imbibed it.
- Leave your worries behind. If you can, leave the brain work for daylight hours: ban next-day-planning, balancing the budget and talking about difficult things in the evenings.
- Relax. Choose to embrace calm and read a book, take a bath, pat your pet, fold the laundry.
- Ditch the bright lights. Use soft lighting and get off your screens – no texting, no emails, no apps, no TV, no Netflix for 1-2 hours before bed.
- Create calm. Infuse an aromatherapy diffuser with high quality relaxing oils like lavender, neroli, and basil. Clary Sage is an excellent choice for women going through menopause. You can make up blends also.
- Herbal teas like chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, and valerian root help to set the stage for sleep as does an Epsom salts bath. The warm water and the natural magnesium in the Epsom salts are both calming and relaxing. You can boost these qualities by adding a few drops of your relaxing essential oils.
Sweet Dreams 💤