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Women in menopause often suffer from insomnia due to hot flashes which have the ability to affect the quality of sleep. If it sounds familiar read the following lines.

Cause and Effect of Menopause and Insomnia

Menopause as I may say signals the end of fertility and stops the monthly period of a woman. The transition usually takes years and due to hormonal changes, this greatly affects the sleeping habit. Women who are experiencing menopausal stage regardless of age is associated with poor sleep quality. Hot flashes that occur before or during sleep have the ability to affect the quality of sleep adversely by bringing women from a deeper, more restful stage of sleep to a lighter, less restful and restorative stage. This is commonly known as insomnia, which is easily defined as lack of sleep. According to Thomas Dekker, sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. It was indeed a main ingredient of a healthy body. We cannot survive without sleeping. It is very difficult to do daily routines without a complete set of sleep. More so, our eyes cannot deny if we lack of sleep. This does not only affect us physically and emotionally but also affects our relationship to people. People who had untreated sleep disorder are prone to high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, stroke and obesity, neuro-psychiatric problems including depression and other mood swings, mental destruction, decrease in sex hormones.

Regular Sleeping Habits, Exercising and Eating Healthy

1.    Regular Sleeping Habit

Set your body alarm. Make a pattern of sleeping on the same time each night no matter what you are doing. Avoid taking alcohol or pills before sleeping. Don’t make yourself addictive to pills. Once your body recognizes the pattern, it will give in easily.

2.    Exercise

Exercise at least 20-30 minutes in the morning or afternoon but not before bedtime will help you sleep better. Stanford University School of Medicine researchers studied the effects of exercise on the sleep patterns of adults aged fifty-five to seventy-five who were sedentary and troubled by insomnia. The time required to fall asleep was reduced by half, and sleep time increased by almost one hour. Exercise also reduces stress, muscular tension, sharpens brain and stimulates heart and lungs. Lack of physical activity triggers insomnia.

3.    Eat Healthy

Sleep better by eating the right kind of foods. Eat foods that can stimulate hormones like serotonin and melatonin. People that are suffering from insomnia and stress do not produce enough melatonin. Make it a habit to eat foods everyday that helps regulate a good night sleep.
a)    Bananas
b)    Warm Milk
c)    Chamomile Tea
d)    Honey
e)    Potatoes
f)    Almonds
g)    Oatmeal
h)    Whole wheat bread
i)    Turkey
j)    Flax seeds

Limit caffeine, drink warm milk or herbal tea and take a warm bath before bedtime

4.    Limit caffeine intake

Coffee is the best sample of caffeine. The stimulant in caffeine is also found in tea, chocolate, soft drinks and some nuts. It has a great role in our life. It awakes us in the morning but makes it difficult for us to sleep when taken before bedtime. Recent research has shown that coffee helps keep people consistently awake during extended periods. If you are suffering from Circadian Rhythm disorder that affects your sleep and will greatly affect shift work, a low dose coffee intake is recommended. Since coffee stimulates nervous system, too much intake will definitely affect sleeping habits.

5.    Drink warm milk or herbal tea

Drink a glass of milk or tea before bedtime. The calcium in milk is good for soothing tired nerves and will help you relax. Herbal tea can be a substitute for milk. Just make sure that it is not black tea that contains caffeine.

6.    Take a warm bath before bedtime

Taking a warm bath relaxes your muscle and tends to make you feel drowsy. You need to allow time for your body temperature to lower by bedtime while still remaining relaxed and peaceful. The warm water will affect your circulatory system and ease your body into restfulness as well as alleviate tension. Add herbs or aromatherapy oil to your bath to induce relaxation. Light some scented candles around the tub and listen to relaxing music.

Meditate and have a relaxing bedroom condition

7.    Meditate

Meditation as the word itself is a proven technique of relaxation. The more relax you are before getting to bed, the more chances of being able to sleep. It is important that you learn to put away tension and stress brought upon by your daily routines when going to bed. Find the right type of meditation that will suit you. This can be a candle, mantra, stone, yoga or a simple sound of breathing. A mantra is a phrase (a Hindu phrase) which you repeat over and over in your mind to establish harmony and to focus on your meditation. Concentration and discipline is the key word in practicing meditation. This is needed to avoid other thoughts and distractions. Let your soul fly free. Once you made this as part of your daily routine, you cannot leave without it everyday.

8.    Have a relaxing bedroom condition

After being stress with your job and being around computers and paper works all day. You should have a cool and relaxing place to stay and relax. This can be achieved by creating a comfortable and relaxing bedroom atmosphere. Make sure that the room temperature is according to your preference. Sensitivity to noise and light will disturb your sleep. What you can do is to put ear plugs and eye mask. Take to time to find one that will suit your needs. All distractions such as computer, television, dvd, psp and other gadgets should not be present in your room. Make it a sleeping and sex zone only with a good harmony of solemn music that will make you feel the comfort of the ambience.

Read More: Premature Menopause: Causes, Symptoms, And Beyond

Massage Therapy and hormone replacement therapy

9.    Massage Therapy

Sleep disorder can greatly affect the quality of life. When you are stressed, the sympathetic nervous system is activated that give you urge to move. So when this is relaxed, it will definitely improve your sleep patterns. One way to relax it is to have a great massage. Don’t you know that one of the benefits that massage can give is improve sleep patterns? Several studies have shown how massage therapy lessened anxiety and depression. Many people reported that they have a good rest and deeper sleep after having massage or reflexology sessions. If you are at home and find it difficult to sleep, massage your feet or ask your partner to rub your back before you go to bed.

10.    Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormonal replacement therapy is suggested to women undergoing menopausal dilemma. It returns the hormones that ovaries stopped producing. The basic formula is a combination of estrogens and progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone). It can be taken in the form of pills, patches, gels, or implants, and at different dosages depending on the individual woman's needs. Taking HRT reduces hot flush, night sweats, vaginal dryness and urinary symptoms and this should be taken short term only, five years will be the longest. Side effects of taking HRT shows breast tenderness, fluid retention, nausea and headaches. Some may also experience withdrawal bleeds and weight gain. The reasons HRT may be recommended are to prevent osteoporosis and heart disease. The major down-side is a probable small increase in the risk of breast cancer.

  • Clinical synthesis panel on HRT. Clinical synthesis conference: Hormone replacement therapy. The Lancet 1999, Vol. 354:pp. 152-55

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