8 Sleep Solutions for Menopausal Women
At The North American Menopause Society, we know that menopause can interfere with a good night’s sleep. So how can you get quality shut-eye when you need it most? Here are eight lifestyle strategies for treating minor sleep disturbances:
- Avoid heavy meals and large quantities of beverages in the evening or late at night. These can cause indigestion and/or frequent waking due to the need to urinate.
- Avoid naps during the day. Naps can boost brainpower, but late afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night. If you can’t manage without, limit naps to less than an hour.
- Limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine—not just before bedtime, but during the afternoon and evening hours, too. Although alcohol is initially a sedative, it later becomes a stimulant in the body; so while it may put you to sleep at first, it also can wake you up later.
- Keep bedroom light, noise, and temperature at a comfortable level. Dark, quiet, and cool are conditions that support sleep.
- Get regular exercise. Preferably during the day—at least 5 to 6 hours before bedtime.
- Establish a regular sleep schedule. Wake up and go to bed at consistent times, even on weekends. Relax and wind down before sleep by reading a book, listening to music, or taking a leisurely bath. Use the bedroom only for sleep and sex.
- Get some sun. Sunlight exposure, at least 30 minutes each day, helps regulate daily sleep patterns.
- Snack. Try a bowl of cereal or peanut butter toast before bedtime. Milk and peanuts contain tryptophan, which helps the body relax.