Jun 18, 2024 News Wellness Tips AMC Team 94 views

A woman is dreamily sitting on a bed wrapped in a blanket in the dark. An attractive woman in her forties is getting ready for bed.

The importance of good sleep hygiene in supporting our short-term and long-term health and wellbeing can’t be overstated, but as many of us know all too well, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to stick to a strong sleep schedule. With all kinds of complications getting in the way of a great night’s sleep, it’s crucial for menopausal women to create restful routines that can give them the best chance possible of sleeping through the night. There are too many health benefits left on the table when sleep isn’t prioritised!

We know just how challenging it can be to build, protect and maintain sleep hygiene, so we’re digging into what sleep hygiene is, how we can cultivate it, and practical tips for getting the best night’s sleep yet – even with the challenges menopause brings.

Why sleep is so important during menopause

Sleep plays a crucial role in supporting our health throughout our entire life, but this is particularly true during menopause. Declining levels of oestrogen have a habit of wreaking havoc on menopausal women’s bodies, resulting in symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats, and fluctuating emotional moods. All of these can lead to significant issues in falling asleep, and staying asleep, each night – and when sleep levels drop, they’re only exacerbated. It can be a vicious cycle, one that many menopausal women report as contributing to some of the most challenging aspects of menopause they experience. 

However, all hope is not lost. Just because it may be more difficult to achieve a high quality of sleep during menopause doesn’t mean we’re done giving it our best efforts. With some careful planning, lifestyle reviews, and strategic modifications, you can help along your sleep cycle, giving it the best chance of success throughout every stage of menopause.

 

Struggling to get the restful sleep you need each night? Reach out to the Australian Menopause Centre – we’re always here to help.

 

What does sleep hygiene refer to?

Familiar with dental hygiene? Sleep hygiene is a great comparison. This is a set of habits that contribute to healthy sleep patterns, with certain practices supporting the regulation of your body’s natural sleeping and waking cycles. This cycle is formally known as your circadian rhythm, and this is where science is on our side, giving us the insights we need to take action as we support this rhythm as much as possible.

By working on your sleep routine and building an environment that’s centred around sleep as the priority, not only can you improve your chances of falling asleep faster, but you can also increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to sleep through the night. 

How to cultivate a restful routine before bed

Much like the way we build night-time routines with young children, we can all stand to benefit from the cultivation of a restful and relaxing routine before bed. This routine, when regularly practised each night, can give your body the increasingly important signals it needs that the day’s over, and it’s time to prepare for bed. 

This can vary from individual to individual, but for women in the midst of menopause (or noting its approach on the horizon!), we recommend:

  • Establishing a strict and consistent sleep schedule. This looks like going to bed and waking up at the same time each and every day. For those of us who like a Saturday sleep-in, this can actually prove to be disruptive to helping us to achieve a high quality of sleep throughout the week. Getting into bed each night at the same time, and getting up at the same time each morning, can help to regulate our circadian rhythms.
  • Lean into the benefits of relaxing bedtime rituals. Perhaps you’re a big fan of warm baths, can’t wait to read another chapter in your latest novel, or prefer to listen to calming music – whatever your preference is, finding a relaxing ritual pre-bedtime is crucial to helping you wind down. Relaxation techniques, like meditation, certain yoga practices, or deep breathing, can all be useful for those who may struggle to calm down during the evening. Practice makes perfect, so don’t expect to get this ‘right’ the first time – but challenge yourself to just how firmly you can build this wind-down routine from day to day, creating consistency and reliability in your sleep schedule.
  • Optimise your bedroom. The environment we sleep in plays such a huge role in the kind of sleep we experience. For menopausal women who are struggling with sleep, it needs to be cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable. That may look like an investment into blackout curtains that remove light pollution, noise-cancelling earplugs that help you to rest peacefully, or purchasing a new mattress that’s going to give your body the high-quality support it needs during your sleeping hours.
  • Stay away from electronics. We’re probably not the first ones to point out the dangers of blue light emitted from electronic devices, but we’re as guilty as the next when it comes to being on our phones or laptops late into the evening. Unfortunately, this blue light can suppress the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that fuels our sleep. It’s best practice to remove screens from your vision at least an hour before bedtime, but the earlier you can do this, the better you’ll find the results as you begin to relax into the night-time hours. 
  • Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake. Did you know this one was coming? It’s no surprise that caffeine and alcohol can make it more challenging to fall asleep, so by limiting these substances throughout the day, you’re supporting your chances of sleep once the sun goes down. 

Conclusion

What’s good for our sleep is good for our bodies, and during menopause, our health needs to be our highest priority. By prioritising your sleep hygiene, you can give yourself the best chance of success when it comes to achieving a restful night’s sleep again and again. Practice makes perfect – it’s time to build a sleep routine you can rely on! For more support throughout your menopause journey, contact the friendly, expert and caring team at the Australian Menopause Centre.

About The Author - AMC Team

Our team consists of doctors, nurses, program assistants, naturopaths and nutritionists that join their wealth of knowledge to offer our patients and website visitors interesting and insightful articles to assist you understand the symptoms you are experiencing and how to relieve them.

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