Improving Sleep Quality and Managing Insomnia: Tips for Menopausal Women

By: Guest Author

Published: May 14, 2024

Written by Ainsley Lawrence – Guest Contributor

One of the most challenging aspects of menopause is the sleep disturbances that many women experience. Whether it’s the inability to fall asleep, poor sleep quality, or other physical issues that disrupt sleep, menopausal women struggle to get a good night’s sleep.

But there are measures you can take to improve your sleep quality. Small changes in your sleep routine and other habits that impact wakefulness can help, including improving your sleep hygiene and adding relaxing techniques to your life. These can help combat the sleep disturbances that are so common in menopause.

Common Sleep Disturbances Experienced in Menopause

What’s the connection between menopause and poor sleep quality? During menopause, your ovaries produce lower amounts of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. That impacts your mood, energy levels, brain, and sleep patterns. Plus, as you get older, your body produces less melatonin, the sleep hormone, impacting your sleep patterns.

Physical changes also disrupt sleep. Hot flashes, the feeling of heat throughout the body, and night sweats can occur, keeping you up. You may have increased urges to urinate at night, disrupting your sleep. Joint and muscle pain are also symptoms commonly experienced in menopause.

Additionally, some conditions that are more common with menopause and aging, like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, can contribute to sleep challenges. You should see a doctor about these health concerns.

Finally, menopause can impact your mood. Depression and anxiety can lower your sleep quality.

Menopausal women can improve their sleep quality and take steps to manage insomnia by practicing good sleep hygiene.

Tips for Improving Your Sleep Hygiene

One of the first strategies you must take to address this issue is to improve your sleep hygiene. What is sleep hygiene and why is it important? This term refers to any adjustments you make in your habits or to your environment that help improve your ability to sleep. By creating the right atmosphere and making better choices, you can reduce the number of things that disrupt your sleep.

These changes won’t fix all your challenges, but they help eliminate disruptions to your sleep. They include:

●    Getting to bed at a consistent time. Changing your sleep schedule disrupts your body’s production of sleep hormones. It can even cause health issues.

●    Make wise food choices later in the day. Choosing nutritious food choices throughout the day is important, but it’s especially impactful later in the day. Caffeine and spicy foods can keep you up.

●    Daily exercise routines earlier in the day. These keep your body better regulated and make you more tired at night. If you want to relax at night, yoga can help prepare your body for sleep.

●    Managing your stress, especially later in the day, helps to prevent nagging thoughts from keeping you up. Try mindful activities like prayer, meditation, or practicing gratitude to unwind from the day’s stressors.

●    Creating an optimal environment for sleep means adjusting for the impact of light on your sleep. Your bedroom should use warm lighting from lamps, which can help trigger sleepiness. Rising with the sun and getting to bed shortly after dark can help align your body’s Circadian rhythms, that is, your internal clock, and promote better sleep.

●    You should also avoid using technology when in bed. Smart devices, including your phone and TV, emit blue light that may disrupt the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. While the science is unclear on this topic, it’s best to avoid electronics at bedtime.

These are some basic ways to improve sleep quality, but there are also more advanced techniques you can take as well.

Advanced Techniques for Enhancing Your Sleep Quality

If you still are struggling, it’s important to make sure you have the right mattress to support a good night’s sleep. We often tolerate a mattress that is sloped, caved in, or no longer firm, but these problems can disrupt sleep. There are several things to consider beyond your budget, such as your preferred sleep position, how firm you like your mattress, and any health concerns. For example, if you experience hot flashes, you can invest in a mattress with cooling options, like gel-infused foam.

If you struggle to relax at night, a hot tub can do wonders for your body. Spa waters can improve blood flow, which helps to reduce muscle soreness. Time in a hot tub can also help reduce inflammation and, therefore, lessen joint pain. It can also help reduce anxiety and stress, allowing for a better night’s sleep.

Another great way to help with sleep challenges is to turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). These methods include yoga, biofeedback, relaxation techniques, reflexology, acupressure, and more. Evidence-based CAM interventions that may support a better night’s sleep include therapeutic touch and music. Therapeutic touch is a noninvasive nursing practice that allows the energy in the body to flow properly, which can reduce imbalances and blockages leading to better sleep.

Music, too, has long been known to impact mood, but it also has healing properties. Choosing the right music before bed can help lower heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure, allowing for better relaxation at night.

Both of these interventions are supported by research. A small study followed 100 menopausal women and reviewed what interventions impacted their sleep for four weeks. They found that of all the interventions, therapeutic touch and music resulted in the most improved sleep results.

Although this is a small study, it’s certainly worth adding these techniques to your toolbox when proper sleep is elusive.

Many menopausal women are plagued by insomnia and sleep quality issues, but there are steps you can take to address these issues. By managing your sleep environment and seeking out advanced solutions and therapies, you can improve your sleep hygiene and potentially eliminate these challenges. A good night’s rest is worth the effort.

Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer who lives in the Northwest region of the United States. She has a particular interest in covering topics related to good health, balanced life, and better living through technology. When not writing, her free time is spent reading and researching to learn more about her cultural and environmental surroundings. You can follow her on Twitter @AinsleyLawrenc3.

The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.