To be blunt, menopause isn’t fun. As if the hot flashes and mood swings weren’t enough, menopause often leads to sleep problems — including insomnia.
If you suddenly find yourself struggling to sleep, or you simply aren't getting the quality rest you used to, a weighted blanket may help. Here's how weighted blankets work, and how one might help you feel more relaxed and less stressed.
4 Ways Menopause Affects Sleep
According to Dr. Joyce Walsleben of the National Sleep Foundation, menopause can affect sleep in four different ways.
1. Changes in Hormones
Dr. Walsleben points out that menopause causes a gradual reduction in estrogen and progesterone, both of which promote sleep. As the body makes less of these hormones, women may experience difficulty sleeping.
She also says that low estrogen levels can put women at a higher risk of being influenced by stress — and we aren’t just talking “bad day at work” stress, either. Environmental stress (the temperature of a room, any background noise or lights) can also suddenly become a trigger when it never was before.
2. Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are caused by surges in adrenaline, which can rouse the brain from a sleeping state. This is why many women who experience hot flashes also deal with insomnia.
On top of that, plenty of people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep when they’re too hot. When the uncomfortable temperatures are coming from your body rather than an external source, however, it can be incredibly tough to fall asleep.
3. Mood Swings
Around 20 percent of menopausal women also experience depression. These shifts in mood can have a big impact on sleep and may even lead to chronic insomnia. This can create something of a vicious cycle affect, as depression can also make an individual more susceptible to sleep disturbances and insomnia.
4. Social Changes
Although not every woman who goes through menopause experiences related social change, Dr. Walsleben points out that menopause can sometimes coincide with other big changes in a woman’s life.
For example, kids getting older and leaving the house can create a great deal of anxiety and stress. Other women may be thinking about retirement as they approach menopause. Any of these things can take a toll on a person’s sleep patterns, which can lead to insomnia and broken sleep.
5 Natural Remedies for Menopause Sleep Problems
If menopause is keeping you up at night — or stopping you from getting a good night’s rest — there are a number of steps you can take to make falling asleep easier and more relaxing.
1. Get More Exercise
We know, we know: everyone should get more exercise. While exercise isn’t a cure-all for every ailment, research shows it can ease the symptoms of menopause, including insomnia.
According to a Northwestern University study, women over age 55 who exercised four times a week said they experienced noticeable improvements in their sleep quality compared to those who didn’t.
As with any form of exercise, however, it’s important to check with a doctor before starting a new workout routine or regimen. Experts say you should also stop any strenuous exercise at least three hours before bed.
2. Cut Back on Caffeine
Are you a devoted java drinker? Studies show it could be exacerbating your sleep issues. Caffeine is a stimulant, after all, and researchers say it can also make hot flashes more frequent. If you must drink it, experts say to stick to the early morning hours for your daily cup of joe.
3. Cool Down the Bedroom
Most people sleep better in cooler temperatures. If you suffer from hot flashes or night sweats, sleep experts say you might want to lower the thermostat even more than usual. It also helps to sleep on natural materials, such as cotton, which help keep your body cooler.
According to Dr. Michael J. Breus, the optimal room temperature for most people at night is 65 degrees. Experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine also recommend keeping a cold pack or glass of ice water next to the bed, so you can quickly cool down if you need it.
4. Create a Bedtime Routine (and Stick to It!)
When most people think of bedtime routines, their mind conjures an image of a parent reading their child a bedtime story after a warm bath or a cup of milk. However, bedtime routines can work great for adults, too. You’re never too set in your ways to ditch bad habits and adopt new ones.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a bedtime routine can help signal your brain that it’s time to sleep. Some tips for creating a bedtime routine include doing some light exercise or meditation before bed, taking a warm (but not too warm) bath or reading a book as you prepare to sleep. It’s also best to avoid any activities that expose you to blue light, such as watching television or using a smartphone or computer.
5. Use a Weighted Blanket
If you have sleep problems related to menopause, a weighted blanket may help you relax and sleep better. Weighted blankets provide firm but gentle pressure on the body, which has been shown in studies to make people feel less anxious and more relaxed. This deep, gentle pressure is actually a form of therapy called deep pressure touch stimulation.
According to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders, “the application of deep pressure, through for example weighted vests and blankets, has been reported to produce a calming and relaxing effect…” The study also showed that those who slept with a weighted blanket had improved sleep and woke feeling more refreshed in the morning.
SensaCalm Weighted Blankets
Ready to get the best sleep of your life? SensaCalm weighted blankets may help you have more restful, restorative nights. Start your custom weighted blanket order today, or choose from our wide selection of ready-to-ship finished weighted blankets.
For questions, you can call us at 855-736-7222 or use our contact form and one of our experienced team members will be in touch.Disclaimer: The content on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before undertaking any type of therapy or treatment.