You’re too hot. You wake up sweating. You toss and turn until you’re ready to go crazy. If you’re a menopausal woman who can’t afford these restless nights because of your body’s mutiny, here are just seven ways to take back control of the ship and get a better night’s sleep.
1. Buy A Cooling Pillow
Hot flashes are the biggest reason for disrupted sleep among menopausal women. They’re caused by fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone, and they can strike without warning and at any time of day or night.
The good news is that you can lessen the effects of hot flashes by investing in cooling pillows. There are three main types:
- Gel-based pillows use cool gel pads to keep your body temperature from rising.
- Water-based pillows won’t retain heat like fluffy, down-filled pillows.
- Memory foam pillows encourage airflow and stop discomfort during the night.
Any of these pillows can help you with your hot flashes, so don’t be afraid to try them out for a better trip to dreamland.
2. Watch an Exercise Video
Research from Northwestern University has shown that exercise can lessen the effects of insomnia in middle-aged adults. While it wasn’t a study on menopausal women specifically, its results are relevant to you.
According to the research, cardio exercise can improve both the quality and the quantity of your sleep. Not only will you sleep longer after an intense workout, but your ZZZs will be deeper and more restful as well.
It may sound counterproductive, but if you’re sweating too much to get a good night’s sleep, it might help to deliberately work up a sweat beforehand.
3. Wear Moisture-Resistant Clothes
Instead of the cozy pajamas that you’ve always worn to bed, try sleeping in loose, comfortable athletic gear that has waterproof properties. For example, you might try a moisture-wicking shirt or a pair of breathable mesh shorts.
While these clothes won’t stop your hot flashes, they might lessen the night sweats that wake you up with damp armpits and fabric sticking to your skin. If you buy them from the right brands, they can be just as comfortable as your regular PJs, too.
4. Sleep on Cooling Mattress Pads
Mattress pads come in all shapes and sizes, but if you’re feeling the effects of menopause, you’ll want one specifically designed as a cooling device. As with other cooling products, you’ll have your choice of different types:
- Gel-based pads will remain fresh and cool throughout the night.
- Pads with temperature-sensitive foam will disperse hot air when they get too warm.
- Pads with a ventilated, open-air design will prevent heat from building up in the first place.
As you can see, there are several options for the menopausal woman looking for mattress cooling pads, so it’s up to you to decide which is right for your bed.
5. Learn How to Meditate
There’s more to meditation than sitting cross-legged and humming. In fact, meditation can be done when you’re already lying in bed with your eyes closed!
Start by inhaling for 3-5 seconds and exhaling for 3-5 seconds. Do this repeatedly until the pattern becomes natural and you no longer have to count. You can also use other breathing techniques, including the ones in this video, if you’re having trouble maintaining your rhythm.
The purpose of meditation is to relax your body with deep, controlled breaths, so it doesn’t actually matter what position you’re in or whether you’re humming. Just breathe around your menopausal symptoms until you fall asleep.
6. Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy
Do you remember when we talked about estrogen and progesterone? When you hit menopause, their production goes haywire; that’s why you have hot flashes and other things like vaginal dryness and osteoporosis.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) will provide your body with these compounds and “even out” your hormone levels. This is critical for both your overall health and a good night’s sleep.
HRT isn’t without its risks, however, so make sure that you talk to your doctor before signing on the dotted line. It pays to be cautious!
7. Avoid Your Triggers
Hot flash triggers are exactly what they sound like: things that are likely to cause hot flashes. If you’re serious about sleeping better, you’ll need to both identify and avoid whatever causes a hot flash in you.
Here are a few common hot flash triggers:
- Spicy foods
- Hot drinks
- Steamy baths and showers
For an easier trip into the land of dreams, you’ll need to sidestep these triggers at least 2-3 hours before bed. For example, you might start taking hot showers in the morning rather than the evening, or you might cut yourself off from the coffeepot around 7PM.
These are just a few tips for longer, deeper sleep during menopause. It doesn’t matter if you’re aiming for a full night or just better cat naps. Restful sleep can be yours as long as you’re willing to try different advice!