Menopause is more difficult for some women than others, and there are many different things women must deal with, including hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats, but possibly the most disrupting challenge comes with having difficulty sleeping. For those who experience sleep problems, there are various methods that can be used in order to get the best night's sleep possible, even when it's a challenge. Here are five things to try.
1. Consider taking hormone replacement therapy.
Some women shy away from hormone replacement therapy (HRT) because there have been some studies linking its use to problems such as blood clots and breast cancer, especially if it is used for an extended period of time. However, when "the change" is especially abrupt, even low doses of HRT taken for a short time can help with sleep problems. Evidence shows that those who take HRT have fewer sleep difficulties than menopausal women who go without.
If the risks involved take HRT off the table completely, an alternative, such as soy supplements or some types of antidepressants.
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2. Keep a regular sleep schedule
If you're waking at 2 a.m. only to get tired just when it's time to really start your day, you may be tempted to nap or sleep in on the weekends in order to catch up on sleep, but introducing irregular sleep patterns often reeks further havoc on a sleep schedule. By going to bed at the same time and rising at the same time as well you will eventually teach your body to sleep at the right time.
3. Explore ways to relax and reduce stress
for some women the discomfort of menopause can amplify everyday stress and cause sleep problems. In these case learning to relax and reduce stress can take extra effort. For many women meditating, practicing yoga or Tai Chi, or even redecorating a room with soothing colors can take the edge off and lead to better sleep.
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4. Make a point to stay cool
if you wake up in the middle of the night feeling like a sweaty athlete, it might be time to dress like one. Athletic wear often has "wicking" properties that help people stay dry even when they are sweating, so making these options your pajamas can really help. You can also keep a cold pack handy or lower the temperature in the room. You can always hand over extra blankets to anyone who needs them.
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5. Schedule a Sleep Evaluation
If you try various methods and nothing seems to work it is possible that you are dealing with something more than menopause. Conditions such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome can become magnified during menopause. By having your sleep evaluated, you can see what else is in play and make a plan to rediscover a good night's sleep.