Tips for a better night's sleep for perimenopausal women
Once upon a time I could go to bed and fall asleep within about 30 seconds of my head hitting the pillow. I could sleep a blissful eight or nine hours a night. Pre-children, I could sleep well into the afternoon. Those were the days. Fast-forward to my late 40s, and sleep was harder to find than 10 minutes to myself without a child or client or husband hollering in my ear. Now as a 50-something, if I get three hours of uninterrupted sleep, I feel like a winner of the sleep wars.
Try ambien, friends would say. You need some melatonin. Lunesta. Magnesium. Pot. Everyone has a suggestion of what works. Here's the thing, I don't like to take medication. (Pot is illegal where I live, for the record.)
"I've got this," I'd tell myself when someone suggested a drug or herbal remedy or some sort of yoga stretch I wouldn't do on a rested day.
The problem is, I'm one of the nearly 60 percent of women in perimenopause who has sleep issues. Even on the nights I can get to sleep, I can't stay asleep. Not with my husband snoring, worrying whether the kids (even as adults) are where they are supposed to be. Not with these dreaded night sweats that cause me to go from shivering cold to about 380 degrees in 10-seconds flat.
I know what I'm supposed to do. And, I'm trying. I really am. I will say I love CoolRevolution PJs, and I know this sounds like a selfish plug, but when I first wore these pajamas, I felt cooler and more relaxed. I didn't feel like ripping them off in the middle of the night.
Below are some other changes I'm working on to improve my sleep.
- No more eating a big meal before bed. I can binge eat with the best of you, but I'm working on not snacking right before bed. I've also read spicy and acidic foods can trigger a hot flash, so no more late night Mexican.
- I know I'm supposed to avoid caffeine and alcohol. I don't drink coffee. I'm not willing to give up my morning Diet Coke habit. I have stopped drinking caffeine in the afternoons, though. Why is it all the good stuff is supposed to be avoided. I'd like to say I don't have a glass of wine or a margarita every now and then, but I have them more than I should. I'm working on it. I really am.
- Exercise more. I do not like to sweat. I don't like gyms. I do like to walk, so I'm trying my my best to get in 10,000 steps a day, even if it feels like spring will never get here, most nights you'll find me walking through my neighborhood. No, I don't always wear a coat. It's hot inside my body, and see above: I don't like to sweat.
- I know, I know, I'm supposed to shut off the TV, but I do love Netflix. I may be addicted. Please don't suggest drugs for this one, too. I'm trying to make myself turn off the TV 30 minutes before I go to bed. Dang it, though, the new season of Good Girls is out.
- Here's something I have accomplished that's good for me. I go to bed about the same time every night, and I wake up about the same time every day - usually about 3:18 a.m., but I'm working on that, too.
Some people also find it helpful to use a fan at night, but fan noises are like fingernails on a chalkboard. Try it, though, if you like the whir of a fan. I'd love to hear what you've found that works ,although don't tell me drugs, I'd rather watch a marathon of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel at 2 a.m. than take medication.
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