Many women have troubling getting enough rest when they're going through the menopause transition. Even if sleep has never been a problem for you, these years can be challenging. There are many reasons why: night sweats, worries about your family or your job, concerns about finances in a time of economic uncertainty, even a noisy neighbor. You could also have an undiagnosed physical problem that keeps you awake.
If you're experiencing too many restless nights, here are some tips:
Keep your bedroom cool. That means light blankets, air conditioning or perhaps a fan aimed at your side of the bed, and lightweight sleepwear. If you are troubled by night sweats (hot flashes that occur at night), try wicking sleepwear. It's made of the same type of fabric as athletic wear and it wicks away moisture so you don't wake up as often. There are also sleep aids like pillows that stay cool. These work for some women so you might check them out.
Watch the light. Light tells your brain when to stay awake and when to sleep. If you're having trouble falling asleep, try lowering the lights in your house at least an hour before bedtime. Don't watch TV, sit at the computer or even read on an iPad. All of these are stimulating bright lights - even in a darkened room. It's OK to read in bed if you use an ordinary light but keep it on a low setting.
Clear your brain. Anxiety over unfinished tasks keeps many of us awake. You might try meditation or a relaxing yoga routine before bed. A regular practice like that can give your brain a break before bed. Another technique is to write down everything you want to do the next day and then put that list away.
Take a hot shower. If you enter a cool room after a hot shower, you will feel sleepy. It seems simple but try it. It works for many women.
Use the bedroom for only two things: sleeping and sex. Many of us run our lives from the bedroom but this can interfere with sleep. If you train your brain to think of this room as having defined functions, you will find it easier to sleep.
Avoid alcohol in the evening. A glass of wine may make you feel sleepy but as your body processes during the night, you may wake up. Try to avoid alcohol within five hours of when you want to fall asleep.
Stay away from caffeine. Just as an experiment, try avoiding coffee for a few days and see if that helps. The weekend is a good time to try a caffeine fast. Many of us consume far more caffeine than we realize. If you do go back on it, avoid caffeine eight hours before you want to sleep.
Talk to your doctor. If lifestyle changes don't work, an undiagnosed physical problem could be interfering with your sleep.