We recently surveyed our readers, asking what you would like to hear more about from our Bonafide Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Alyssa Dweck. We received a lot of great responses, most of which we will cover in upcoming weeks, however based off of popular demand, the first area we will address is sleep, more specifically, discussing menopause sleep issues and how to improve sleep during and after menopause. Check out our short video below to learn some helpful tips from Dr. Dweck on how you can achieve more restful and sound sleep during menopause and beyond.
Menopause and Sleep
Hi, I'm Dr. Alyssa Dweck. I'm an OBGYN, board certified. I'm also the Chief Medical Officer to Bonafide. I'm here today to discuss something with you that really is on the top of all of your minds.
And that would be menopause and sleep problems.
Sleep is vitally important to our health and vitally important to our cellular repair, refueling, and having a productive next day. A lack of sleep has actually been linked to multiple chronic medical issues, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and immunologic suppression. So, these days. more than ever, it's really vital that we get enough sleep. It's standard to recommend about eight hours of sleep per night, give or take an hour or two.
There are so many things these days that can interrupt our sleep. Age in general may be one of them, and stress is not far behind. And of course, we are all suffering from lots of stress these days.
How to Improve Sleep During Menopause
What can we do to help with our sleep hygiene and sleep habits to increase not only the quantity, but also the quality of our sleep? First, a couple of lifestyle changes may be helpful for improving our sleep during menopause. Make sure that the room you're sleeping in is comfortable. The optimal sleep temperature is actually 62 degrees. In addition, make sure you have comfortable and moisture wicking sheets and sleep clothes. Keep a fan nearby if you feel warm or you perspire at night.
If you're somebody who gets up frequently at night to use the bathroom during menopause, make sure you go right before you go to sleep and try to avoid a lot of water and hydration just prior to sleep time. Caffeine is an obvious stimulant. I would avoid caffeine after your morning coffee or tea if you are somebody who has trouble sleeping.
In addition, stress reduction can be very helpful. I usually recommend an app called Calm or Headspace in order to help with mindfulness training. This can help diminish your stress before sleep and get you off to a restful night's sleep, without the thoughts of the busy mind awakening you and keeping you from falling asleep.
In addition, some women who are having menopausal symptoms, like night sweats, may be really perspiring and awakening at night. As a result of that, if this is the case, it's very important to address your hot flashes and night sweats, either with a prescription medication, an herbal supplement, like Relizen® for example, or hormonal therapy, if that's appropriate for you.
There are over the counter sleep aids that can be used to address menopause sleep problems, including melatonin, which has been well studied and Benadryl, which is an antihistamine that makes people groggy. Benadryl can be combined with Advil or Tylenol or another analgesic if you're suffering from pain, as well.
Finally, there are both over the counter and prescription sleeping pills that you could turn to as well to improve your sleep during menopause, but they do come with some baggage. So, you'll want to discuss this option with your healthcare provider first.
I hope this has been helpful!