MENOPAUSE AND SLEEP DEPRIVATION
It may seem that once you have children sleep is a thing of the past. Most mothers sleepless nights and exhaustion that can last way beyond the toddler years. A house of teenagers or juggling family and home does not make for a good nights sleep, so you would hope that middle age would at least bring you some rest time to relax and sleep a little longer. Not so, as menopause brings with it sleep deprivation.
The National Sleep Foundation found that 61% of women between 45 and 60 suffered from sleeplessness. Sleep deprivation certainly makes for a miserable next day but more seriously those lost hours can cause an increase in blood pressure, increased risk of diabetes, weight gain, increased appetite and a compromised immune system.
If you haven’t experienced this yet the odds are you will at some point as most women will suffer from night sweats at some time during their menopausal years. Mine started at 48 and thankfully are sporadic, but when they hit its totally miserable and sleep is almost impossible when one minute your fever hot and the next you lying in a cold sweat. Simply awful.
Estrogen helps regulate our body temperature and hot flashes hit when estrogen declines. Night sweats (although they are plentiful during the daytime too) often occur the week after your cycle when your estrogen is naturally at its lowest. They may subside as the month goes on but the closer you get to being officially in menopause the more you are likely to be tormented by this most common of symptoms.
OLD SCHOOL SOLUTIONS
Black Cohosh is a popular choice. An herb that acts in the body as an estrogen, it is also thought to act as a mild antidepressant. I’ve used Black Cohosh and I would say it helped, however, what really seemed to help me was golden flax. Golden Flax also has estrogenic properties and is pretty easy to add to food and drink.
GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) is an essential fatty acid that can help influence prostaglandin synthesis and may help with menopause symptoms. evening primrose oil and black currant oil are popular sources of GLA.
Men get grumpy and women get a little cra cra. Mood swings, overreaction, anxiety, and springing from manic to depressive is not uncommon. Hormones fluctuate and so does your head. Anxiety will keep you up all night and depression will keep you in bed all day. We tend to identify ourselves with our emotions and that’s a shame because as we pass middle age our personalities can change completely due to the hormone shifts that occur.
Estrogen and Progesterone work together to create balance. Progesterone creates calm and yet it’s the hormone that declines the fastest. As progesterone drops, anxiety and worry can step in. Whereas we used to feel relaxed in the evening we may now be feeling wired and unable to sleep.
The best way to improve your mood is to exercise. Exercise boosts serotonin and if timed correctly can leave you nicely exhausted when its time to sleep. The supplement 5HTP can also help to increase our calming neurotransmitter (available HERE)
The Shrink Shop’s best selling product is our all natural Sleep Formula and for ladies of a certain age it will help with those sleepless nights
Most people reach for Melatonin, the most popular of sleep supplements but it is not, in fact, a sleeping aid, it is more of a darkness simulator. Melatonin tells your body its dark and promotes our natural sleep pattern. Which is all good if that’s the reason you cant sleep. Melatonin won’t help with that chattering mind that won’t shut up or the anxiety that leaves you too wired to sleep. Melatonin will help with those of us who spend too much time in front of glowing gadgets. Computers, phones, and TVs can certainly throw off our natural light/dark rhythms.
Sleep Formula was created initially to help people lose weight. You can neither build muscle or lose fat when you are sleep deprived, many fitness people want to ignore that fact but getting an hour less sleep to do an hour more cardio is a huge mistake – yet that cardio addiction runs deep.
For ladies in those menopausal years, or approaching them, these are the ingredients that you will be most interested in
Calcium – a natural relaxant that promotes a feeling of calm
B6 – normalizes our sleep/wake patterns and is required to make serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that controls mood, appetite, sensitivity to pain and … sleep.
Magnesium – relaxes physical tension and tight muscles.
GABA (an amino acid) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that dampens nerve activity in the Central Nervous System leading to a feeling of calm and relaxation.
Valerian Root a popular herb for sleep actually increases GABA
Hops Flower is similar to Valerian in being a sedative and hypnotic herb. Made from the female flower of the hops plant Hops Flower is a popular herb often used in combination with Valerian Root. Both are well tolerated and have been used for centuries.
Skullcap is a muscle relaxant and used for headaches, especially tension headaches.
Chamomile is used for nervous energy and mental anxiety
Passionflower a fabulous addition as it’s the herb that helps keep you asleep! Often used on its own for this one reason.
L Taurine also increases GABA and vegetarians are at risk for being deficient as it is found naturally in
Inositol a sugar found in citrus fruits (negligible calories) that activates pathways to stop your mind from racing. Inositol quietens that mental chatter that seemingly gets louder when we try to sleep. Inositol activates serotonin and promotes the calmness needed for sleep
At 50 I must be getting close to those menopausal years. I’ve had a few hints that its looming but it doesnt have to be all doom and gloom.
I am a huge believer in supplements and have found that L Tyrosine is especially good for mood, I have used Golden Flax for those horrendous hot flashes with surprising success, exercise comes easy because I love it. I never eat sugar and rarely eat processed food. My caffeine is down to one per day and my wine 2 nights a week.
Menopause is that bridge every woman has to cross. Good sleep makes everything possible so don’t let those nights sweats or an anxious mind keep you from the healing hours we all need.