Women in their midlife years report the most sleep problems and have the most trouble getting the necessary amount of sleep they need each night to function at their best during the day.
Adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
The multiple social, family and work responsibilities you juggle at this stage in your life limits your ability to get enough sleep. This can impact your health, reducing your productivity, increasing irritability and negative moods. Getting enough sleep each night can help you manage the challenges at this point in your life.
Difficulty sleeping is a key symptom almost all women experience during perimenopause (time leading up to the end of your period) and menopause (end of your period). Not every woman experiences sleep issues but it is a common and natural part of the changes happening in your body.
As your hormone levels change – progesterone and then estrogen drops - you may find yourself waking up repeatedly with hot flushes (unexpected feelings of heat all over the body with sweating) and have difficulty falling back to sleep. Your total sleep time may not suffer but women typically report that their sleep quality goes down and they experience fatigue the next day.
insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or waking up often in the night)
sleep apnea (difficulty breathing during sleep)
Midlife women are more likely to use sleeping pills, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) or try alternative and complementary therapies such as relaxation therapy, bedtime rituals, biofeedback and cognitive therapy to ease sleep problems.
Tips to help you sleep
- sleep in lightweight clothes to cope with night sweats
avoid heavy blankets
- use a fan or air conditioning to cool the air and increase air circulation in your bedroom
- place an icepack under your pillow and turn the pillow over during the night to cool your face
- avoid stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine (cigarettes) throughout the entire day, not just during the evening as their affect on your body can last up to 20 hours
- try to reduce your stress - try relaxation techniques, massage and exercise; talk to a health care provider if you are depressed or anxious
- adopt a regular sleep schedule, go to bed and get up at the same time as much as possible
- avoid working at night to help reduce stress and calm yourself
- follow the 15-minute rule - if you do not fall asleep within 15 minutes, do something relaxing, such as reading or listening to quiet music; return to bed when you are drowsy.