Understanding Sleep Challenges During Perimenopause and Menopause

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Struggling with insomnia, constant awakenings throughout the night, and frequent hot flushes are just a few of the symptoms that you might encounter during perimenopause, menopause and beyond. For most adults, a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night is crucial for optimal body function. Being able to sleep is intricately linked to a complex interplay of hormones and psychosocial influences. We can experience disruption to our natural circadian rhythm during menstruation, pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause. But disrupted sleep doesn’t have to become the norm, and this means you don’t have to accept this struggle or deal with this on your own.

Our bodies naturally prepare for sleep as our core temperature drops. However, the sharp decrease in Oestrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause triggers hot flushes, especially at night. This sends signals to a part of our brain called the hypothalamus, instructing it to raise the body’s temperature. Consequently, this intermittent signaling to produce more heat, causes an imbalance as our bodies try to regulate itself back to an equilibrium temperature, which subsequently, can significantly hinder our ability to sleep.

Melatonin, a hormone produced primarily in the brain’s pineal gland from serotonin, plays a crucial role in promoting sleep and synchronising our circadian rhythm. The pineal gland secretes melatonin predominantly at night in darkness and significantly less during daylight. Exposure to blue light emitted by screens from any device can trick the brain into perceiving it as daytime, hindering the natural release of melatonin. If you are struggling to reduce screen time, then wearing blue light glasses to reduce exposure and unwind before bedtime may be helpful for you. To improve your sleep quality during perimenopause or menopause, you can try to establish consistency with your bedtimes and wake-up times, allowing cool air into the bedroom at night, maintaining a dark and quiet sleep environment, using a cooling mattress cover, and seeking daily exposure to sunlight during the day can be beneficial.

Additionally, supplementing with magnesium can be helpful. Progesterone, which activates GABA receptors in the brain, aids in relaxation. As progesterone levels decline during perimenopause and menopause, so do GABA levels, leading to anxiety and restlessness that disrupt sleep. Magnesium is essential for producing progesterone, making magnesium glycinate supplements a potential aid in enhancing progesterone production and improving sleep quality. Other helpful strategies include limiting caffeine intake, avoiding large meals and alcohol close to bedtime, and establishing a calming pre-sleep routine. These adjustments can contribute to better sleep and overall well-being during the perimenopause and menopause transition. Having specialist support that we can provide to you will mean resuming back to you getting healthier sleep, giving you a better quality of life again. We are ready to help you to become more of your human self again, especially as we understand that this can be an overwhelming process to go through individually on top of your usual daily responsibilities.

There is a lot to contend with when it comes to working with your body’s biochemical functioning and knowing what to do to help yourself cope through it all. Our medical expertise means we will work together with you empathetically and compassionately to give you what your body needs.

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