Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, it does vary according to individual needs, but however much you get here’s how to maximise it – and what can sabotage it.
This is a consistent piece of advice that you will have heard over and over again–but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
If you can stick to a schedule, which means going to bed and waking up about the same time each day, it really will make a serious difference.
The second thing that is essential is that your bedroom is cool, quiet, and dark. That may seem so obvious, but certainly a cool bedroom is necessary at menopause and the darkness element will be disturbed by things such as bright digital displays from a bedside clock or any other electronic devices such as your phone or television
Finally, is really important to pay attention to what you eat and drink before you going to bed as you’ll be surprised at how much difference it can make.
If you eat a heavy meal late at night your body will be working to digest that for quite some time and so your sleep will be disturbed. If you drink just before bed then you’ll find that you may need to be up much more frequently in the night to visit the toilet.
These are some of the signs of poor sleep:
Low immune function – and even acne
If you’re not getting good sleep, your skin may soon show it. Some studies have found a link between poor sleep and acne, perhaps related to how sleep controls hormones in your body.
Sleep deprivation also hurts the immune system, leaving your body open to many different health issues.
The eyes show it
Redness, puffiness, dark circles, and bags – these are all signs that you’re not getting enough sleep.
You will also tend to get more wrinkles, lines, swelling, and droopiness, studies show. Why? It may be that your body misses out on the hormone control and tissue repair that happens in deep sleep stages.
When you get a good night’s rest, your body can properly control ghrelin and leptin. Those are the hormones that affect how hungry you feel and without them you may feel the urge to eat more than you need, which can make you gain weight.
Tiredness affects what you eat
After a sleepless night, you may be more likely to pick that cheeseburger and fries over a salad for lunch.
A sleep-deprived brain is more likely to crave unhealthy snacks and meals. It may be that judgment and decision-making aren’t as sharp when you’re tired, which makes it easier for other desires to take over.
This is something we naturally turn to when tired, and after a poor night’s sleep you’ll find that you may be seeking more caffeine during the day to give you a boost.
Caffeine may seem like an answer to poor sleep, but it quickly can become part of the problem. In the short term, the pick-me-up of caffeine from coffee, energy drinks or any other form may make you more alert, but in the long term, it can lead to insomnia or anxiety.
Irritability is a big sign of poor sleep so if you are finding that you are getting increasingly moody that could well be a sign that you’re not getting enough sleep.
One study limited people to 4 1/2 hours of sleep a night for a week with the result that they were more stressed, angry, and mentally exhausted.
They felt better when they returned to their normal schedules.
Depression and low mood
Depression and poor sleep are also closely related. Worse, they’re circular because depression can lead to poor sleep, and the reverse can happen, too.
Focus and ‘brain fog’
Even a little less sleep — losing just 2 hours if you usually snooze 8 hours a night — can make you groggy and affect concentration and memory.
This may make you less skilled at work — or worse, behind the wheel of your car. More than one-third of people admit dozing off while driving.
Waking up with physical symptoms
Waking up with a sore throat, dry mouth, or headache could point to a medical reason you’re sleeping poorly such as sleep apnoea, snoring, or acid reflux, for example.
If you notice symptoms are occurring regularly then seek professional advice.
There is no doubt that menopause poses many sleep challenges due to the fluctuating hormones which can lead to night sweats, bladder disturbance and an increase in anxiety–all of which can affect your sleep pattern.
Hormonal imbalance is important so check that you have that under control and you may find it helpful to try a natural sleep combination such as one from Wellsprings which contain herbs, minerals and amino acids.
They can help to relax the body and mind and support your own natural sleep mechanisms and assist with getting back to a regular sleep pattern. If new would like to know more about them you’ll find them at the link below together with other useful articles on how to improve your sleep.