Why sleep is so important

  • The argument for prioritizing sleep at any stage of life, but especially during the peri and menopause, couldn’t be any stronger. 
  • Poor sleep quality can contribute to weight gain.
  • Lack of sleep interferes with melatonin secretion. Melatonin is involved in energy metabolism and the regulation of body weight.
  • Poor sleep will increase ghrelin and decrease leptin which will increase appetite- that’s why we can crave carbs all day long after a poor nights sleep.
  • Adequate sleep improves performance, memory, and energy levels; and reduces the risk of illness, disease, dementia, depression, or anxiety.
  • A condition known as sleep apnea can be made worse by sleep difficulties caused by fluctuating hormones, and sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart disease.

We all get busy and think that cutting corners on sleep is the best way to catch up on our to-do list. Many experts agree, we all need approximately 50 hours of sleep per week, meaning a minimum of 7 good quality hours per night.

There is controversy on the concept of making up sleep, or “sleep banking.” Sleep experts warn that counting on weekend catch up is not a good idea, but catching up can help, if needed. However, it is always better to stick to a schedule.

To determine your sleep patterns, ask yourself some questions: 

  1. Do you always have sleep trouble or is it only at certain times of the month? 
  2. Did your sleep issues only start once you became peri or menopausal? 
  3. Are you staying up too late trying to get things done around the house? 
  4. Is your sleep affected during stressful times? 
  5. Do you have trouble falling asleep? 
  6. Do you fall asleep easily but wake up in the night unable to get back to sleep? 
  7. Do you stay up too late, catching up on ‘one more episode’- we all do it at times!
  8. Do you set the alarm for 5:00 a.m., and wake feeling unrested, hitting snooze several times?

Can’t fall to sleep?

If the issue is falling asleep, the problem could be poor “sleep hygiene.” This is the official term for set steps to take before falling asleep. 

  • It is vital to avoid screen time 15 to 30 minutes before wanting to fall asleep and be consistent. It can also be good practice to keep your bed only for sleep, reading and of course sex! But not TV, scrolling devices or working, etc. 
  • Many women say they have difficulty falling asleep due to mind-racing once their head hits the pillow. Keep a daily gratitude journal and worry list to externalize your thoughts. Put them down on paper so you can empty them from your brain before bed. 
  • Go to bed at the same time. Wake up at the same time. 
  • Eat at similar times every day.
  • Get regular exposure to outdoor light or sunlight, preferably in the morning to set your circadian rhythm.

Can’t stay asleep?

  • If you wake up in the middle of the night, you could be showing signs of dysregulated blood sugars and cortisol, so try to balance blood sugars throughout the day and avoid those snacks, spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine before bed! 
  • If hot flashes or night sweats are becoming a more regular thing, we can look at where the root cause is coming from. I’ve helped nearly all my clients reduce or stop their night sweats and by doing so, restore better sleep. In the meantime, you can try five minutes of metered breathing before bed, turn down the room temperature and wear something that is breathable.
  • If you suspect it is hormonal, consider looking into which ones may be out of balance with my hormone symptom checker- https://lucychilderley.co.uk/checker/

How to do metered breathing

  • Sit comfortably in a quiet room in the house (not your bedroom) with your arms relaxed and take a deep cleansing breath.
  • Close your mouth, open your eyes, and stare at a small object and breathe.
  • If your mind wanders, then, without judgment, go back to breathing.
  • The goal is five minutes, twice a day.

Supplements for sleep

  • There are many supplements that have been herald the best for sleep but it really depends on what your root cause is. Is it hormonal imbalances, stress, nutrient deficiencies, shift work, dysregulated sleep patterns, sluggish liver or poor digestion? Is it your environment, your bed, your diet? There are so many underlying factors. In general, though, magnesium has been coined, natures tranquiliser and so it can play an important role in sleep. L’theanine, lemon balm, chamomile and lavender can also help reduce stress and anxiety, and to improve sleep.

If you are having trouble sleeping or hormonal imbalances and want to find a solution, why not book at free 15mins chat with me using this link here- https://p.bttr.to/3Jy5g8G or email me at hello@lucychilderley.co.uk to find out more.

Disclaimer: This advice on supplements does not take into consideration any medications you may be on. Always speak to your GP or healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements.