Sleep issues are common in women around the age of 50 with about 50% suffering from sleep difficulties. This could be due to hormonal changes in the body which cause intermittent surges in body temperature.
If you are experiencing menopausal symptoms and start snoring, you may be at risk of developing sleep apnea, and it is recommended that you take a sleep test.
You may have issues with your sleep which may be related to being pregnant. During pregnancy you may not sleep as deeply as you usually do and can wake up frequently during the night. Note that if you find that you are pregnant and have started snoring during sleep it is recommended to use an inclined pillow.
What can I do to help me get better sleep?
1. Premenstrual Syndrome and Sleep
- If you are unsure whether Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is the cause of your sleep issue, keeping a diary for approx. 3 months and documenting symptoms can help you see if there is a connection.
- If you are experiencing PMS-related sleep issues here are a few tips to be mindful of:
- Increase your exposure to sunlight
- Cut out processed foods and sugars and try to maintain a healthy diet
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a recognised sleep stealer and its effects are exacerbated during the second half of the cycle due to the deleterious consequences the change in hormones have on sleep.
- Increasing exercise during the day can promote more deep sleep at night
2. Pregnancy and sleep
- Sleep can be very much affected during pregnancy especially in the first and third trimester.
- Pregnancy increases the need for sleep so try to ensure you get the sleep you need every night. If this is not always manageable try a power nap of 20 minutes during the afternoon.
- Pregnancy can also result in acid reflux which can negatively affect your sleep. Using an incline pillow such as MedCline which will significantly reduce your reflux and sleep interruption.
- An incline pillow can also help if you start snoring while pregnant.
- If you are experiencing restless legs at night (uncontrolled leg movement) then limiting tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks can help. Perhaps also discuss this with your GP who may recommend a blood test to check on iron levels – which may become deficient during pregnancy.
- Try and go to the toilet before going to bed so that you are not constantly waking up to use the toilet.
3. Menopause and sleep
- Keeping in mind that an ideal room temperature for sleep is about 18oC, set the bedroom temperature to cool rather than warm as this is more conducive to a good night’s sleep.
- Hot flushes can cause night sweats resulting in fragmented, unrefreshing sleep. Try and use cooling fabrics such as Bambi products which can reduce your body temperature and help you maintain sleep.
- Avoid heavy bed clothing and make sure you are not using tight or constricting bed linen. This, as well as using a fan at night, promotes circulation in your bed, cooling you down.
4. General tips for all women
- Consistent bedtime and rise time are important so have a strict sleep and rise time.
- It is important to have a sufficient wind down prior to bed. This could include journaling, meditation, listening to music or an audio book.
- Cut down on the caffeine and try to limit this to 1 a day before midday.
- A night-time routine can help you ease into sleep such as a relaxing bath, a sleep mist spray that you can use on your body or your linen and a soothing cup of Sleepy Time Tea.