At Caire, we’ve never heard of World Sleep Day either. But sleeping problems are a major menopause manifestation (yes, that’s our word for ‘symptom’). So let’s get to it. Sleep ‘disturbances’ affect over 61% of all women sometime pre, mid & post menopause. Let’s face it, that’s a lot of us! Here’s our friend’s Louise’s sleep story.
Louise Hill & Overheating
Louise tells us that that her overheating – her own word for hot flashes – started in 2012 when she was 46. She was in peri-menopause (aka pre-menopause) although she wasn’t aware of the term at the time. The overheating lessened significantly as she went through menopause (which is when you haven’t had your period for a year). She would wake up in the middle of the night sweating and recalls that on multiple occasions, she would have to change her sleep top altogether. But she was fairly lucky and despite the sleep disturbance would still be able to get back to sleep. About four years later, the hot flashes and night sweats and waking up lessened considerably.
What does ‘sleep disturbances’ even mean? It includes classic insomnia where you just cannot get into your best dreamlife. But it also includes women who can’t stay asleep and wake up in the middle of the night, sometimes multiple times.
And it includes women like Louise whose hot flashes, night sweats and sleep issues all went hand in hand. Women actually think it is the actual hot flash making them wake up but medical research shows that you actually wake up just before the hot flash happens! But who cares? The upshot is that you’re still waking up when you don’t want to.
Sleep Apnea & Post-Menopause
For women post-menopause, sleep apnea is 2-3x more common than before. And because so many doctors believe that men are vastly more prone to apnea, the sleep apnea is massively underdiagnosed in women. So first of all what is apnea. It’s when someone experiences extended breathing pauses – sometimes called lapses – while sleeping. It not only results in a terrible night’s sleep but your body has to work super hard to overcome this at night and it can affect your oxygen supply, cause weird snoring and create much bigger problems over time – think cardiovascular.
So if you feel constantly tired or have trouble concentrating during the day even though you think you’re getting your daily 7, really think about getting tested for sleep apnea. The tiredness is called ESS, excessive daytime sleepiness. What’s good to know is that you don't have to go to a faraway, mysterious sleep ‘lab’ to get tested, you can do a Home Sleep Study (polysomnography).
Louise’s Tips for Sleeping Strong:
Now 56, although she still has hot flashes daily, they’re light and she doesn’t consider herself as having sleeping issues. Here are Louise’s tried and true tips for great sleep post-menopause:
- Caffeine: Only in the morning and only one. “It might be a largish one, but just one cup!” If hectic with clients, she occasionally has an afternoon espresso, not a cup of American coffee, just an espresso.
- Cool Bedroom: Living in New York City’s four-season climate means lots of temperature variability, but “my bedroom is dark and comfortably cool.”
- Listen to a Podcast: It’s like “being told a story and naturally helps me relax and wind down. Before I know it, I’m asleep”. Her go-tos are The Bowery Boys, Future Hindsight, Radio Lab and The Moth.
More ideas on how to get into your best REM:
- No to Blue Light: No texting, social media or any phone time at least an hour before bed. And we know each episode of your beloved Schitt’s Creek is only 20 minutes, but that’s blue light too. TV is a no-go. A 2011 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism says that light exposure suppressed the onset of melatonin by about 90 minutes. That’s a lot of lost good sleep.
- Yes to Night Affirmations: As the Dalai Lama says, sleep is the best meditation. Close your eyes and slowly sound out or think through your affirmation 10x or so in a row. Continue for 3 or 4 minutes. You can create your own affirmation or start with one of these… I am doing the best I can; I am inhaling peace and exhaling release, or I am thankful for today. Visualize what the affirmation means to you. Ongoing affirmations can help change your neural pathways to reflect better patterns, meaning the more you do it , the more easily your body will fall asleep (see below link to be embedded)
- Consider Melatonin: Replace your body’s missing melatonin (the key hormone that signals sleep and yes, like our friend estrogen, it too diminishes before and after menopause). It’s inexpensive at the drugstore. Remember you gotta cut out all light, the minute you take it as light totally turns off its soporific effect. Some people get morning after headaches with melatonin, we can suggest Hum Nutrition’s Nighty Night which uses Valerian root to help you fall asleep and supports skin health too.
Last but not least, a few of our lovely customers have recently written to us at Caire, saying that they fell asleep with our Caire Triple Lift Molecule Mask on. And that they were so pleased with how baby soft their skin felt in the morning. So while this isn't the recommended ‘usage’, we want to put it out there that if this happens to you or if you just want to gift your skin with the maximum nutrition possible, it is absolutely perfectly gentle and safe to wear our Triple Lift Molecule Mask all night. You might find some butterfly light ‘paper’ around in the a.m. That’s the mask naturally peeling off. Our clean, vegan, formula will not discolor your pillows or anything. So if you want to mask while you sleep, go right ahead, friends. (But if you do, please send us a photo or a note, we’d love to hear from you!)
Try out our age-defying skincare products and join a community of women who are taking back their power and falling in love with their skin all over again! We promise, you won’t be disappointed!