Updated: Mar 17, 2021
You may already know, and be experiencing, that your hormones can wreak havoc on your mood, energy levels, and appetite, but did you know they can also have a major role in the quality of your sleep? We have over 50 hormones in the body, they all have different functions, but two main hormones - CORTISOL & MELATONIN - have a direct impact on your ability to sleep (think too much exposure to blue light on our devices, or ongoing stress, overwhelm and/or anxiety)
When I was first experiencing perimenopause symptoms it was the first time in my life I was having disrupted sleep, and after a while it was exhausting. The night sweats and hot flashes/ cold sweats can be brutal, right? Plus I kept waking up a couple of times a night. I started to realise that it was always at the same time, and this gave me the clue that it might be related to a pattern of something going on in my body.
As I dug deeper into my research it became clear that the roller coaster of hormonal fluctuation during perimenopause and menopause highly elevates cortisol, never mind the added stress of daily life and the stress of the hormonal changes themselves which also make it spike. This then puts our body into a kind of permanent fight or flight mode, which means it very difficult to power down, even when we're knackered ( I call it tired but wired), kicks off our adrenals, messes with our appetite regulators and starts gathering fat around our belly! Not fun, right? And joy of joys, it can make hot flushes worse!
So what can we do to stop the roller coaster of elevated cortisol, and rebalance melatonin so we can get a better nights' sleep?
Read on for 9 simple tips that could help you sleep better PLUS an AMAZING video breathing practice that helps you get back to sleep if you wake up (and can help you get over to sleep too)
Do your best to establish a regular bedtime (even at weekends)
Power down and decrease your use of electronics and exposure to blue screens before bed and reduce your consumption of news and social media
Keep devices out of the bedroom (get yourself and old fashioned alarm clock) or at least put all devices on airplane mode
Have your last meal a few hours before your bedtime
Keep your bedroom cool and dark
Engage in regular moderate exercise (research has shown that extreme and overtly strenuous exercise can actually elevate cortisol further)
Reduce your caffeine, alcohol and sugar consumption (may seem obvious but it's a biggie especially to reduce perimenopause and menopause symptoms)
Establish a relaxing bedtime routine so that your nervous system has space and time to slow down into the best rhythm for sleep (eg a short meditation, calming breathing practice, a relaxing bath with essential oils, journalling, gratitude practice etc)
Try a Magnesium Supplement an hour before bedtime (always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement) or get the relaxing benefits of magnesium with an epsom salt bath, or using a magnesium spray
Check the video below for a fantastic breathing practice I've been using for myself before bed, it's really been working for me, so I hope you'll find it super helpful too. It's a great way to calm the mind and nervous system into balance to get to sleep, or if you wake up in the night, try it propped up against your headboard, then slide back down into sleep
I'd love to hear how these tips and practices are helping you out, so drop me a line.
If you'd like bespoke 1:1 support with more simple sustainable health & happiness tools for navigating your hormonal journey and effective tools for reducing overwhelm and stress, I offer complimentary discovery calls for Transformational Holistic Health Coaching programs tailored to you. Email me now to find out more