Good day everyone, hope you have all had a great week?
It’s that time again – the DSJ Hypnotherapy weekly A-Z of Menopause blog and this week we find ourselves at I and wanted to talk about INSOMNIA!!
So, Insomnia is highlighted by the NHS as a ‘sleeping problem’ and Menopause is documented as one of the causes, with symptoms arising from hormonal changes. The symptoms of Insomnia are highlighted as finding it hard to go to sleep, if you wake up several times during the night, if you lie awake at night or if you wake up early and cannot go back to sleep.
Often you will find that you still feel tired after waking up but find it hard to nap during the day even though you’re tired. As a result, you may feel tired and irritable during the day and find it difficult to concentrate during the day because you’re tired.
As you can imagine this can be incredibly frustrating, stressful and anxiety provoking and long term can have a huge effect on both physical and mental health.
Why not jump to my blog page to continue reading to find our more as well as find out some ‘clean sleeping’ tips.
Now, as we know by now the menopause sees the fall of two main hormones, oestrogen and progesterone and these hormones affect sleep patterns in two different ways. Firstly, Oestrogen is needed for managing the level of magnesium in the body, a chemical which allows the relaxation of muscles. Unfortunately, a lowered level of magnesium makes it more difficult to fall asleep, simply because the muscles are not slipping into the same relaxed state they once did.
In addition, as we discussed last week, the drop in Oestrogen can be a primary factor in causing night sweats, which can also disrupt the sleep cycle. It is also thought that this can cause breathing irregularities during sleep resulting in a sleep problem similar to sleep apnoea.
Add to this the reduction in Progesterone, which is important for making you fall asleep and stay asleep, and you will find it more difficult to slip into deep sleep, so even if you do not wake during the night, the sleep is not as restful as it should be.
Now, if you have all been reading my previous blogs, you will know just how important sleep is to enable us to work on emptying that metaphorical stress bucket during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of our sleep cycle. If our sleep is broken or of poor quality we will already find ourselves living much more in our primitive, negative brain as basically we are exhausted but also because we are not being able to process the contents in our bucket as we would normally.
As with so many things I have discussed here before, we then find ourselves in a vicious cycle of feeling stressed due to a symptom such as Insomnia but finding that the effects are then worsened by stress. Of course, though, when we are exhausted, we find ourselves on a short fuse and often feel easily overwhelmed and anxious. We find ourselves on a treadmill that it is hard to get off of.
So how can we combat this cycle. First, we need to ensure what is known as ‘clean sleep’. Here are a few tips that are good to consider.
Diet can also aid sleep. Fatty or sugary foods will make it extremely difficult for you to fall asleep. What’s more, these foods, along with caffeine, will leave you more prone to night sweats. It is worth cutting out these foods if it means reduced night sweats and better sleep.
It is important to have enough calcium and magnesium in your diet. It is often lacking in the diet, as it is only found in healthy wholefoods and is used up in stressful circumstances. A magnesium supplement may reduce the severity of your sleep problem.
There are also a range of relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and of course hypnotherapy which will make it easier for you to switch off at night and not be distracted by a multitude of thoughts flooding into your mind just as you switch off the lights.
As you will know by now if you have read my previous blogs (and if you haven’t then go ahead 😊), Hypnotherapy trance replicates REM sleep and supports the process of emptying that stress bucket. By doing this it is possible, despite finding yourself perhaps in a phase of very little sleep, to move into your intellectual mind and assess the situation in a rational way. In addition, this then allows you to make rational and measured choices, something that can be difficult when we are tired and can find us leaning towards all of the bad habits that, deep down, we know are only going to make our sleep pattern worse such as alcohol and comfort food.
Break the cycle and give me a call today to arrange your free initial consultation.