Have you noticed that your sleep has changed since you have hit over 40 (or late 30s)? 

That’s because you are properly in perimenopause. 

Perimenopause is the lead up to menopause and can last anywhere from 2-12 years and on average between 4-6 years. To find out if you are in perimenopause read this.

Sleep disturbances are the second most common symptom of perimenopause. It can become difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep or both. So don’t worry it’s all normal and there are lots of tools to help you improve your sleep.

But first of all let's look at why the sleep disturbances are happening in the first place.

Right, what is going on with your sleep?

During perimenopause there are lots of changes happening, and sleep changes are one of them for a combination of reasons, they are:

  • The hypothalamus, a small structure deep inside your brain, contains groups of nerve cells that acts as a sleep control centre controlling your sleep, during perimenopause the nerves start acting differently because of the drop in your progesterone and estradiol levels.

  • When we have high histamine during the high-estrogen stage of perimenopause. Oestrogen and histamine increase each other. Therefore high levels of histamine will stimulate oestrogen production, which in turn increases oestrogen. This can become a vicious cycle. This relationship can lead to various high histamine symptoms in perimenopause such as hay fever, eczema, hives, asthma and can contribute to bad sleep.

  • Reduction of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone primarily released by the pineal gland in our brain at night, which controls sleep and our wake cycle. As we age it reduces and is also affected by the changes in our hormone levels during perimenopause.

  • Reduced ability to cope with stress.

  • Changes in our circadian rhythm due to drop in estradiol.

  • Sleep-disrupting symptoms such as hot flashes, bladder frequencies fibromyalgia, restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.

Okay fine but how can I sleep better during perimenopause?

It might all feel a bit out of control and whilst perimenopaise is absolutely a natural part of the ageing process, there are still things you can do to improve your quality of sleep.

Improve your sleep hygiene
A little checklist for you to consider of things that may help:
  • No screens or exercise right before bed
  • Is the room dark enough and is the temperature right?
  • Try and keep bedtime to the same time every night
  • Do something relaxing before bed. Try a bath, hot shower or read a book.
  • Have a magnesium loaded hot drink an hour before bed. Our Peri Chai Latte works an absolute treat. Read the reviews here.
  • Have you got a space that you feel relaxed and comfortable in?
Dietary tips that can improve sleep
  • Reduce alcohol because it can disrupt your sleep and can also make hot flashes/night sweats worse
  • Caffeine: are you having tea or coffee too late in the day? Tea or coffee past lunchtime could be a sleep-disrupting villain. 
  • If you have perimenopause allergies like hay fever, eczema, hives brought on by peri, maybe consider a low histamine diet
  • If you are on a Keto diet you might need some carbs to calm your nervous system (aim for half a cup of carbs e.g. sweet potato before bed).

Exercise tips that can improve sleep

Are you getting enough movement in the day?

Yoga, meditation and breathing exercises help improve sleep and reduce stress during perimenopause. But really, pick anything that brings you joy, as long as you’re up and moving your body.

Nutrients that improve sleep

We’re huge fans of Magnesium Glycinate, it is an effective form of magnesium that is easily absorbed by the body and has calming properties. It helps soothe anxiety and improve sleep by calming the nervous system which is why we included it in our Peri Chai Latte blend.

Depending on the severity of your sleep disturbances, you might want to explore further options with a health professional such as: 

  • Estrogen replacement therapy 
  • Melatonin.

Note: Both are prescription only.

I hope this blog post gives you some ideas on how to improve your sleep during perimenopause. There is nothing worse than being sleep deprived. It ends up making your day-to-day so much harder and when you do get a good night's sleep you feel like you can cope with everything so much better again.

Here’s to you getting some better sleep!  

Have you found something that works for you? Great! We want to hear about it and so do our Perisisters. Pop your peri sleep intel in the comments below.

January 13, 2022 — Angela Greely

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