Menopause and Sleep

woman looking out to sea at a sunrise

What is the menopause?

The menopause is is a natural part of ageing that leads to changes in a woman's body as oestrogen levels decline. The average age for most women the UK's periods to completely stop is 51, usually a woman must have had 12 consecutive months without a period for it to be classed as the menopause. However, the term menopause describes the whole time period which a woman is experiencing symptoms - which can happen several years before she stops menstruating and can persist for several years after. It may not be all plain sailing, but embracing the change and celebrating the next chapter can make life a little more comfortable.

What is a night sweat?

Our body temperature naturally fluctuates throughout the night to preserve energy. During the menopause, oestrogen levels drastically decrease, this affects the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body temperature. This trigger brings about all the usual responses the body would normally use to keep cool, the skin reddens and the sweat glands begin to work causing excessive sweating. Up to 75% of women experience night sweats at some point during menopause. As many as 19% of women in their 40s and 50s develop night sweats before the cessation of their periods, in a stage know as perimenopause. Some women experience night sweats as their main or only menopausal symptom, whilst others find that it is one of many symptoms. Night sweats not only feel uncomfortable, they can disrupt your sleep, waking you up several times in the night.

woman's legs under bed covers

How can you sleep better during the menopause?

To help regulate your body temperature and minimise the unpleasant feeling of night sweats, consider changing your bedding, pillowcases and pyjamas to bamboo. Bamboo fabric is naturally moisture wicking, meaning that if you experience a night sweat the moisture will be drawn away from your skin and the fabric will not feel damp. Bamboo is also highly breathable, creating a continuous air flow, naturally insulating in the winter and cooling in the summer. This ability to naturally regulate your sleep environment helps to minimise the discomfort during a night sweat. In addition ensure your room is well ventilated and kept between 16-18 degrees, that you keep a glass of water beside your bed to rehydrate and eating a healthy diet, avoiding spicy food, coffee and alcohol.