Grab a martini, let's demystify menopause.
Today’s Topic: HOT AUGUST NIGHTS
How Self-Care and Sleep Hygiene Can Bring You Sweet Dreams, Sister
I lie in bed, staring at my ceiling, my thoughts begin to spiral. I think of the million things I must do the next day. I think about what must happen so the kids have rides and snacks for their after-school events. I wonder, am I being a great partner to Ron? Does he have what he needs from me? I worry about my parents’ health. I worry about money. I worry about the environment. Fret. Fret. Fret. I count sheep, then decide to recite the alphabet, all in an attempt to drop off.
“…W…X…Y…Zzzzzzzz” Mmmm…it worked. I fall to sleep.
BAM! I wake up hot and drenched with sweat. I throw the covers off, welcoming the cool night air over my damp body. Of course, too soon, I’m shivering from the cold and so I pull the covers back up, nestling under my saturated sheets.
Settle in, Kelli. It’s gonna be a long night.
Why can’t we sleep? Alongside hot flashes, memory loss, and mood swings, insomnia is a surprising side-effect of perimenopause, and one that causes misery to millions of women. A recent study found that one in four middle-aged women aren’t happy with the quality of their sleep, while another major piece of research found peri-menopausal women are nearly four times more likely to suffer from sleeplessness.
And it’s not just annoying — lack of sleep has significant health implications and has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, dementia and cancer.
Sleep Hygiene. Fluctuating hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone during the mid-life transition, can disturb sleep patterns. To combat these annoying (and exhausting) symptoms, The National Sleep Foundation recommends developing what they refer to as “Sleep Hygiene”.
They define Sleep Hygiene as a variety of different practices that are necessary to have normal, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness.
Yes, I love it. Developing habits to battle symptoms so we can live better lives. I’m in.
For those of you who are moms, remember when your children were babies and you had routines in place to help them settle down each night?
You are now that two-year old.
Now, I get it that the routine for a two-year old and a fifty-two-year old is a little different, but the idea is the same: we need to develop rituals that send the message to our brains that it’s time for sleep. I’ve developed a very specific sleep routine for myself that I try to adhere to even when I’m on the road travelling.
Kelli’s Sleep Hygiene Routine
An hour before bedtime:
- I stop all electronics.
- I stop drinking alcohol.
- I drink a big glass of water.
- I stop answering my phone.
- I stop eating.
- I take my nighttime supplements (progesterone and melatonin).
- I wash my face and brush my teeth.
- I apply deliciously scented lotions and potions to my skin.
- I turn off all lights in my bedroom except for the lamp by my bedside.
- Once in bed, I breathe deeply, close my eyes, and play back my day. Anything that was unpleasant or particularly stressful, I mentally breathe out and let go. I then think about the good parts of the day, and I make a mental list of all that I am grateful for. After that, I turn my mind to tomorrow, and imagine the day in my head, what I will do, what successes I will have, putting a positive vibe out into the universe about tomorrow.
- I pick up my book and read until I’m ready for sleep.
Earplugs and Sleep Mask. Darkness and quiet are very important for sleep hygiene. Whether at home or travelling, earplugs and a sleep mask help to keep your brain at rest. Here are my go-tos:
Melatonin In addition, a third hormone that is important for a restful sleep can start to decline as we age. This hormone is produced by the pineal gland inside the brain and is called Melatonin. We’ve all heard of melatonin. It’s also known as “the hormone of darkness” and it plays a huge role in how we sleep.
Night sweats. These changing hormone levels in our body also affect the thermostat in our brain, and signals concerning temperature get stopped or confused. The brain registers that the body is too hot, so it graciously opens the floodgates for sweat glands to sweat us and cool us down.
Bio-Identical Hormones. Even with consistent sleep hygiene routines, some women still suffer. Often a prescription for a mild oral contraceptive, or bio-identical hormones can give you the brain balance needed to stop the sweats. Natural supplements like black cohosh, B vitamins, and melatonin also can help. Talk to your doc, and come up with a plan that works for you.
Exercise. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You must move that body, ladies. Stimulating, sweaty exercise can help reset that thermostat control in your brain and physical exertion is a great reason to be tired at the end of the day, getting your body ready for rest. More sweating at the gym means less sweating in bed.
Remember our social media campaign: #30TimesThree
Let’s all commit to getting out there three times this week, OK? Share your success with us all, your work motivates us.
What I learned while in Cancun
As many of you know, I was in Cancun, Mexico last month, competing in a speaking competition. It was a beautiful place to work, and I spent the first three days there, rehearsing, finalizing and readying my Ted-talk like presentation. When I finally hit the stage I felt so prepared and focused. I rocked it! Many of you woke up at the crack of dawn (not part of your sleep hygiene, I’m sure), tuned into the Facebook Live event, and voted for me - I am so thankful to you. Although there were technical problems and the video crashed right in the middle of my talk, the one thing that was constant in my soul was the awareness of the support I had from so many of you. I felt you - my tribe- right there with me, cheering me on. Thank you so much for that.
Ron and I then spent two more days beachside, relaxing and recharging. I did yoga on the beach, I walked and listened to that blue, blue ocean. The restore portion of the trip was magical, and much needed.
So what are your action items, Tribe? Read this out loud!
- Develop Sleep Hygiene. Restoring, and resting your soul is imperative in your busy world. Take out a sheet of paper and make a list of what you will commit to doing for yourself. Even one thing can change everything!
- Melatonin! Head to the store and get that bottle of melatonin.
- Move that body! 3 times this week, get out there and work up a sweat! Send me a picture of you moving – so we can celebrate you!
- Find Your Tribe. For my Salem ladies, I loved the July Soirée at Ritter’s in July!
Thanks to owner, Jessica Ritter for having us there and thank you to Gallagher Fitness Resources for bringing it with the awesome fashion show!
Plan on joining me at Amadeus Restaurant on August 30th for our August Soirée! Owner Diana Ramallo and I met last week and we had such a blast planning things. We are going to have so much fun in her gorgeous space. Drinks, and prizes, and sleep talks, oh my!
If you can come join us, make sure to RSVP so we know you’re coming.
This one was taken at the July Ritter’s Soirée. I’m holding a “Party Hearty” Martini – a recipe you can find in my upcoming book, Martinis & Menopause. It was DELICIOUS!
Here’s to a wonderful August for all. May we all sleep well, and Go Meno!
COMING UP NEXT:
Work It, Girl!
I say it all the time, and next month, we are going to get into the nitty-gritty of why it’s so important to work out consistently.
I’m Kelli. I am a menopause survivor, who has catapulted, stumbled, laughed, and cried my way to the other side of perimenopause and menopause. Along the way I’ve learned invaluable tips and resources to live my best self and beat the Hormone Groan!
No longer a hormone hostage (at least most days), my goal is to help you live well and with personal power through all the changes we go through in this incredible journey of life!