Sleep is my Frenemy Since Menopause

After talking about fitness the past few weeks (here), (here), and (here), I thought I would turn to another topic that is important in my health journey: S L E E P. 

Lately, my gal, my pal, my homie, Sleep, has been a fickle friend. I have grown to become a little resentful of her and actually turned to social media for some advice. I thought I would share that here since some readers might be suffering with difficulties in this area of health. 

First, let me start off by saying that I LOVE TO SLEEP! Like, it is one of my most favorite things. Sleep is one of those comforting ways to spend time.

There is nothing better than crawling into fresh sheets, in your favorite jammies (or not), laying your head perfectly on your favorite pillow that has the perfect firmness, and drifting off to sleep. Then, waking up 8 hours later feeling 100 percent refreshed and ready for the day. 

That scenerio was me once upon a time. I was an appreciator of sweet, sweet slumber. Granted, I didn’t always get 8 hours, as I tend toward being a bit of a night owl, but for the most part, that was my sleep life in a nutshell. 

Side note: Am I the only one who wishes she could have clean sheets on her bed every single day? If I was granted a luxury, that would be my wish!   Also, I feel it completely necessary to shower and shave my legs on clean sheet day. 

Anyway, back to my real story: After the hysterectomy and instantaneously going into menopause, sleep started becoming a bit of a frenemy. We had always been such great friends, but she suddenly turned on me and our relationship has not been the same since. It’s really tragic! I had been told this might happen, but I didn’t think it would happen to me. We had always been soul sisters really. 

So now, enter me at this point. I’m having to drag my rear up out of bed at 5:45-6 a.m. to get ready and go to work everyday; and I’m exhausted! I am finding it harder and harder to fall asleep at night. I toss and turn, look at the clock, get hot, kick off the covers, get cold, get a drink, sweat, and become anxious knowing I have to get up and be ‘on’ for work. It is so frustrating. 

So, I have tried many things to mend this jaded relationship with Sleep. I use lavender. From essential oil diffusing to lavender lotion and pillow spray. I have tried sleep meditation apps – sometimes these do work for me, but if I don’t fall asleep, it makes me even more anxious if it ends and I’m still awake. I also drink chamomile tea many evenings. 

Some of the advice I received after posting about my Sleep issues:

  • limit screen time before bed, This is something I really need to work on.
  • melatonin – I have purchased some and took a 5mg a couple of nights ago and I didn’t go right to sleep by any means and felt a little hungover and groggy the next day. I will not give up on this one.
  • a chill pad under the sheet for the night sweats; along with a fan. I have the fan which has been a lifesaver, but have not tried the pad yet, but that maybe my next attempt.
  • a rice bag on the waist as a sort of weighted apparatus. I have not tried this one yet, but I’m willing to try anything. 
  • other suggestions are hormone replacement therapy or medications such as anti-depressants. I am really trying to avoid both of these options for now. 

I’ve pushed my afternoon/evening cup of coffee up earlier in the afternoon; or just bypassed it altogether. I’ve also tried to cut back on napping on the weekends (Sunday afternoons are one of my favorite things!), but if I wait too late or nap too long, it will effect my bedtime on Sunday night. 

I’m open to other suggestions. I know the benefits of sleep for my health and I want to have a more regular sleep schedule and get back to my natural circadian rhythms and feel better and more alert for work, play, and life in general.  

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