Friday, July 19, 2013

The Woman, The Runner, The Athlete, AND Menopause - Insomnia/Sleep Issues

I am not certain if my sleep issues started because of pre-menopause OR because of the Synthroid I began taking back in 2004 (or was it 2005)..anyway, prior to starting on Synthroid, while in the midst of full on hypothyroidism, I was sleeping every chance I got.  Sleep as late as I could, usually making me late for work (not normal for me EVER EVER EVER), go home for lunch and sleep.  Come home from work.  Sleep.  Only being awake as little as I could get away with.  Obviously it was the hypo making me so so so tired and sleepy.
But then once on the Synthroid and things started 'working' again, the need for sleeping all the time stopped.
I would say that since then though, while I can go to sleep just fine, even take naps easily, around the same time I found myself unable to sleep through the night.
It gradually got worse and sometimes it would be worse than others, with not only waking up but not being able to go back to sleep easily.
Additionally my sensitivity to light started happening so that wasn't good for sleeping.  Especially in Houston with so much unnatural light at all hours through the night.


Some 59 percent of women between the ages of 35 and 55 won’t get much sleep in the 4- to 8-year period prior to menopause that’s generally referred to as perimenopause. In fact, researchers say that this group of women is more likely to experience insomnia than any other.

Unfortunately, the closer women get to menopause itself, the less they sleep. According to a 2007 National Sleep Foundation poll, by the time women actually stop menstruating, somewhere between the ages of 45 and 51, a full 61 percent will report that they can’t get to sleep or stay asleep several nights each and every week.

A lot of tossing and turning.

Surveys indicate that roughly 57 percent of us can’t sleep because of hot flushes, anxiety, depression, and chronic insomnia, while another 43 percent have a sleep disorder such as obstructed breathing, narcolepsy, or restless legs syndrome. Hot flushes alone cause women approaching menopause to briefly rouse 100 times a night—around three times more than a woman who is not.
Yet as seemingly unrelated as these challenges are, new research shows that they appear to share one thing in common: They are all initiated or otherwise affected by imbalances in various hormones that are regulated by the body’s biological clock in the brain’s hypothalamus—the SNC.

I will say that once I moved here to Sidney, and its PITCH BLACK, and its quietness, I sleep MUCH better.  I still wake up easily, but at least the sleep IS better.  I probably wake up at least once a night most nights, but fall right back to sleep.

I wouldnt say that I have had insomnia at all going through this stage thankfully!  When I am ready to go to bed, I am ready to go to bed and I would say that 99% of the time my ass is in bed by 9:30/10:00.  Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe on Saturdays I will be up past let's say 10:30, but that is so rare that I cannot remember the last time I was.  Probably when JT was on SNL or when someone I like a lot was on SNL.
I seem to have a LOT of friends who complain about insomnia for one reason or another.  Me?  Nope.  If I am having a hard time falling asleep due to too much thinking, my favorite trick is just to start counting.  I am certain I've never made it past maybe 40 or 50.
I honestly think my eating lifestyle, little to no stress, and exercise habits contribute greatly to what appears to be minimal effects of menopause/hormones on my sleep patterns.
As with all things, I believe also that if you treat your insides and outsides like a temple, then you are going to have an easier time with this whole 'getting older' situation!!!

Here are some tips on what might help!

  1. Think about short term HRT
  2. Reinforce your sleep schedule
  3. Work with a therapist
  4. Drop the temperature in your room
  5. Shut down on the electronics a few hours before bedtime; don't even take them in the bedroom!  Put them on silent and leave in another room.  I have mine set to be muted from 10pm to 6am every day.  Even if emails or tweets or my bank notifications...all of it still comes through but there are no sounds made.  The only time my phone or iPad will go off is if I set an alarm if I HAVE to be up at a certain time that is before my natural wake up time of 5 or 5:30
  6. Give your bedroom a makeover; make it like a sanctuary!
  7.  Don't eat late!  Your body will not rest well if its busy digesting food you ate an hour ago.
  8. Eat foods that are meant to be digested by the human body!  Chemicals in processed food etc., are NOT naturally and easily digested.  You are just making it worse on yourself and sleep will be dicey.  You may sleep but rested will not be a product of sleep.
That's all I can think of right off the top of my head.
Again all I can say is start making changes early in your life so that when its time for your body to begin the changes of getting older and hormonal changes in particular, these will help with all symptoms.  Its been my experience and I truly believe its the most important thing you can do for yourself!

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