When you’re young, heading to bed—brushing your teeth, slipping into your PJs, and getting under the covers—after a long day of work is something to look forward to. But when you’re middle-aged and your hormones aren’t in balance (for example, if you’re a woman starting menopause) heading to bed can be an uber-stressful experience.
Why?—because the moment those lights go out, you know those pajamas you’ve always worn are going to feel uncomfortable, and that comforter is going to make your bed feel like an oven. Instead of enjoying a full night of rest, you keep tossing and turning until the face of your clock says its 3:07 A.M and you officially give up all hope of enjoying deep, restorative sleep.
Hormone imbalance can destroy your ability to get a good night’s rest, leaving you irritated, tired, and anxious the following morning. For that reason, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an important consideration for aging men and women.
If you decide to undergo hormone replacement therapy, the team at Allure Medical wants you to know that there are some things you can do to improve your ability to sleep through the night in addition to your HRT.
Create a Schedule You Can Commit To
A schedule is only as effective as your commitment to following it—if you don’t commit to your schedule, you won’t see the results you’re looking for. As tempting as it may be to take a nap during the day when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep, you have to fight the urge. Decide what time you will go to bed (e.g., 10 P.M.) and do not waver. If you take a nap during the day, you’re just cheating yourself—whatever “recharge” you might temporarily feel will be undone when the time for bed arrives.
Whatever bedtime you settle on, THAT is the time for bed every night of the week—you don’t get special hours for the weekends. Don’t stay up late working. Don’t fall asleep watching TV after dinner on the couch. Stay committed to the sleep schedule.
And when you go to bed, go to bed—don’t fiddle with your phone, or watch TV, or look at your laptop…you can read a book (paperback or hardback ONLY) if you’d like, but that’s it. (If you overly stimulate your brain—especially using devices that project blue light which counteracts melatonin—you’ll just end up staying awake all night no matter how in-balance your hormones are.)
However disciplined you are with going to bed, you need to be equally disciplined with waking up in the morning. The moment your alarm goes off in the morning, you need to pop out bed, open the shades, and expose yourself to some sunlight so you get your body on a steady sleep-wake cycle.
Finding Time for Regular Exercise
If there’s one thing researchers have consistently proven, it’s that regular exercise is one of the best things you can do to establish a healthy sleep pattern. Case in point? A recent study from Northwestern University discovered that aerobic exercise helps middle-aged adults enjoy a more restorative night sleep.
The best exercises to do are exercises that don’t elevate your heartrate too much; low-intensity exercises like walking or yoga. Try to schedule your exercise to take place between three and five hours before you go to bed, otherwise it might be counterproductive.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Cutting out popular dinner and after-dinner drinks like coffee, tea, port, wine, and whiskey is hard—especially during the holidays—but it’s absolutely necessary as both caffeine and alcohol will inhibit your ability to sleep.
Caffeine inhibits sleep by making it more difficult for the body and brain to feel tired, accomplishing this feat by binding to the body’s adenosine receptors and disrupting the uptake of adenosine—a key ingredient to making that feel drowsiness you’re so desperately longing for.
As a depressant, alcohol can make you feel drowsy and even help put you to sleep, but the quality of the sleep you’re getting is terrible because it greatly restricts rapid eye movement (which is part of the reason you feel so awful in the morning after a late night of boozing).
Learning More About HRT
Want to learn more about hormone replacement therapy, or what you can do to improve the effectiveness of your hormone replacement therapy treatment? Check out our website at www.alluremedical.com