February 2019

Menopausal Hotties - Hot and Sleepless in South Wales

The hottest topic in town: Menopausal Hotties...

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Hot and Sleepless in South Wales

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 61% of women in the years peri-to-post menopause, report sleeping problems. That’s right - otherwise known as insomnia!

Between hot flushes, mood shifts (think PMS on steroids), anxiety, late night excursions to the bathroom etc. us women are super warriors. C’mon - bring on the joys of menopause - we are ready!! Well almost. Just give me five minutes while I grab some much needed forty winks...

If you’ve ever wondered if you can survive on a couple of hours sleep, then buckle up hotties, as you’re about to find out if/when you join the sleepless club.

I never realised the ‘PAUSE’ part of menoPAUSE meant hitting pause on the sleep button. To be frank, it’s a total mind and body fu*k!!

Picture this. You’ve made it past 10 o’clock at night. You’re so tired from the arduous day of firefighting your own body (without the pleasure of a fireman in uniform), that you finally drag your hot weary body off up the wooden hill to bed. Yes, oh yes!

You know you’re going to sleep like a princess tonight. You’ve brushed your teeth, cleansed, toned and moisturised like the beauty queen that you are, and you’ve made it to the haven of your bed, finally sinking your weary head into your fluffy pillows. Room fan is switched on, you close your sleepy eyes and give thanks to the menopause gods as you drift off to the land of nod...

Boom! And just like that - and what feels like a nano-second later - you wake up like a warrior ready to go into battle and I don’t mean with the sheep that you’ve spent hours counting.

What time is it? WTF? FFS! It’s just an hour later. It’s still the middle of the night and you’re wide awake while everyone around you is fast asleep. Lucky bast**ds - you’re not jealous at all!

The loo beckons as your bladder is mysteriously full again, so off you trot. Ok. Mission accomplished. Back to bed for round two.

You patiently lie there after re-fluffing your pillows, desperately trying not to elbow your partner in the back while they sleep like an angel. Oh no. Your mind starts racing. You try to talk yourself into a calm, serene place. Tossing and turning like something out of The Exorcist. If this were a sport, you’d be an Olympic gold medallist.

Finally yes! Hurray! You’re ready to drift off. Again you slip into the wonderful world of sleep…

Boom! What now?!? You are woken again - this time with overwhelming heat. FFS!! The flash mob are back. The room fan can’t go any faster. And if it could, it would spontaneously combust like you feel you’re about to, with this overwhelming, unrelenting heat which seems to come from out of nowhere. Or Satan’s armpit!

This is what puts the ‘pause’ into menopause. An unrelenting cycle of sleep and wakefulness. Is it any surprise that so many hotties report feeling exhausted?

There are many things you can try which may help. Speak to your GP; swap tips with friends; research what may work for you - we are all different, even if we are connected by some common hottie symptoms.

I have researched and done a lot to help me get some restful sleep: a lukewarm bath with beautiful calming oils, candles, no caffeine after 8pm, switching off the TV an hour before bedtime, a little meditation, read a book, sleep apps. All have helped a little, but no permanent, all night fix. No siree Bob it’s not happening. Not even counting all those sheep 🐑 until I’ve gone through the entire sheep population of Wales and New Zealand!

I have invested in several sleep apps which, in fairness have temporarily worked for me, yet still the cycle continues. But hey ho what the hell. Come the morning I sleep like a vampire who’s dodging the rising sun...

I don’t know about you but I’m pretty bored of counting sheep in my pursuit of a good night’s sleep.

Who coined the terms night owl and [morning] lark? How would you describe this intermittent sleep phenomenon? Is the owlark a mythical creature which emerges like an alien as women hit the menopause? Or maybe it’s another hotties’ super power? There have been many great (and not so great) leaders throughout history, saying they needed very little sleep. Some even boasted about it.

Looking at the question of sleep with a fresh(-ish) eye, we can actually sleep (or at least take a time out to rest) anywhere, at anytime during the day, not just in bed at night. Maybe we need to just ‘go with the flow’. Take that superpower cat nap if you’re able to, and don’t feel guilty, within reason and the bounds of decency of course! “Don’t mind me boss - I’m just slipping into my onesie to have a snooze on the comfy sofa in reception…” Ahem!

Today we label it as trendy mindfulness or meditation. But just as we need exercise for a healthy body, we need to ‘exercise’ the mind, where a large part of this is being well rested. Needing eight hours sleep is a fallacy. Some of us need more; others less. Think quality, not quantity.

Some experts say that as long as you do thirty minutes of exercise per day, whether that’s all at once, or you break it down into six lots of five minute bursts throughout the day, ultimately it has the same beneficial effects. So why can’t the same approach apply with sleep/rest? Short and sweet ‘cat naps’ (mindfulness), through the day supplemented by slightly longer, intermittent bouts of sleep through the night, will add up to good quality restful daily/night sleep.

It may seem a little alien at first or go against the grain of everything we know and have done, but who writes the rules? You are the master of your life. It’s your menopause, no one else’s...

Learn to work with (not against) your own sleep/rest rhythm. After all, as a baby, we didn’t care what time it was, we just knew we needed to sleep - so we did. Regain some control ~ listen to your body ~ be mindful ~ embrace that super power (cat) nap. Bye bye sheep; hello pussycat!

Love Julie x

 

Tags: Menopausal Hotties