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March 2020

Menopausal Hotties - ‘I’ is for those irksome - and sometimes irrational bedfellows

The hottest topic in town: Menopausal Hotties...

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In this latest alphabetical journey through the menopause, it’s time to focus on me, myself and ‘I’...

‘I’ is for those irksome - and sometimes irrational bedfellows - Insomnia and Irritability.

Peri or menopausal hotties, all raise your hands and say (aye) I ????!

Nope. We’re not filming a remake of Spartacus - “I’m Spartacus”, “No. I’m Spartacus. And I’m Irritable. AND an Insomniac!” - although it can sometimes feel like a battle of wills with the sleep fairy.

Putting our differences aside it’s the time for you, we and I, to take centre stage as we continue our explorations on our menopausal journey.

In this issue, I’m focusing on ‘Insomnia’, along with its other bedfellow, ‘Irritability’. Although I’m so tired right now, I can’t focus on anything apart from daydreaming about when’s my next nap?!

Insomnia and Irritability - often seen squabbling between themselves - can be a powerful duo, so dare to Ignore them at your peril; they can cause a heap of damage if left to their own devices.

Ever feel like you're losing your shit? Hey there sister, surprise, surprise, most of us hotties who suffer from insomnia can relate, and that stinks too!

Whether you’ve previously been blessed with an ability to drift off to the land of nod with delightful ease, as a fully-fledged hottie you may now be experiencing a whole new world, fuelled by insomnia episodes. Sorry hotties those days of sleeping like a princess may have become a long, dim and distant memory.

And as much as we love Faithless, the prospect of having ‘Insomnia’ playing as the backing track for the rest of our days does NOT appeal!

So sleepless in Swansea, Cardiff, London or Seattle. You may feel alone right now, but believe me, plenty of us hotties all over the land will be counting not just sheep, but fellow hotties who are desperate for a good hour or two of quality sleep, wondering when the sleep fairy will work her magic, and wave her wand.

Insomnia is a common symptom, accompanying us on our ever-changing menopausal trip, or trip ups cos we’re so bloody tired with our eyes only half open.

Mother Nature, we really do love you, but you can’t half be two faced at times, a gracious powerful queen yet a wicked witch with a warped sense of humour.
Sleep deprivation can impact upon all aspects of life, love and wellbeing, and is actually used as a form of torture!

Holy moly! Don't fear ladies, we’ve got this. We are the hottie SAS - ‘Sleep Assassins with Sass’. Sleep had better not mess with us, we’re fully armed, locked and loaded, to deal with Mother Nature’s latest menopausal grenade!

Let’s look at what the potential causes are, and how we can flex our ‘SAS’ muscles.

Hormones play a HUGE part in our sleep deprivation.

  • Declining oestrogen levels contribute to disrupted sleep, by contributing to hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety and low mood; anxiety can also reduce sleep.
  • Progesterone has a sleep-inducing effect by acting on brain pathways; as progesterone declines through the menopause, it makes it more difficult for us to drop off to sleep.

Here are some tips I’ve gathered for a more restful sleep:

  • Try and stick to a regular bedtime routine.
  • Make sure the bedroom is a restful place. Minimal clutter, clean, cosy, etc. You get the idea...
  • Try not to drink too much caffeine through the day and evening. Switch to decaff and/or try herbal ‘teas’, especially if you need an evening cuppa or two.
  • Take a relaxing bath before bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol and spicy food.
  • Listen to relaxing music. One of our hotties swears by ‘alternative’ tunes/sounds, such as Tibetan bowls, gong baths, and Solfeggio frequencies (go Google - there are loads to choose from, and you’re bound to find something which floats your boat!)
  • Use a sleep app (examples Pzizz, Calm and plenty of free trials).
  • Write down anything that’s worrying you, or on your mind. ‘Removing’ it from your head, and setting it down on paper, rather than carrying ‘it’ around’
  • Stay cool! An electric fan in the room was one of my best investments.
  • Don’t work on your laptop or use your smartphone before bed. Try and switch off at least an hour or two prior to bed.
  • Exercise and gentle stretching are good for the mind and body.
  • Take power naps here and there - ok, maybe not at your desk or wherever, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl needs to do!

Lack of quality sleep can cause irritation to set in, making it quite the challenge to simply shrug off life’s irritations.

So if you feel overwhelmed, please be kind to yourself, and make your health and happiness a priority. After all, if you’re happy then generally everyone else is more likely to be happy (rather than walking on eggshells!)

Here are a few helpful techniques to help calm ourselves, which you may want to try - you’ve nothing to lose, and EVERYTHING to gain:

  • Take deep breaths. Controlled, measured breathing is well known in helping the body and mind to relax and ‘recentre’ ourselves.
  • Count to 100, a thousand even! Give yourself time to pause before reacting.
  • Connect with nature - it’s a good way to ground ourselves. And free!
  • Write down what’s annoying you and purge yourself of those irritating thoughts. Then let them go!
  • Talk to someone about how you’re feeling - a problem shared is a problem halved. It’s good to talk.
  • Playing relaxing music affects us both mentally and physically.
  • Practice mindfulness. The Headspace app usually has a free trial - no special clothing or rituals are needed, and it needn’t be time-consuming. There are short and snappy, 3 to 5 minute, ‘talks’, which you can listen to at any time in the day, and are worth taking the time out for.
  • Take a walk; remove yourself from toxicity. Exercise releases feel good hormones.
  • Do something that makes you feel good, you deserve it.

Unfortunately we can be our own worst critics. Be kind and don’t be so hard on yourself. What would you say to your best friend? Now say it to yourself.

So what if we slip up once in a while? We do more good than bad right? We’re only human.

Take time to recharge; it's not a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Educate people around you, where possible, about the symptoms of menopause, and how it’s affecting you. Knowledge is queen. All hail the queen. Long live the queen!

Let’s be real here hotties; no one knows or understands our unique menopause experience better than we do; be proud to share your knowledge as the hottie menopause professor. The more informed people are, the more likely they are to understand, show compassion and contribute positively to your very real needs or they can simply jog on. God bless the Queen..

Sweet dreams, sleep well dear hotties.

Stay irresistible and irrepressible

Julie X

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