In my early forties, I began to wake in the night for the first time. Often for a few hours. At first it was attributed to stress or worry but none of that was really a factor in my life. My partner was astonished ! Here was a woman who never moved let alone woke up in all the years they had been together, yet suddenly here she was, switching on lights, flushing loos, getting drinks of water and even standing in the shower in the middle of the night ! So why was it happening?
It was about that time that the term “perimenopause” was beginning to emerge. Some seemed to think it was a bit of a “fad” but I found myself taking note and researching some symptoms. I mean , how can we just launch into menopause? There has to be a transition phase right? And there is! The perimenopause, a now familiar term where symptoms are having a party !
Why sleep deprivation is so common seems to be a grey area. It could be worry or anxiety when those thoughts in the middle of the night seem gargantuan, yet simmer down a little by morning. It could be night sweats waking us up or needing the loo and an inability to get back to sleep. Or it could be a viscous cycle of sleeplessness leading to worry and anxiety and so the pattern repeats.
So what can we do to help this intrusion into our slumber? I have read up on this so many times and can really only find the usual suspects. You know, herbal tea, a cool quiet room (hmm, might be but not once a hot flush strikes, even in Antartica!), regular sleep routine, no stimulants, no alcohol, no caffeine, and so on. There is nothing ground breaking out there so I would love to know of any tips and tricks if you have them.
Here is mine. I used to stress and try so hard to sleep, tossing, turning, humphing around but now see it as me time. No one wants me, no one is calling , I am resting and it`s dark and quiet. I also started a little meditation of my own. I lie on my back, pop my hands on my chest (crossed) flop my feet to the sides and breathe in through my nose for five and out through my mouth for five. After about ten minutes, I get a “floaty feeling” , pop myself into my favourite sleeping position and drift off. If it doesn`t work, I try again.
Now after a few years instead of causing me instant angst, 2am wake ups cause me to sigh with relief as I know I have a while til morning. It`s a 4am one that fills me with dread! If I do get back to sleep, I shall be in the deepest slumber when the alarm goes off. Insomnia is so far my most hated part of the perimenopause as a good nights sleep is irreplaceable and something I really miss.