One of the worst and best things that happened to me during perimenopause, and throughout menopause, was the inability to sleep any more than a few winks a night. Bad, because insomnia is draining – big time draining – mind numbingly draining, and good, because – well, after a long while battling it it, I gave into it and used the time I was awake to write.
If you feel like a giggle, here’s a piece I wrote for my humorous blog about insomnia a while ago. See if it resonates with you: Rock-a-bye Brainy
For those of us who suffer from insomnia I can only say, perservere. By that, I mean stick to a regular pre-bed routine: make sure you don’t have the television or radio on in the bedroom, that it’s dark and as quiet as you can make it. Don’t look at the internet before bed (apart from the exception below). Avoid alcohol or caffeine, instead, drink warm milk before you go to bed. Take a warm (not hot) bath. Try meditation and stick to your routine even though you’ll undoubtedly wake up at some point.
When you do wake up, try and relax. I know that’s easier said than done, but the more you get annoyed by the fact you’re wide awake, the harder it will be to get any sleep. Try to stay still. At least, that way, your body is relaxing even if it is not unconscious.
Recently, I came across an interesting article in The Times that spoke about ASMR videos or sleep videos. This was a new one on me – videos where people whisper quietly and still your frazzled brain, until finally you nod off. Evidence points at them being highly successful. I did a little research on them and came up with this website that seems to explain pretty well what they do and offers a sample video for you to test out: ASMR SLEEP
I also came across the Tuck website which is trying to promote awareness of sleep health, and who’ve created some guides for women experiencing insomnia. You can read them by cicking onto the titles:
Menopause and Insomnia
Women and Insomnia
Sleep and ageing
Although I make light of it, lack of sleep is no laughing matter, especially at 3 a.m. when you have to get up to go to work the next morning, and are feeling absolutely wrung out through tiredness. I still suffer from it. I might get only half an hour some nights, and to date I have found no magic solution, although I can relax my body enough so it is fooled into having had sufficient rest. I now live with insomnia and treasure the nights when my body falls into a deep slumber for a few hours.
My advice is try to understand what is happening to you, and adapt your routine accordingly. Not only is there much online to help you work out how best to deal with sleeping issues but there are groups and forums where you can talk to others suffering from insomnia. You are not alone. And, it should pass in time, or certainly improve.
As for me, I’ll try one of these ASMR sleep videos but if it fails, I’ll just sit up and write another novel!